Dunbartonshire Amateur Athletic Association: 1960 – 1966

Pat Moy on the left, Stan Horn centre

The next five years would be quite significant for the Dunbartonshire Association.   Given the remit of promoting and developing the sport within its bailiwick, it is fair to ask how it was living up to these measurements.   

  • If we look at the number of young men coming in to the sport, then the answer is definitely yes.   There are teams in Senior/Junior Men,  Youths  and Boys categories and we have already seen schools teams taking part.   
  • Is the quality there as well as the quantity?   The reply has to be in the affirmative there too.   We have already seen international representatives in the form of Alex Kidd, Alex McDougall, Pat Moy and others in the Senior age bracket, we now see Boys, Youths,  and Juniors coming in to the races that we know with hindsight would go on to have brilliant careers in the sport.   
  • The Vale of Leven team in the championships of 1962 would be probably the youngest the County had seen up to that point – Stewart, Haddow, Fraser, Billy Gallacher were barely out of the Youths competition and yet were beating good Senior teams.   
  • What events are the Association promoting?   There are at least five events every year by now being organised by the DAAA: Over the country there are the cross-country relays in October and the individual championships in December; on the road there are the Balloch to Clydebank 12 miles and the Clydebank to Helensburgh, both in April; and on the track there is the annual championship meeting in May.    It also helps out with sports meetings put on by member clubs.

The County relays which started the 1960/61 winter season were held at Westerton, Garscube Harriers’ HQ, on 17th October, 1960 and resulted in a victory for the Vale of Leven team of Friel, Moy, Campbell and Billy Gallacher, by 50 seconds from Garscube with Clydesdale Harriers third   In the Youths race Lachie Stewart had the fastest time by over half a minute and the Vale must have been excited at the prospect of seeing him join their senior squad – after all Moy had fastest time of the day, and young Gallacher had equal second fastest with Doug Spencer of Garscube.   Note too the fact that Clydesdale had the first two teams in the Boys race with half a dozen very good athletes most of whom went on to have good careers in the sport: for instance Bobby and Jim Shields   were both international class hill runners and Jim went on as a veteran triathlete represented GB in the world championships, Ian Logie as a junior man took up the pole vault and represented Scotland, and Iain Cooke was a medal winning sprinter before giving up the sport to become a doctor.    Report and results below.

Unfortunately the actual county championships were not reported on in either the Glasgow Herald or Scotsman so we will look next at the Track & Field Championships were held on a Wednesday in Mid May at this time and coverage depended on what else was being contested that night.   In 1961 the date was 16th May and the winning team in the points contest for the Logue Memorial Trophy was Garscube Harriers, top competitor with three victories was Bobby Mills of Dumbarton AAC.   The Glasgow Herald report is below.   Note that under track regulations, Lachie Stewart was now a Junior Man

Below: Jack Brown, Dumbarton AAC, winner of the 880 yards

1961 was a year that was significant for the Vale of Leven AAC: Lachie Stewart was at last eligible for the Senior/Junior Cross-Country Relay championship.   Running the anchor leg for the club after Hughie McErlean, Pat Moy and Fraser Watson had done their bit, he brought the team home first, 25 seconds ahead of Clydesdale Harriers with Garscube Harriers a further 3 minutes back.   The shock of the day however had to be the fastest time award not going to Stewart but to his club’s Ian Haddow who was running for the B team.   Note too the arrival on the scene of Colin Martin returning the fastest time in the Boys’ race.   Details below.   

The Individual and Team Championships took place on 18th December, a bit later than usual, but with the very strong Vale of Leven team keeping their title, and Pat Moy winning the individual championship.   The standard at the time was very high and the Vale had four in the top five finishers.   Garscube was second team and Dumbarton third.   Note the strength too of the younger athletes coming through the age groups – Bobby Shields of Clydesdale, Allan Adams and  Colin Martin of Dumbarton – any club in the country would be delighted to count any one of these as a member.


Below: Lachie Stewart as a Senior in the red and white hoops of the Vale of Leven

The Balloch to Clydebank in 1962 was held  on 14th April and was won by Alex McDougall (Vale of Leven) in 69:53 from George White of Clydesdale (71:18 with Willie Gallagher of Vale of Leven third in 72:03.    At this point in its development, the Balloch race had a Ballot team prize.   A Ballot team is a system where the entrants are seeded in three piles and one is drawn from each pile to make up the teams.   The winning team this year was Alex McDougall first, Stan Horn fifth and Billy Hislop (Clydesdale) eighth.   George White won the Clydesdale Harriers road championship which was incorporated into the race.   The times were notably slower because the route was longer, having been diverted to miss out the Dumbarton High Street.   This may have been the year that Bob Pape of the Royal Navy ran as a guest while posted to the Clyde; like Weekes-Pearson, he started behind the official start to the race.

Two weeks later, Andy Brown of Motherwell YMCA won the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16-mile road race for the second time.    His winning time was 1:26:15 and he defeated Gordon Eadie (Cambuslang) by approximately a quarter of a mile, Eadie’s time being 1:27:31.   JM Kerr (Cambuslang) was third in 1:29:05.   Shettleston won the team race with fourth, sixth and seventh places, and Cambuslang was second team.

In the cross-country relay at the start of the 1962/63 season, Vale of Leven again took the title with a team of four young athletes – I Haddow, B Gallacher, L Stewart and F Watson – taking over from the Moy, McDougall Willie Gallacher era.  Clydesdale Harriers were second with Garscube third.   Details:

The actual championship races, as opposed to the relay format, was held on 8th December, 1962, and Lachie Stewart won his first county senior championship at Dumbarton.   The team race was as close as it could be with Dumbarton beating the Vale by only one point thanks to their slightly closer packing at the finish.

The first of the two annual road races was held on 13th April, 1963, and was won by The Vale of Leven’s reliable and hard running Hughie McErlean from his regular rival from Clydesdale, Brian McAusland.   They had many a hard tussle but this time the Vale man won fairly comfortably with Garscube’s Walter Ross, founder of the Veteran Harriers movement in Scotland a good few years later, in third.   The brief report reads:

Two weeks later and it was changing at Bruce Street Baths in Clydebank for the 16 mile Clydebank to Helensburgh road race.   As usual there was a good quality field for the race – it was one of the four counting races for the Scottish Marathon Championship and at 16 miles it was an important stepping stone to the marathon distance.   Gordon Eadie (Cambuslang) defeated the previous winner Andy Brown (Motherwell) by almost 40 seconds.   The report is below.

There was no report on the County Track and Field Championships in May 1963 but there was this report on a county select, which must have been selected by the DAAA, competing in a triangular match at Westerlands on 7th May.   The names of Bobby Mills, Jack Brown and Graeme Grant are all familiar.

Next confined fixture was the cross-country relays at the start of the 1963/64 season in October.   The Senior Men’s race achieved the seemingly impossible – the two and a half mile loop saw the leading three teams being disqualified after the first race and no medals being awarded.   The trail was not so much lost as misunderstood – to lose the trail over such a short distance is fairly difficult.   What happened, if memory serves correctly, is that the first three teams came to a barbed wire fence, crossed the fence, ran alongside it, then re-crossed it to follow the trail back to the changeover.   They had actually run further than they were meant to but the decision was whether to disqualify all three clubs.   However, the remainder of the races are covered in the Herald report below.

The Individual and Team Championships were held at Dumbarton on 14th December with Lachie Stewart winning for the second year in succession and Dumbarton AAC won the team race.   Results below.

The Balloch to Clydebank race in 1964 merited only a 4 line note in the Herald after the event on 4th April.   Lachie Stewart of the Vale won the event from Cyril O’Boyle with David Martin of Garscube third.   The field was a strong one with two of the country’s best distance runners battling it out at the front end, indeed Ian Harris was reigning SAAA Marathon champion.  Details below.

The Track and Field Championships were held on 19th May in 1964 but at Whitecrook Track in Clydebank, home of Clydesdale Harriers rather than Westerlands.   Dumbarton won the Logue Memorial Trophy for the most points by any club while Lachie Stewart of the Vale of Leven had three wins.   Among the names of those who would be international stars were (of course) Stewart and Les Piggott of Garscube who would also be an Olympian and Graham Grant of Dumbarton who would also be a GB Internationalist and have a share of the World 4 x 880 yards record.

Below: Les Piggott (1) winning the invitation 100 yards at Babcock & Wilcox Sports.

1964/65 and the cross-country relay championships were held from the Garscube Harriers base at Westerton and Vale of Leven beat Clydesdale Harriers by just over 40 seconds with Garscube Harriers third.  It was no surprise that Lachie Stewart had fastest time with Clydesdale’s Bobby Shields second and the Vale’s Hugh McErlean third.   The quality kept on appearing – Garscube’s Boys Ricky Wood and Jim Cook would be runners to watch.    

The individual and club championships on 12th December and resulted in a victory for Clydesdale from Vale of Leven although Lachie Stewart retained his championship.   Ian Donald had only that week completed his transfer from Shettleston Harriers to Clydesdale Harriers and the report mistakenly refers to him as I.Donald (Shettleston) although they had it right in the team result.   

The Balloch to Clydebank 12 mile race was held on 10th April and was won by Cyril O’Boyle from previous winner McErlean with Allan Adams of Dumbarton third.   All three were hard fighters and tough opponents although the finishing time was not anywhere near what any of them was capable of.

The Scottish Marathon Club had by now taken responsibility for the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16 but in truth it was actually a joint affair with most of the officials by far coming from the DAAA, many of them being members of the SMC as well as retaining their own club affiliation.    This year it was held on April 24th with Donald Macgregor winning from Alastair Wood.   The finish was a source of contention – apparently Macgregor and Wood had decided to finish side-by-side but the place judges decided otherwise, placing the Fifer ahead of the Aberdonian.   Some said the runners should have been placed joint first, some thought that what they were doing was not an honest finish to the race, either way Don was credited with first place.

The Track and Field Championships in 1965 were held on Tuesday, 18th May, 1965 at Knightswood Secondary School, home of Garscube Harriers, with Piggott, Grant, Stewart and Mills wrapping up the track events for Garscube, Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Dumbarton respectively.   Taylor and Ryan were recognised everywhere as good throws experts and McGhee won several titles as a high jumper and all three competed on the amateur Highland Games circuit.

Stan Horn, Garscube and Glasgow University, leading the field in a University fixture at St Andrews