GONE are the days, the Evening Times reported in August 1977, when "parkies" were near-geriatrics who “spent most of their time furiously blowing a whistle and chasing small boys away from the flower beds.” Today, there was, in Glasgow at least, a new breed of rangers – "super-parkies" – who had new skills at their fingertips and were able to call on motor-bikes, patrol boats and radio-equipped vans.

Despite being considerably under-strength, the rangers were doing their best to combat vandals. “The vandal problem can be quite severe,” said Parks Director, Keith Fraser. “It can be utterly disheartening for a ranger and, facing so much frustration and disappointment, he has to be a hardy sort of chap.”

But senior ranger David Henderson, pictured above in his patrol-boat on Hogganfield Loch, which was part of his beat, took the view that “at last we are finally beginning to win the battle against the vandals”. A two-way radio system with its own centralised control meant that he and colleagues could bring police to a vandalised scene within minutes.

Education was also an important part of the armoury, with the rangers paying visits to the city’s deprived areas with special caravans laden with sports equipment and live plants and animals. Sometimes, nature talks were given in schools.

“Do you know there is a bird sanctuary on an island in the middle of the loch?” he asked. “People don’t know half of what Glasgow’s parks have to offer.”