This never happened when we lived in Kirkintilloch!


WAKING up to find trees uprooted, cars smashed and houses damaged by raging winds was not a common occurrence for Katrina Gillespie when she lived in Auchinloch.

But that was the scene of devastation when she looked out of her window in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, after one of the worst storms ever to hit the area.

The 61-year-old retired teacher lived in the Kirkintilloch area for 32 years before moving to Canada.

She said: “Trees were down everywhere and as I walked my dog, I had to literally cling to fences to keep upright.

“There was no electricity until well into the middle of the night and I went to bed not knowing whether I was going to see the Royal Wedding.

“Luckily, power was restored sometime in the night so I did end up being able to see it all.”

Katrina’s brother Jim lives in Lenzie, her brother John is in Kirkintilloch and her sister Nancy lives in Old Kilpatrick.

Her late father, Charles Armstrong, was a colliery deputy in charge of safety at Wester Auchengeich, then later in the 1960s at Cardowan Colliery. Katrina was born in Second Avenue, Auchinloch – where her father lived until the age of 93.

She told the Herald: “Way back in the 1950s my mother and I got the weekly shopping in Kirkintilloch – favourite shops were Munro the butcher’s and Patterson’s bakery.

“In late summer, every year, mum would take me to the Co-op in Kirkintilloch for school footwear and later on for a school uniform for Lenzie Academy.

“I remember getting my first two-wheeler bike at Daniel Jack’s in 1958. My sister used to love dancing at the town hall and the Black Bull Cinema was another exciting haunt, as well as the Peel Cafe.

“My brother Jim and I used to love putting in Woodhead Park and swimming at Kirky baths, followed by treats at Ghiloni’s Cafe.

“We all attended Lenzie Academy and were in awe of the teachers – in those days much stricter, but usually amazingly fair and at times hilariously funny.

“As a family, in the 50s and 60s, we all enjoyed our weekly Kirky Herald and I now enjoy keeping up to date online.”

The retired teacher said the storm in Canada earlier this month caused huge problems, with hundreds of trees falling – hitting cars, houses and fences – a far cry from the drizzle of a Scottish storm.

Katrina recalled: “As I remember, weather was often rainy, foggy and windy, and holidays on the Clyde coast could often be disappointingly cold and wet, though we always did a good job of enjoying ourselves.”