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60 Years of the Mini (Snippet – Sept / Oct 19)

At the Grampian Transport Museum – Sunday 25th August

Sixty years after being launched by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), on 26 August 1959, the Mini remains one of the most recognisable and loved vehicles ever made – it was, also, arguably the world’s first classless car.
The Mini is an enduring symbol of the swinging sixties: it gave its name to the mini skirt and countless small versions of other products; it was bought by a wide spectrum of society from royalty to impoverished students – and in Mini Cooper formats, excelled in motor sport on stage rallies and on tarmac circuits.
In 1959, as the country emerged from post-war austerity, just over 58% of UK households owned a television set, 13% of households had a refrigerator and only 35% of households owned a car. By 1970 over 50% of households owned a car.

The Mini was a key component in all this change. In 1965, it was the UK’s 3rd bestselling car and ten years later, it was the UK’s 3rd bestselling car again. By this time, it was BMC’s bestselling car.
When production ceased in 2000, over 5.5 million Minis had been produced in car, van, estate car, pick up and Moke form.
Mini production peaked in 1971, with over 216,000 of the 318, 475 cars produced being exported.

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Walks & Wonders – Castle Country (Snippet – Sept / Oct 19)

By John R. Barrett

After a fortnight of being wet on the Tap only our lightweight boots and socks are dry enough to wear. So we chose a walk that is nearby and without watery challenges. Bridgend of Livet is close to home (for us).

There is a convenient parking place beside the little Glenlivet graveyard. A quiet place – one of several where MacDonald of Duart is said to have been buried after the battle of Glenlivet. We walk on the tarmac for a short half mile eastish. The swollen Livet foams under the remaining arches of the old bridge. (It is not a packhorse bridge – though doubtless packhorses used the crossing. Why are old bridges always ‘packhorse’ bridges?). Then on to the prettily beflowered Glenlivet hall where ‘Tea in the Park’ wafts cakey temptations to passers-by. My doctor should applaud my abstemious resistance as I resist.
A tarmac track (left past the hall beside the recycling bins) bends up hill. The masonry facade of a lime kiln looms at the roadside. At Deskie farm, a big prosperous place with a double-pile house surrounded by stately sycamore and conker trees, we turn left, through a gate to follow a track through the field. Sheep scatter ahead. At the end, beyond a gate and a fence, the land drops into a nettly and tuffocky strype. We slither down the bank and go ankle deep into the boggy bottom. Rising above is a grassy platform with the greened-over earthworks. Probably this is an early castle. But nothing is known. Even the castle might be doubted. Possibly, though, it is an Anglo-Norman stronghold: probably built in the twelfth century by one of the immigrant lords who received land confiscated from Gaelic supporters of the native line of Moray kings, descended from Macbeatha, Lulach, Máelsnechtai and Óengus.
We return to the Deskie Farm turn and take the Speyside Way path northwards uphill. This narrow and little used section of the Way is overgrown with tuffocky grass and tall nettles. But the uphill walk is worthwhile. Beyond a stone wall of head-dyke the unenclosed grassy muir is dotted with ‘hut circles’. These faintly visible circular stone founds are the remains of substantial Iron-Age roundhouses, extending ten metres or fifteen metres in diameter and rising as tall conical two storied dwellings for prosperous farming families…

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