This is a poem that was written by me in March 2004.
It is about a burn (small river) in Glen Muck, Royal Deeside called Allt Darrarie. This burn is very near Loch Muick and just a few hundred yards from the Ranger station and car-park at Spital of Muick.
In Doric the burn is known as ‘Aultdrachty’. It has a fearsome reputation for such a small burn. A post-boy ‘packman’ was killed on its bank by a pack of wolves. Beside the burn, if you look carefully amongst the heather you can find the stone remains of an old ‘black bothy’. This was an illicit still for making whisky. My forebears were whisky smugglers! It is recalled faintly that whilst fou’ (drunk) several were drowned by an Aultdrachty in spate
In the 19th century several umbrella-makers were also drowned by Aultdrachty. Nobody knows what took them there but, from Aberdeen, they had been staying at Loinveg in Glen Girnock
To play this short film please click here or on the map above.
Naebody mynds Aultdrachty noo,
though lood it rattles still.
Yet Aultdrachty’s watter wis’nae awas clear,
an it hods a muckle saicret.
Sae hearken, an hear the feech
o’ the packman, shepherd an the whisky smugglers.
An beyont the reevin win’
the toon-folk, michty-me,
brought forth their ceevil brolly –
Fit mare eesless cud there be!
Stapit foo’ wi dram he wis,
oor Packman on’t fairst erran –
oor hapless loon had’nae heed Aultdrachty’s rowt
on such a fearfu’ nicht.
The snaa it came ower the Moonth, a bin-drift,
like nane afore.
Poor loon, asleep aside Aultdrachty,
his lum still a reekin’ was berit.
Linvaig, wis the hame of McAndrew: anither mither’s loon –
lured by Aultdrachty’s cackle.
Then risen fae a halla, a sleekit naisty beast,
seelenced by Aultdrachty it pounced.
Aye Aultdrachty saa it’ fearsome.
Aultdrachty’s rauchle had a’ thirst that widnae slack.
Half a’ doozen smugglers naixt tae the slauchter,
theer bellies reed-het wi’ watter distillate,
jeelous Aultdrachty cud’nae hae that!
Aye the watter wis nae awas clear.
An then Aultdrachty reeled its maist keerious,
the hapless, stupit toon-folk,
the umberella makkers:
fit an’ earth tak them tae Aultdrachty, nane will ken,
nane but Aultdrachty.
Fit a spleeter o’ weet,
A shooer like nane
eesless brollies, blan in-bye-oot,
sae they huddled by Aultdrachty.
The watter it fell oot fae the heeven fur days, an nichts,
an fullt the quaich o’ Aultdrachty welt beyont the brim,
Ceevil folk, wi brollies, had nae chance.
That’s how lood wis Aultdrachty’s rattle
an sae its keerious tae think
the glen it ken’t has lang since ceased to roar.
Peter J. Gordon