The Cobbler: Tam McAulay 1946 – 2006

It was a fine spring day when we climbed up The Cobbler, the distinctive and popular Arrochar mountain that reaches 884 m high.  The Cobbler is a wonderful hill that is full of character and charm and you can read more here.  Thousands of people must walk by this memorial bench every year and read the fading inscription to Tam McAulay.  The bench is generously placed on the steep zig-zags on the route up the mountain and is the perfect place to stop and sit and admire the fantastic view over Loch Long.

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The view from the path up The Cobbler

Tam McAulay gave his time to the Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team and was a member of The Creagh Dhu Mountaineering Club.  A keen mountaineer and climber, the warm obituary on UK Climbing’s website talks about a man who will be missed by family and friends and was not only, ‘Remembered for his wit and humour,’ but was also an agile climber and, ‘Devoted his time to photography, poetry, playing the accordion, literature, and local history. ‘  He had also competed in cycling time trials in his youth.  Tam McAulay worked at the Esso Oil Terminal on the River Clyde and retired to Arrochar.

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IN MEMORY OF TAM McAULAY 1946 – 2006 A WELL KNOWN MOUNTAINEER CLIMBER, REMEMBERED FOR HIS WIT AND HUMOUR.  FROM ALL HIS FRIENDS AT THE ARROCHAR MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM

His obituary says, ‘Tam McAulay died on Wednesday 20 September 2006 whilst on a walking holiday on the Isle of Rhum. During a river crossing with a companion from Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team, Tam was swept over a waterfall.  Members of Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team and Ian Nicolson, a fellow Creagh Dhu Mountaineering Club member, recovered his body on Sunday 01 October 2006.’

Rye: John Ryan, creator of Captain Pugwash 1921 – 2009

Tucked between the green fields of Sussex and the English Channel is the small town of Rye.  With a picturesque and well-preserved medieval centre, this is a popular place to visit.  The crooked half-timbered houses and cobbled streets give visitors a sense that they have travelled back in time.  We visited the Rye Castle Museum and there learnt that John Ryan, the creator of Captain Pugwash, was a Rye resident.

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Facing Rye’s railway station

John Ryan moved to Rye towards the end of his life.  He wrote numerous books but is perhaps best known for the TV cartoon series Captain Pugwash about a group of pirates that was first shown in the 1950s in black and white.  Later series were filmed in colour.  Captain Pugwash is shown as a mostly harmless pirate who gets into various scrapes but always survives to sail again, thanks to the quick wits of cabin-boy Tom.  During each episode Captain Pugwash will exclaim such things as, ‘Coddling catfish! Suffering seagulls!’ or ‘Kipper me capstans!’  As a child I loved these beautifully created cartoon antics.  An urban myth that there were risque names in the cartoons appeared in the 1970s and John Ryan won libel damages from two newspapers who published stories saying these names were why Captain Pugwash was removed from the schedules.

Wandering around the town, I found this memorial bench to John Ryan, near the railway station and opposite the local Jempson’s supermarket.  Placing the bench at the centre of Rye will ensure he is always remembered locally.

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This garden is dedicated to the artist JOHN RYAN (1921-2009) creator of ‘Captain Pugwash’ and many stories that delight children of all ages; much loved resident and benefactor of Rye.