Tarbrax by the high road tae Forfar
Donald Mcpherson far fae Bovagli’s hamely braes.
Black bothies left ahind, aiver speerited in saicret. Aye!
Girnoc garrons twinty each – wi’ ankers twa abreast:
the toonkeeper wimmen left oot.
Speerits heich (tcaach ….fit a tirravee!)
Loshtie aye, dwam fou!
The-gaither, time-servin’ smugglers:
Donald Mcpherson – oor seerious scoondrel;
James Gordon – aiver richteous;
an’ John Gall – oonprencipilt mebbe,
yet surely mair of a dweem than a dwam:
Donald Mcpherson befuskert high on baith chaffs,
aye rugged cheekit – bricht red oondernaith.
Jorum at the ready the-gaither wi the Gordons: James an’ Peter
…. an nae doot, yit mair of that inextricable tribe!
Aye nae doot!
James Gordon an Abergeeldie loon – of sorts!!
Gamekeeper to David Gordon, Esquire of Abergeeldie.
Friend of genteelity maybe but
naiver to be mizzered in mainners:
John Gall grand-maister o’ the bothies,
brither tae the Girnoc.
Sundoon at his Tarbrax sheilin –
a saicret tryst oonder yonder roddin-tree.
Feckless wi’ a fleerish:
Twa gaugers biding their time,
hodden in-by the Tarbrex Tollbar:
Mr Tawse an’ Mr Rose, aiver-sae wullin in the law.
1824: Excisemen noo wi’ clout!
Aye Parliament had seen to that!
Dragoon guards hauled-in at the ready:
At the ready –oh loshtie aye!
Anither Gordon caa’d Peter, a Camlet loon,
rode auld ‘yella,’ sae many hans in hicht –
a strappin horse speeshal tae the Girnoc:
wi braith snortin’ ready,
yet his maister, Peter wis grippet wi’ doot.
‘to the number of nine or mair’
shared that nervishness –
but plied theirsels’ wi’ ther ain coontraband:
aye, fou an fleein’ tae loosen that fear!
Bit not oor Donald, fa he wis high-heedit,
an seemingly baithered by nout –
not aiven a fearsom rainstorm risen michty faist
wid brak his smugglers course!
Michty me he wis blin tae danger –
Through the spleeter of weet,
an jist ootside the Tollbar,
Tawse an’ Rose, officers aff the Excise,
wi’ their troop aff ‘Dragoon Guards’
withoot warning, made tae apprehend –
but in-turn were veeshusly attacked themsels.
Donald McPherson ‘threatened tae
‘blow ther brains oot if they laid violent hands upon them’
an to run auld Tawse-the-Excise
‘throo the body wi’ a pitch fork’
by noo Donald wis joined by the Gordons who a’ the-gaither
started to throw ‘large stanes’
at roon-shoodert an’ wrunkelt Rose.
Aye nae sympathy wis extended
tae the hunchie-bacit an’ fastidious Rose
All this wis witnessed by a young loon
James Gordon age 6 years
His faither Peter, picked him up
an in a flash young James escaped on ‘yella’
back to the Gordons – bit not tae the Girnoc
fa’ that wisnae safe.
Sorrafu’ an wi’ ther tails atween ther legs,
brocht them tae Kincardine o’ Neil –
in the stable Inn –
‘130 gallons of illicit distilled spirits’ wir stacked up high
an horses wer’ at the ready for a second pairty ….
ye can imagine can’t ye – loshtie aye:
for they ‘were at the time takin’ refreshment.’
Takin refreshment – michty aye.
fit a stramash!
ye stramash an’ styterin fou!
An noo The Excise stepped fore:
an all were caught din-raisin.
Shamed Donald McPherson tak flit tae Angus
he never returned tae the Girnoc.
Soon aifter the Girnoc emptied like a quaich!
Ye see ther wis no choice in changin times.
Fitprints aff shame,
an the end of a way of life. Aye.
Din-raisin wi’ Donald.