It happened in the Mearns

This picture from 1966 shows the St Cyrus Guides, Brownies, Scouts and Cubs who came together for a special photograph.
This picture from 1966 shows the St Cyrus Guides, Brownies, Scouts and Cubs who came together for a special photograph.

We take a look back at what was making headlines in the Mearns Leader on this week in 1991, 1966 and 1916.


Friday November 22nd, 1991

From today - and for the very first time - a registration scheme is being introduced for persons wanting to swing a fireball on Stonehaven High Street at the spectacular and highly popular Hogmanay ceremony.

And so far as the recently formed Fireball Swingers’ Guild is concerned, anyone turning up on the night who has not previously completed an entry form, and therefore not wearing an official identification badge, will not be considered to be part of the ceremony. Grampian police Chief Supt. Sydney Simpson, who is keenly interested in the fireball ceremony, confirmed this week that new safety procedures have been agreed, and he urged all prospective swingers to register with the fireball organisation, which he regards as a “very responsible body”. Mr Simpson added that the Police are not out to spoil the show, but said that drunk or irresponsible persons would not be permitted to take part. The fireballs ritual had grown dramatically in recent years - a victim of its own success - and now posed dangers because of the huge crowds attending. And in that resepct, Chief Supt Simpson cited an example of a person who came forward after sustaining facial burns at last year’s event, but who didn’t want to make an official complaint about it. And there is a final, timely warning in the Code for all swingers: “Behave in an orderly, responsible manner. The future of this ancient and unique ceremony is in your hands!”


Friday November 18th, 1966

Laurencekirk Station seems doomed, and no one seems to care very much about it.

The Transport Users’ Consultative Council, who held a public inquiry recently, see no reason why it should not be closed, and that seems to be the end of the matter. It is a sad state of affairs when the railway authorities will not recognise that even if there are very few passengers at Laurencekirk the commercial traffic which uses the passenger trains is very considerable and may even grow. At any rate, Laurencekirk station is said to show a profit of £5,000 a year, so the last excuse that can be used for its closing is that it is an uneconomic unit.

The public regret its passing, maybe partly because of the tidiness of the station, but seem to have no further interest in the matter. This is a regretable attitude. If the station performs a useful function to traders in the burgh and beyond, its closure should have been fought with all the might available and a stronger case made out for its retention.

Rather in hope than in expectation, now that things have progressed so far, we hope that our MP, Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith, will continue the battle in higher circles. The outcome will be interesting for already there is a rumour that Stonehaven station will be next on the list.


Thursday November 23rd, 1916

One of the severest storms that has visited these coasts for many years raged from Saturday till Monday last, during which many ships were driven on to the Scottish coasts and wrecked.

Indeed, the number of vessels lost cannot, even yet, be exactly determined, as a vast amount of wreckage has been strewn along the coast, and several unknown ships would appear to have broken up and disappeared almost immediately during the hurricane of Saturday night. In several cases dead bodies have been recovered from the sea, but these lend little aid towards solving the mysteries of the sea.

On Sunday morning wreckage was noticed floating about half a mile from Stonehaven. During the day it increased in quantity, and icluded a part of a steering wheel, planks of wood, life jackets, a fog horn, and cases of butter.

It is presumed that a Dutch schooner has been sunk, as a mast, attahced to which was the Dutch flag, has also been washed ashore.

One the lifebuoy is printed “Isafjord Kopervic”.

No sign of the vessel’s hull has been seen, nor have any bodies been washed ashore.

A rumour is current that a light was seen at sea late on Saturday night. Owing to the extremely heavy gale, it was impossible for a lifeboat to put to sea.