The park was born in the summer of of 1960, by 1963 we had our first loss, heather. An excerpt from An American Scottish Chief tells the story.
“I engaged Mr. D.A. MacKinnon of Howden & Co., Inverness, to plant our heather. By the end of the third year we had 20 different varities and they were doing well. Then came trouble! Visitors from all over the world would not only clip the heather blossoms, but pull up whole plants! (And I’m afraid all too many were Scots!) Pondering as to a solution, I decided that the usual “Don’t touch” or “Keep off” signs would do no good. So (after a few Scotches one night)
I dreamed up signs with a lighter, friendlier touch: “McBain Memorial Park – No burial ground – no bodies around” “A thief one day, to our dismay, took plants away, he’ll rue that day!” “Please let us stay; we want to cheer you, on your way!” “Let me be, I’m just a wee tree!” After these were installed, securely fastened, at least 80 percent of the pilfering stopped. I still believe the thieves were not professional – just clansmen who wanted “a wee bit of the Chief’s heather” to take home for planting.”
The next casualty was the road sign marking the turn off to the Park from the A.862 road near Dores. This sign was placed in service in 1963 and by 1970 this sign along with it’s replacement were gone. As with the heather we feel these loses were due to souvenir collectors. When we replace the sign it might be a very heavystone. The last two thefts are the most hurtful. The two defiant bronze cats, taken in 1997, and the bronze plaque taken in 2011. Even though these items were very securely fastened we feel the melt down value of the bronze made these pieces too vulnerable. As discussed in “Phase 1” the replacement art will be made out of other materials.