Fam­ily’s fuel

The Galloway News - - Galloway People -

But Ian and Bill Gal­loway have done just that with their garage at Twyn­holm – with a few bumps and laugh­ter along the road.

Based at the for­mer Hay­ton Coulthard premises for half a cen­tury, W B Gal­loway was part of vil­lage life long be­fore that.

Ian’s fa­ther Wil­liam brought his fam­ily to Nun Mill at The Dhoon, along the coast from Kirkcud­bright, in 1947.

The Gal­loways had moved from Wig­town­shire where Wil­liam had been a herd at Art­field and Kil­hearn near New Luce.

Wil­liam saw the age of the mo­tor car had ar­rived and, in 1953, with fi­nan­cial back­ing from his fa­ther John Gal­loway, opened two petrol pumps be­side the old A75 at the Glen­gap junc­tion, out­side Twyn­holm.

Aged just 39, Wil­liam did not en­joy great health but Nun Mill owner, farmer and cat­tle dealer Muir Gri­er­son took a sym­pa­thetic view.

“He was de­cent with us and let us stay on at Nun Mill,” re­called Ian who, aged 12, was man enough to wheel­bar­row gravel for the new fuel sta­tion’s foun­da­tions.

The lit­tle busi­ness pros­pered and in 1956 a work­shop was added – cour­tesy of some cre­ative re­cy­cling.

“The as­bestos roof­ing was from the old RAF air­field at Bal­doon near Wig­town,” Ian re­called.

“It came off the old wartime air­craft hangars there.”

The firm con­tin­ued to grow and bus hire for schools and groups be­came part of Gal­loway’s of­fer.

Wil­liam and wife Mar­garet drove the buses and the firm’s fleet of two ve­hi­cles was soon in high de­mand.

In 1960 the en­ter­prise was over­taken by tragedy when Wil­liam died aged just 46 and the un­timely loss meant Ian had to take up driv­ing du­ties.

To do that he needed a public ser­vice ve­hi­cle li­cence (PSV) for which the min­i­mum age was 21.

And weeks af­ter pass­ing that mile­stone Ian was head­ing to Cas­tle Dou­glas to sit his PSV test.

“The traf­fic com­mis­sioner was a Mr Ro­se­vere,” Ian re­counted.

“It was a snowy morn­ing early in 1963 and I re­mem­ber say­ing ‘you can’t pos­si­bly want me to drive in this!’.

“But he just replied that I’d some­times be driv­ing in th­ese con­di­tions so I’d better get used to it!”

De­spite the drifts Ian passed and be­gan driv­ing the school bus two hours a day on top of his garage work.

Jour­neys with the chil­dren were largely un­event­ful – but the same couldn’t be said for adult trips.

“We did school runs, bingo runs and so­cial out­ings,” Ian re­called.

“Once I took a bus­load of women foot­ballers from Kirkcud­bright through to Dal­beat­tie for a game.

“It was may­hem on the pitch and and the com­ments of course aren’t for re­peat­ing.

“It wasn’t a great match – prob­a­bly be­cause both sides were look­ing for some­body to kick the whole time.

“Af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle they were still bat­tling and the Kirkcud­bright team had to be es­corted off the pitch.”

“It wasn’t any better when they got on the bus either.

“Not long af­ter we left Dal­beat­tie they started fight­ing among them­selves.

“We had just got up the hill past Craig­nair and I had to stop the bus.

“I turned round and said ‘Right, you’ll have tae get oot if you don’t get your­selves un­der con­trol.

“Calm doon or find your own way home!’

“They were a bit qui­eter af­ter that but I wouldn’t have fan­cied a skelp on the lug from any of them.

“Kirkcud­bright’s finest, right enough.” Ian re­called an­other ex­plo­sive mo­ment from the Gal­loway fam­ily ar­chives – from the year be­fore he was born.

Im­plau­si­bly, the in­ci­dent in­volved a Ger­man bomber crew de­cid­ing to drop their bombs near Pen­pont.

“My mother and fa­ther got mar­ried in 1940 and the re­cep­tion was at her house at Glen­whar­gen, away up on the back road to San­quhar,” said Ian.

“It was go­ing like a fair but sud­denly a bomb blast blew the back door of the house open.

“My grand­fa­ther Wul­lie Waugh had ex­pe­ri­enced the First World War and knew what it was.

“There were folk div­ing for cover ev­ery­where.

“I sup­pose you could say the wed­ding went with a bang.”

Ian added: “No­body knew why they bombed the place.

“But there was a sug­ges­tion that they mis­took the glow from muir­burn­ing for steel­works near Glas­gow.”

Gal­loway’s moved lock, stock and bar­rel into Twyn­holm from its orig­i­nal site 50 years ago.

Land was needed for the A75 by­pass and the old fuel pumps and and work­shop were de­mol­ished.

The A75 road was fur­ther wi­dened to ac­com­mo­date an over­tak­ing lane and to­day not a trace of them re­mains.

“There had been talk of a by-pass since 1935,” Ian said.

“But then the big ar­tics started and it was hor­ren­dous.

“They would be knock­ing bits off elec­tric poles in the vil­lage all the time.

“We left the old site at the end of De­cem­ber, 1969, and opened up here in Jan­uary, 1970.”

Ian’s son Bill, 44, joined the busi­ness as a teenager and has 25 years on the clock at Gal­loways.

As a young ap­pren­tice in the 1990s he wit­nessed in­ci­dents that still raise a chuckle to this day.

“I re­mem­ber one el­derly cus­tomer had put his car in to get tyres fit­ted,” Bill re­counted.

“He had started to lose his mind a bit and tried to drive the car away while it was still jacked up with no wheels on it.

“He was revving the car hard and dad ran up, threw the door open and asked him what he was do­ing!”

Gal­loway’s cus­tomers in­cluded F1 ace and Twyn­holm lad David Coulthard.

“He would pop in and serve hiom­self fuel,” said Ian.

“He was such a gen­uine fella,” said Ian. “He would come in and talk away to you.”

Twyn­holm wasn’t short of other ‘wor­thies’ in the ‘70s and ‘80s when at­ti­tudes to drink driv­ing were very dif­fer­ent.

“There used to be a farmer who en­joyed a drink in the Star at week­ends,” said Ian.

“He al­ways had some­thing hap­pen on Fri­day night get­ting back to the farm.

“He would put his car over a bank­ing or hedge but never struck an­other car, for­tu­nately.

“The next day he would come in, hook up to a fixed chain and re­verse out to pull the front end of the mo­tor back into shape. “And that was him ready for an­other go.” Ian added: “The drink driv­ing in those days was a free-for-all.

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