Welcome to Carnbeg

Stories by Ronald Frame

'Ceud Mile Failte' read the road-signs on the way into Carnbeg.

It's Gaelic for 'A Hundred Thousand Welcomes'.

Carnbeg is a resort set among the wooded Perthshire hills.  Population 7,500 or so at the last count.

There's a wealth of Carnbeg stories to be told.  Dozens of stories, scores, hundreds. And here and now, if you're ready, are where they start.  Watch this site, and more will appear regularly.

Queen Victoria transformed the fortunes of the old town, making it a fashionable watering-place.  Carnbeg was included on a circuit of smart European spas.  During the First World War any hints of Germanness had to be done away with, however, and Carnbeg lost its international clientele in the 1920s.  Instead it attracted the British in increasing numbers.  A tradition began: Glasgow holidaymakers came in the month of July, those from Edinburgh in August.  In the 1930s Britons who had served the Empire overseas were choosing to retire here, to a landscape reminiscent of those other far-flung places - the 'White Settlers', as they were known, living more cheaply on their pensions and savings than in the cities.

During World War Two some hotels were turned into hospitals and convalescent homes, while others - where Forces personnel came on leave - echoed to dance music long into the night.

Now Carnbeg is into the heritage business.  Conferences fill the big hotels out of the high-season periods, and the same hotels trade on the glamour of days gone by - movie stars who visited, maharajahs and millionaires who graced their premises.  Coaches (long ago they were charabancs) continue to deposit the daily sightseers at the car park next to the distillery.  Some residents, not many, commute to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow several times a week.  The caravan site survives, but the area has become a hotspot for second homes.

Carnbeg has made it to the twenty-first century.  It's paired with several towns around the world, including Wongahoolie Creek in Victoria (Australia) and Urwald in Bavaria (Germany) and Delancey in Maclean County, Tennessee (USA). 

'Haste Ye Back!' read the road-signs on their reverse side, on the way out of town.  'Come Back Soon!'.  Some do.  Some don't.  Some intend to, but just never get round to it.

You're welcome back anytime.

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A new Carnbeg story will appear regularly - either every ten days or fortnightly. The blog will keep you posted on the latest news and  developments, as syndicated from the offices of the Days. 

I would like to acknowledge the generous financial assistance proved by the Scottish Arts Council in setting up this website, and offer my personal thanks to its Literature Director, Gavin Wallace.