The Captain of Wanderwrang

The Keir roundabout on the A9, a few miles south of Dunblane, will be familiar to many travelling North. In slowing for the roundabout the eye is drawn to a large telecom mast disguised as an artificial tree. I once wrote a poem about it for my children:

The Three Mustache Tree

At the head of Keir it sits
facing clockwork gyrations
of cars: numbers untold.

It beams a hidden sentinel:
our custodian of mans’
faceless technology.

It stands tall as a cavalry officer saluting;
or as absurd as an upside-down clown on parade.
Or Perhaps a classic screen Idol:
with everyday growth trimmed, waxed, and svelte.

Its mustached face has ups, downs and in-betweens:
hiding a third of no soul.

It has no chlorophyll.
Yet it is strangely alive in the green
and beckons Dunblane home to an odd reassurance.

It is only in the last few days that I noticed on an old map that the Mast is sited on the farm of Wanderwrang (we all have time on our hands in these dark days of the Coronavirus pandemic). Sadly, I have not been able to establish the origins of this wonderful name. I say this as I love wandering, and indeed it’s word-shadow, wondering. I do not consider that either could ever be ‘wrang‘!

I may not have been able to establish the etymology of Wanderwrang but I have found two newspaper articles that, nearly a century apart, relate to Wanderwrang. The first is from a roup held in May 1858, where in addition to the Wright’s tools ‘worthy of the attention of artizan’s’, a ‘lot of books’ were sold alongside ‘two guns and a sword’!

Captain A.G. Bayne was born at Wanderwrang and became a Master Mariner. His 1943 obituary reveals his wonderful wanderjahr.

So next time you travel North on the A9, whilst navigating the Keir roundabout, think of the Captain, the sword, the svelte mustache and – whilst carefully keeping your eye on the road – let your mind both wander and wonder!

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