HOW THE TAIN TOWN COUNCIL SPENT THE TAIN HOLIDAY.


icon Back to all articles

A rather amusing article from the Highland News on 22 May 1909.

Wednesday of last week being the Tain holiday, the councillors of the Royal Burgh of Tain bethought themselves of their annual trip, and accordingly, the municipal airship, St Duthus No. 1, was chartered for the occasion. Between 6 and 6.30 a.m. the Council assembled at the Gas Works, and they were all well fortified for the trip with rugs, wraps, and a good supply of aqua pura and aqua fortis. The filling of the gas chamber of the airship, besides being an expensive job owing to the present price of Tain gas, occupied some little time, but prompt at 7 a.m. the start was made in a very inauspicious manner, the rain pouring down relentlessly on the still very sleepy trippers.

Before starting the councillors made their official inspection of the Gas Works, and several members were seen to shake their heads and mutter the awe-inspiring words "Economy, economy, the Bog and gas economy!" However, the airship was now underway, and soared up gently and gracefully, being under the able control of the "Man of A(u)ction." A straight course was set for the springs, and after a good sample of the water had been taken and a discussion regarding the colour of the same, and the leaking pipes and the need for a filter, the airship was again mounted, and flew swiftly over the town, across the Links and river to the Mhorich Mhor.

On the way a lively discussion about erecting seats and a weir across the river took place, and a very heated argument regarding bathing facilities almost resulted in one or two of the band testing these facilities. Peace, however, was restored, and the Mhorich reached in safety. The places where the immemorial march stones had been were examined and the gate to the Mhor was found satisfactory, being securely locked. By this time the weather had cleared, and the sun shone out bravely, and the visit to the Mhor was accomplished under very different and far more comfortable conditions than on the occasion of the last visit when an unintentional trip and bath in the Blue Pool somewhat damped the ardour of the existing band of councillors.

The journey was resumed, and the Meikle Ferry Point was visited, the idea of the councillors being to inspect the Quarry taken over by them for supplying road metal; but it was only at that late time that they found, to their intense chagrin, that there were no stones suitable for the purpose, and that the quarry contained only shingle.

The airship was once more got underway, and after three-quarters of an hour's travelling Dingwall was reached. Here they partook of liberal lunch, and by the time it was consumed, it was found that the party contained some first-class imitators of Harry Lauder. Dingwall was inspected. and owing to the rain it certainly did not look well. It was found that the town was damp, that it had few natural advantages, that the walks were not up to much, that the public buildings were poor with the exception of the Hector Macdonald Memorial, that there was no golf course, that there was a very dirty canal, and that the only pleasing nature of the town was its shops. The councillors found that the water question there was a thorn in the flesh of the local councillors, and they decided that after all, they had little or nothing to learn from the Capital of the County and that instead, they were sure Tain could give it a point on many things.

After leaving Dingwall the journey continued to Inverness, where a splendid time was spent, and we noticed some of the party taking notes. It is hoped that these notes will be read at a Council meeting and that the town will accordingly benefit. All the prominent places in Inverness were visited, including the Castle, the Prison and Tomnahurich. A trip was also taken down the Caledonian Canal, the party returning to Inverness for tea. The number of seats placed on the walks around the Highland Capital was commented upon, and the councillors thought their own town would be the better of some. We hope they will remember it.

Inverness was left behind at nine o'clock, and a very tired yet jolly company whiled away the time with choruses and solos from some of the more gifted of the party. (It was surprising. very much so, to know what talent lay hidden in the bosoms and throats of the legislators. To us, it came as an unexpected shock.) About eleven o'clock the lights of "Home, Sweet Home" came nearer and nearer, and the party began to make preparations for disembarking and for meeting the awaiting relatives.

A catastrophe, however, happened before the journey's end was reached. The airship was making tracts for the Gas-house and the engines were being slowed down, when, as it passed over the Bog, owing, it is thought, to some chemical action caused by the gases escaping therefrom, the gas chamber exploded and the whole party was precipitated into the slimy depths beneath. No one, however, seemed to be hurt, although all were shaken more or less severely. When the roll was called it was found that the "Man of A(u)otion" had disappeared. After a close search, he was discovered stuck head foremost in the Bog, and could not be pulled out owing to some unknown means. A crane, however, was requisitioned and he was hauled to safety, when, to the profound amazement of all, one of the missing Mhorich march stones, weighing half-a-ton, was found suspended from his collar stud. On being relieved of this burden the unfortunate councillor was able to proceed home. The other councillors also went home, and they were all very glad that the "Man of A(u)ction" was saved to be at this busy time still a "man of a(u)ctions."