Social Functions in the Fifties

The writer, John Aird, was a very active member of the club, being President for three years in the late Fifties and early Sixties. In recognition of his contribution to the IMC he was made an honorary member at the club’s 50th Anniversary. The photo is from a later era; a pub meal at the Ballater meet in November 2017.

The Club used to hold “Indoor Meets” in members’ houses, apartments or digs, and these would take place every two months or so.  We would chat about past and prospective Club expeditions and about club matters generally.  The host or hostess, or in my case my landlady, would provide a light supper on these occasions.  We also met each Thursday night in the former Ness Cafe in Ardross Terrace to discuss plans for the following weekend.

There would normally be two Club dances each year – one held about Halloween and the other just before Christmas.  These took place in the long-since-demolished Highland Ski Club hut off Haugh Road by courtesy of that Club.  The arrangement was that the lady members would provide the food in exchange for free admission!  We would engage a local band and there would be a licensed bar provided by Mr Ron Annand of the “Crit” bar in Church Street (whose site is now occupied by Lauders). These functions were always very enjoyable and consisted largely of the more vigorous Scottish dances. The only snag was the floor which was not entirely suitable being of uneven dusty concrete – it was a former Army hut!

I should mention one amusing incident which happened on what was, probably, the last time we used the Ski Club Hut for a dance.  The usual application to the Licensing Court for a Special Certificate was made by Ron Annand, but this time it was refused on the grounds that the Police found that the place was too difficult to supervise – in other words it was too far for them to walk!

Well, we were not going to be put off. We were going to have the dance, come what may! Individual members would bring drinks appropriate to the occasion.  This would have been in order if no payment was being made for the drinks.  In my capacity as honorary legal adviser to the Club, I had to draw the committee’s attention to the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1865 (applicable at that time) which made provision for heavy penalties for running an unlicensed bar (known as a “shebeen” in Scots Law!).  The dance went ahead; the bar was duly set up.  We took turns to run it and “You name it, we love it!” was the situation.  Well, the Police did turn up (very sneaky) late in the evening and do you know, when they appeared everybody was on the floor dancing and there was not a glass to be seen!

After that the Club moved to more sophisticated (and expensive!) accommodation in a function suite of one of the town’s hotels.