Friday, 6 March 2015

Archie Mathieson, Scotland`s first Countryside Ranger; A year on from a hard day...


Some times of year means emotional times for some of us...
Today a year ago we attended my Dads funeral. The picture above is from the early 1980s of my dad when he was Senior Countryside Ranger for East Lothian Ranger Service, Dad was Scotland's first Countryside Ranger.
That blue Landrover is probably as well known as my dad by many in East Lothian who saw it around the County for over 18 years as he did his rounds of the car parks from up in the local Hills of the Lammermuir Hills at the Whiteadder, to Pencaitland  Railway Way walk to the coastal car parks between Barnes Ness and Musselburgh Lagoons...

Our dad wrote a weekly Nature article for the East Lothian Courier Newspaper for i think 18 years,
I have most of these cut out the paper in boxes under my bed, maybe i or someone will one day scan them onto a PC and they could be printed in a book or something?...

Dad was awarded the British Empire Medal for `Services to the Countryside`,
Dad took hundreds of children, and their parents on nature walks at Yellowcraig and other coastline areas and had a kind of magic that captured the interest and magic of nature that has stayed with those who went on his nature walks...


I know as i have been told this by many people who met my father,,,

He met a lot of influential people, and probably influenced them,,, like Prince Bernard from the Netherlands, here with Lord Weymss..,


And was a core member of the setting up of East Lothian`s John Muir Park in the 1970s...



But he was also our dad and some of him lives on in all three of us...


I spent just over a year during the warmest driest summer on record cycling daily down to see Dad at Fidra Nursing home and we talked a lot about dads life, from as a teenager growing up in Ayrshire where he escaped home life  to the countryside where he poached fish and and later helped the local Gamekeeper and was taught how to fish and shoot by a WW1 Sniper Veteran called Will Grant, Someone who was a big influence on dad as his shooting skills would see him be a gunner in a tank regiment during his 2 year Army Service,  Dad could run a 5 minute mile in full army kit!, and he had been told that if he had been called up for service he would have been selected for Sniper training, such was his excellence in fitness and training and sharp shooting,
His love of Nature and the countryside brought him to the East coast and East Lothian in 1970 when he accepted the position of Countryside Ranger...

Job advert;




My Dad taught me everything i know about being outdoors and he always said `If you can read you can teach yourself anything `...
So you can blame dad for my love of East Lothian , and esp our coastline as it is he who taught me all i know...

Thanks dad,,,


Some links about my Dad,,,

Life on the seashore

http://www.el4.org.uk/el4-cd/ranger.html

http://www.eastlothianmuseums.org/content/pages/exhibitions/on-line-exhibitions/parklife/workinglife.php

http://www.scotsman.com/news/nuthatch-has-a-crack-at-life-in-lothians-1-989690


http://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/roundup/articles/2014/03/07/490872-sad-death-of-first-county-ranger/

3 comments:

  1. Nice tribute. Those articles put into book form would be good reading. It would be interesting to compare the nature, and seasons then to what's happening now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really lovely piece to read. Sorry I never got to meet your Dad. He sounded brilliant! You're definitely following in his footsteps and doing him proud!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was lucky enough to meet your father in the late '90s when I was a Seasonal Ranger at Longniddry Bents. His article in the Courier was always the first section I would turn to. It would be great if you were able to put them all together into a book of some sort. Records like that are so valuable. I am currently putting together the butterfly records from East Lothian after a recent in crease in the number of species occurring here. Records such as these are so valuable for future generations.

    ReplyDelete