I don't know what year this photo was taken
but by the dress it looks like 1920s. I love all the
wigwams dotted here and there. Maybole Shore and Croy shore
were very much used by day-trippers right up to the 60s when
cheap holidays in Spain started appearing.
I spent most of my summer holidays at Croy
Shore's Burnside Caravan Park (that was the park on the
right when you came down the Croy Shore road and entered on
to the sand). It was an old man called Mr McCall who owned
the park (the bit of ground his but'n'ben was on!!), and
really it was a field with a spicket, and a small brick
building which had a Girls' and a Boys' toilet - with half
doors!! I never used these toilets because if the boys saw
you going in they would come and say that they were going to
look over the door at you. They never did, because they
would have got into terrible trouble from Mr McCall and
their parents, but many a girl's scream was heard from that
wee building. There was a donkey in the field at the back,
some years. Sometimes on sunny weekend days, cars were
parked 3 lines deep all the way from Croy to Maybole Shore.
We had a great time watching the old cars
exit up the hill after a nice day on the beach. There were
always at least 4 cars that did not take a run at the hill
in a low gear and got stuck. We made it our job to go to
the car just turning onto the exit road to back up, and then
we worked our way along the line telling them to back up so
that the stalled car could freewheel backwards and then take
a run at the hill.
Jim Sym had a van on Mr McCall's site and I
played with his daughters most days throughout the summer.
My Auntie Betty from Glasgow had a van too, and my
cousin David and my Uncle Sam spent the summer holidays at
the van (I never thought of that as peculiar then, but it
does on thinking back on it now). He always had one or
other of his pals from Glasgow with him and all the Maybole
children thought of them as snooty interloupers (even though
my cousin was one of them), and quite a few scraps happened
between the boys.
When the last car was away up the road, we
all walked along the sand to Maybole shore hoping that the
picnickers had left things behind. Empty glass "ginger"
bottles were great because we took them to Croy Hotel (the
bigger building below the trees upper right) and got 2d for
each bottle. Mr and Mrs Glass-Watson owned the wee cottage
nearest in the picture, which eventually became the
expensive big house that is there now. Their 2 sons often
joined us in our beach pruch. We didn't go much beyond
Maybole shore because there was a big burn came down the
shore there and hardly any cars tried to drive through it.
It was quite deep in parts.
In front of Croy Hotel was a concrete slab
kiosk selling buckets and spades, and all manner of
interesting wee plastic toys. I saved up all year to take
money down to Croy and it was a hard job deciding what to
buy. I remember Dorothy Sym and I each bought very cheap
versions of a Sindy doll and we played with them all that
summer. We all learned to swim at the shore. It was easy
because the salt sea water was more buoyant than pool water
and we learned from each other. I don't remember anyone
watching over us when we were in the sea and I don't
remember any tragedies. There was an old rusty diving board
out in the sea, which had a deep pool in front of it. I was
too scared to dive off it, but some of the boys showed off
doing fancy turns and then staying under water until
everyone was quite worried.
These were wonderful days for me, because at
home I wasn't allowed to play on the street, only in the
garden, but my Granny and I were dispatched off to Croy
during the school summer holidays, and it was smashing. As
long as my Gran had a big history book to read, she let me
run about all day with the other children. She didn't even
like leaving her book to make dinner, but she knew I loved
new potatoes from the fields along the shore, and corned
beef, and so one day was new potatoes and butter, and the
next was new potatoes, butter and 2 slices of corned beef.
I thought this was fantastic and although we were there for
weeks, I never got tired of it - sounds awful now that I
think about it. Anyway, we ran about like little sand flies
all day. I remember striped T shirts, and white shorts,
plastic paddling shoes that bit into your skin, and "skint
knees", and it seemed to be sunny every day. I remember a
couple of wet days where we played in the tent that was
pitched beside the caravan so as not to disturb my Granny,
but in my memory there were very few of them. They were
magical days of freedom.