Memories of Maybole and Croy Shore
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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.


Isobel Seymour