The other day I was a few miles outside the small town of Doune, when I was faced with a ‘road closed’ sign.
There was no diversion marked, but when I got my map out I saw that I could take a detour through the nearby hamlet of Argaty.
Although tiny in terms of human population, Argaty lays claim to being central Scotland’s only red kite feeding station, and has quite a number of visitors as a result.
The feeding station is open all year round so that you can pop along to watch red kites from a hide, and they have a website here if you’d like more information.
As interesting as all of that is, the red kites were not what particularly intrigued me in Argaty. This was what stopped me in my tracks:
A rather substantial bus shelter, but one with a bit of a story to tell.
At the front of the shelter, above and between two pillars, was a date – 1937 – and two sets of initials: GRVI and ER:
Commemorative plaques and other architectural paraphernalia to mark coronations are not uncommon, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bus shelter built for the purpose. Mind you, I say it was built for the coronation but perhaps that’s not true; it might already have been there and just been inscribed to mark the event.
I searched online a bit and wasn’t able to find any mention of this bus shelter anywhere.
I did, however, find information about a completely different bus shelter in the village of Stokenchurch in the south of England, which was erected not for the 1937 coronation but for the present Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
As can be seen above, the Stokenchurch Diamond Jubilee bus shelter is a very different design from the Argaty one and has a metal plaque attached to it commemorating the Diamond Jubilee.
There are several other bus shelters throughout the UK that were erected for the Diamond Jubilee, but I chose to highlight this one because of its very tenuous link with the one at Argaty.
It’s barely worth mentioning perhaps, but the fact that the Stokenchurch one was partly funded by a company called Red Kite caught my attention. Could there be other links between red kites and bus shelters that I’ve yet to uncover? Life is full of curious coincidences.