Local Stories - The Lido - Anna McIntyre

Today is a very strange day for me.

I should be swimming at the Gourock pool and meeting up with my friends, who are all, like me, 'regulars ' there.

I call us all - The Pool Posers!

Instead, I'm in the lockdown situation. As is the most of the world.

Although I'm obviously gutted at not being able to take part in my favourite pastime, I realise that it's important to stay positive and active and to try and make the best of a bad situation.

Because I'm in the over 70's age group ( 74 ) I'm restricted in what I'm allowed to do. But I am lucky to be able to go for walks along the front at Gourock and am also able to keep in touch with family and friends through FaceTime and phone.

Nothing though even comes close to a dip in the pool and a natter with fellow Pool Posers!

My memories of the pool go back to about 1955 when I started going there with my friends from school.

The bottom of the pool was sandy then with shells and shingle mixed in with the odd crab or two.

I learned to swim with water wings. I loved being in the saltwater. Even on cold and windy days. The water wasn't heated then so it was mainly pretty cold! So you always took a chittering bite ....to stop you chittering!

When I got married and had children, 3 girls, we went regularly as a family, and now my girls and their families, my six grandsons, all love to swim in the pool. They all learned to swim at Gourock pool and like me enjoy jumping off the two dales.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough confidence to dive in so I have to just jump in from the dales, and it's my ambition to celebrate my 100th Birthday by jumping off the top dale!

I'm a fairly good swimmer and I really do expect to be still swimming at that age. It's a pity tho that the authorities don't still keep up the old tradition which was adopted many years ago.

Every year, at the end of the season, the oldest man was presented with a bottle of whiskey and the oldest lady was given a bouquet of flowers. For quite a few years in a row, the man and lady were the same.

Jimmy Barr and Molly Purdie.

Jimmy actually took a dip in the Clyde every morning even in winter! Both now sadly passed away. But both lived well into their 90's I think.

The whole area of Gourock and its surroundings is surely one of the most picturesque in the world and the Gourock Pool is its jewel in the crown. I have sung its praises many times.

Mairi Anderson and I were interviewed for the Glasgow Herald a few summers ago at the pool and were delighted when they printed an article about us and the pool! John Beattie also interviewed a few of us live for his programme on Radio Scotland.

I said on both these occasions...' It's the next best thing to swimming in the Med '! What more could you want? Can't wait till next year!

Anna McIntyre.

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