Auchmountain Glen is located in
is a town and former burgh in the Inverclyde council area of
western Scotland. It forms part of a contiguous urban area with
Gourock to the west and Port Glasgow to the east. Greenock lies
within the Central Lowlands geographic area of Scotland. The
origin of the town's name is uncertain. It is generally
accepted, however, that the town is named after the Gaelic "Grianaig"
meaning a sunny place.
1886 Sir Michael Robert Shaw Stewart allowed a group of workmen
(the Auchmountain Boys) to create a path through the glen to
Whin Hill and they transformed it into a 'fairy grove'. In 1887
busts were placed by the glen's well of Robert Burns, Sir Walter
Scott and James Watt. The spring is known as the Boys Well.
The Glen was a popular recreation site
during the late 19th and early 20th
Pipe Major John
Balloch, above, was a major figure in the world of army pipe
bands. The fact that at age 37 he was chosen to coordinate and
lead the massed military pipes and drums during the celebrations
of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 says much about his
prominence at the time.
Born in 1860 near Stirling, he joined the
army as a piper in 1878, and served in a number of Britannia's
conflicts during that time, mostly with the King's Own Scottish
Borderers – the KOSB's (pronounced 'KOS-bees'). He fought in
Burma, South Africa, Egypt and India. He taught piping to the
Gurkha regiments, calling them "apt pupils" who "played like
Highlanders" and wouldn't go to bed at night because "they were
going full blast at the chanters." Though he retired just after
the turn of the century to run a tobacco shop in Greenock, he
re-enlisted in 1914 at age 54 and served in the trenches in
France with his brother through much of the Great War.
Auchmountain's Bonnie Glen,
written about the countryside around Greenock, and "The 25th
KOSBs Farewell to Meerut" are Balloch's two most famous
John Balloch died in a retirement home in
Rothesay in 1947 at the age of 86.