"Here burned the Craigallian Fire. During the Depression of the 1930s, it was a beacon of companionship and hope for young unemployed people who came from Glasgow and Clydebank seeking adventure in Scotland’s wild places. Their pioneering spirit helped to make the Scottish countryside free for all to roam."
In terms of outdoor access and participation the Craigallian Fire memorial is one of the most important heritage sites in Scotland. This memorial recognises the "firesitters" who kept "The Fire That Never Goes Out" burning. Just outside Glasgow, this was a place to warm the hands and catch up with friends heading out into the southern highlands.
Mountaineering club members and activists, who would go on to be instrumental in securing access to Scotland’s vast wilderness for all, often met here. Sitting round the fire place swapping stories with mugs of tea before heading out into the hills, idea and ideologies were shared. The fire burned long before right of access had been granted when ramblers were often caught up in fights with landowners. Conversations around the fire were often of a political nature.
The concept of the “right to roam”, as well as the development of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park started here. Both the Lomond and the Creagh Dhu Mountaineering Clubs were created as a direct result of meetings around the fire. Jock Nimlin and Tom Weir, later to become influential climbers, writers and broadcasters, were frequent visitors.
On this site from the 1920's through to the start of the second world war, "firesitters" kept this fire burning day and night. Then, to match the darkness that engulfed the UK during the war, the fire was put out at night to avoid attracting the attention of enemy bombers.
The world that we enjoy today that includes right of access and national parks were all spoken about by the firesitters escaping the harsh life of the economic depression and unemployment of the time. Without these men who kept the ambers burning, the idea of our national parks may never have come into fruition.