THE new cafe/theatre bar at Mugdock Country Park - named after the park’s most famous resident Charlie the elephant - was officially opened last Saturday.
Charlie arrived at the park after the Second World War and lived a long life at the park’s popular Craigend Zoo.
He was much loved by locals and visitors and his devoted keeper Singh Ibrahim, who slept with him in the stables block every night.
Charlie and Singh were inseparable as the following story illustrates.
One day Ibrahim decided to go for a drink in one of Milngavie’s public houses.
As he walked down towards the village, he was unaware that Charlie was following at a discreet distance.
The elephant’s presence was only confirmed when he tried to enter the public bar and got stuck fast in the doorway.
It took the local fire brigade some considerable time to set him free.
Unfortunately the zoo was not a success, but since then the park has become a popular venue for musical performers from jazz and folk groups to opera and classical music.
And this project has created a more attractive entrance and foyer to the venue and gives a new eating and drinking option for visitors.
The project was funded by East Dunbartonshire Council and Stirling Council with a grant from the Forth Valley & Lomond LEADER project.
East Dunbartonshire Provost Eric Gotts, chairman of the park’s joint management committee, said: “Mugdock Country Park is a gem of a place, offering all sorts of activities and entertainment for all the family.
This new facility will enhance the already excellent services there so if you haven’t visited the park before, now is the time to discover it.”
Councillor Colin O’Brien, vice chair of Mugdock Country Park added: “Charlie’s theatre and café bar will be a great asset to the park.
“People will have options to eat and drink before attending the theatre, thus enhancing their overall experience.
“It also creates a new revenue stream for Mugdock Country Park and new jobs for local people.”
The new Mugdock café bar will be open every day from 9am until 5pm during the winter, and it will opem from 9am to 8pm during the summer and when there are theatre performances in the winter.