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ODES and AIRES associated with the club and surrounding district
The Odes & Aires of the area
Boleskine Shinty Club March (click on photo to play tune)
The Boleskine Shinty Club March was composed by Pipe Major Hugh Fraser of the Royal Scots from Foyers in mid nineteen Fifties. Hugh originally a native of Kingussie, was the father of Hugh Fraser, the first Boleskine captain to lift a trophy, see Boleskine Juveniles 1962.
Foyers Pipe Band were to the fore prior to the First World War, as the picture indicated they did not have any uniforms. They used to march from the Foyers Hotel along to Boleskine house, this photo was taken somewhere along that way . There is a newspaper report in Jan 1912, of the pipe band under the conductorship of Pipe Major Hugh Gillies, playing the Foyers Shinty Club to the field at Dalcrag, for their first round match of the Hussy Cup against Stratherrick. During the course of the game they played music, which was greatly appreciated by the spectators.
Back L to R unknown, Bob Macdonald( Birchfield), Dunc MacDonald (Birch), Ewin Tucker, unknown, Angie Kennedy, unknown, Mackintosh (Culharn)
Front L to R Jackie Leddingham, Willie Cameron (Bonus) unknown, Willie Ross
It is thought that Alex Mackenzie (Cabers) & Dunc Macdonald (Slash) who were both piper are in the photo , if anyone can identify them or any more people in the photo send an E Mail
Bards and Poets of the area
The District has had several noted bards and poets over the years, in Stratherrick the most noted Gaelic bard was Angus Cameron (Aonghas Ban) who lived at Seanval (Oldtown), whilst his Strathnairn counterpart was William Mackenzie "Leys Baird" though born in Culduthel spent a large part of his life in Dunlichity eventually being schoolmaster at Leys. Story has it, that when Angus Cameron had to face a criminal charge against him at the Barony court at Stratherrick , he composed a poem flattering the presiding judge and so walked out a free man . Some of both Angus and William's poem's are recorded in the Gaelic transactions of Inverness .
A poet of more modern times was the Hill Shepherd, one of his poems is dedicated to Hugh Goldie, blacksmith at Bunchegovie featured in Stratherrick 1909 heroes index .
The Deserted Smithy by the Hill Shepherd
I never cross the Gourag now and climb the brae beyond,
without a sense of sadness now for the smith is not around,
His cottage sheltered by the trees is still snug and trim,
But the Smithy door is fastened, and I miss the sight of him.
I miss his friendly greeting as his blue eyes scan the sky
"It's clear on Ben-a -vrachie and a day for smallish fly
A Palmer on your dropper perhaps a zulu on the bob,
A Bloody Butcher for the tail and that should do the job."
And with a smiling " Well ! tight Lines ! " he'd briskly turn away ,
And the music from his anvil would cheer me on my way.
Of an evening we'd foregather on the bridge above the burn,
To The Gourag's murmuring 'neath us , we'd smoke and spin a yarn,
And often drop the mantle of the many years between,
When we were drilled and jingled spurs as Soldiers of the Queen.
We'd exchange our angling stories -and some were rather tall,
And as the gloaming deepened tales of fairies we'd recall,
For despite the trials and stresses which life's journey can impart,
We had common ground to tread on, in that we were young at heart.
But--"Boot and Saddle" sounded, and the Smith rode on before,
And I miss his kindly presence when I pass the Smithy door.
Fairyburn By the Hill Shepherd
When on my way through Fairyburn I met a little maid,
(a lonely road where silver birch cling fast to lofty craig),
Her jet black curls were tousled her pinafore was torn .
Red - wealed her sunburnt arm's and legs, by multidentate thorn
of tangled sweetbriar thickets growing deep within the dell
where runs a tiny wimpling burn on whose banks elfins dwell
Tight held on slender hand she bore a shining brimful pail
of glistening clean picked brambles - and the berries told a tale ,
that hours of patient industry instead of carefree play,
had first choice with the little maid this sunny Autumn day
I stopped - and leaning on my crook spoke to the tired wee lass
"That's easily the finest crop I've seen since Michaelmas,
Have you been picking all alone? " Here soft brown eyes sought mine.
" Oh ! Yes! "she answered quietly . " And please ,sir . What's the time? "
"It's very near to five o' clock ." I told the little maid .
"Now tell me. Brambling here alone, did you not feel afraid ? "
She smiled ."Afraid In Fairyburn " Why ! There is naught to fear ,
There's always lots of company. there's birds -and whiles, roedeer."
. . . . . . . .
Reproved by childish innocence , I pondered on my way,
A Lesson learned that's simple faith is staff for every day
Life's troubles meet as Fairyburn and never be afraid,
There's ever kindly company - as found the little maid .
||Duncan "Birch" MacDonald captain of the 1912-13 Foyers Shinty Club, Strathdearn Cup winning team as well as being a fine piper was a local poet of note, his poems sometimes nostalgic often had a satirical theme, we include a couple of his odes.|
Burial of Foyers Shinty Club
I strolled along the country road,
and viewed the scenery so gay,
I gazed enraptured on the scene,
As I sauntered up the bungalow brae.
Soon my thoughts were turned aside,
From all the beauty I could see,
For on the road not far away,
A funeral was approaching me.
I stood aside and bared my head,
In honour of the passing dead,
But when the sacred coach drew nigh,
No human form could I espy.
Alias all huddled in a heap,
All battle scared with many a chip,
Saw twisted clubs without a shroud,
Behind them walked the mourning crowd.
I turned around, retraced my steps,
My happy thoughts were now reversed,
It smote my heart with heavy grief,
To see the Foyers Club in a hearse.
And when we reached the hallowed ground,
Where young and old began to pray,
A voice inside the sacred coach,
In awesome tones to me did say.
Good old "Hasbeens" we know you yet,
And we will never leave you so,
Although our bodies they entomb,
They cannot put our souls below.
Good old "Hasbeens"if you could last,
This sorry fate was never ours,
You kept us swinging on the field,
You never let us nourish flowers.
In Victory after Victory,
Hoe the "Hasbeens" did us wield,
Before the present youngsters grew,
When their sires were on the field.
How with the "Hasbeens" we have fought,
And conquered foes so fierce and stern,
How we the Hussy cup brought back,
And wrenched another from Strathdearn
That day you knew no wintergreen,
or embrocation on your skin,
A week old whisker on your chin was more in your line,
Than flowing locks coiled round your scalps in brilliatine.
No more we'll swing upon the field,
With vigour and Perfection,
For the shinty spirit passed away,
with no signs of resurrection.
And when the day of Union comes,
We'll meet you in the evergreens,
and think upon the happy days,
When we were "Nows" and not "Hasbeens"
The Foyers Fishermen (to the air The Ross-shire Rifles)
ye the Foyers Fishers,
ye them going away,
ye the Foyers fishers,
out across the bay
of them go to the Camus,
of them to Primrose Bay,
go to quench their thirst,
they start their fishing day.
caught some monstrous salmon
for hours and broke the line,
the only fish they ever lost,
the fish they had at breakfast time.
fishermen are clever fellows,
can make dead salmon grow,
sounds just like a fairytale,
this is how I came to know.
of them have seven pounders,
they land upon the shore,
before the club at night is closed,
seven grow to twenty four.
then they keep on growing,
as if they were alive,
the grog is fully brewing,
The twenty grow to thirty five.
tops make them grow by ounces,
make them grow by pounds,
them up inside the fishers,
their weights gets out of bounds.
gets the thirty fivers,
gets them big and small,
gets the forty pounders,
and Stewart get sweet dash all.
can tell some thrilling tales,
how they fought the raging seas,
they netted forty pounders,
hard against the breeze.
have many fearful stories,
adventures to relate,
than the Battle cruiser,
on the River Plate.
about the ablemen,
make up the fishing crew?,
never bounce about their fish,
add an honest pound or two.
most of us non expert fishers,
yet to catch a fish or two,
will over add the poundage,
am guilty, so are you.
||Undoubtedly the best traditional poet of more recent times was Jock Mackay. Jock was a great supporter and follower of the local shinty teams, though he did play for the Macs against the Crops in Leddingham cup games, I don't think he actually played for the team in competitive games against other clubs. Jocks other great sporting passion was fishing and in February 1980 managed to take from Loch Ness, a monster fish (Salmon) of thirty three pounds, whilst fishing alone as his companion did not think that the days fishing would bear any fruit. The three poems below are from Jock's pen, The Anglers Farewell was his own epitaph .|
T'was in the club one winter’s evening
There we quaffed the foaming beer
When suddenly a pal appearing
Told us tidings of good cheer
Come, said he, through stormy weather
To this place upon the height
And happy we will be together
Dancing we are going tonight
Then up spoke one of our number
Come, said he, let us prepare
And long this night you shall remember
If to follow me you dare
So we sat down round a table
Calling for another round
The motion passed that we were able
Soon we’d be Stratherrick bound
With many a beaker of the foaming
Did we drink the night’s wild health
And starting forth in the gloaming
What cared we for the miser’s wealth
For this night we’d long remember
But what of him who ne’er recalls
When life's fire is but an ember
Cheerie nights and cheerie pal's
But I’m from my tale digressing
As we started on the road
Where at speed we were progressing
Burdened with a heavy load
Yes, a load of noisy bottles
Had we with us one and all
Nectar for our thirsty throttles
Fuel for the coming Ball.
As we neared our destination
Strains of music met our ear
Where we wondered in creation
Can we plonk our bottles here
On our left MacMillan’s garden
Soon does meet our wandering eye
And well we know that us he’ll pardon
If here we let our bottles lie
Then on through the open doorway
Where we join the happy band
Well know what one and all say
Here they come and all well canned.
But caring not for idle chatter
We made merry in the hall
And on many toes we clatter
As we danced them one and all
But I will spare you sordid details
Wild uncouth perhaps they were
And as the alcoholic fire pales
Would that I was never there.
But we gathered e’er we parted
To perform the night’s wild rites
And as the last good drink departed
We spoke up as on other nights
“In this world of tears and laughter
We have learnt one piece of lore:
We’d rather have a morning after
Than never have a night before
Bonnie Loch Ness Shore
An early blackbird blithely sings
Its sweet and bright refrain
A distant curlew’s echo brings
The hint of promised rain
Across Dundeardail rocky steep
The morning sunbeams pour
See Foyers awaken from her sleep
By bonnie Loch Ness shore
Each mossy bank is splashed with gold
Where bright-eyed primrose grow
A million bursting buds unfold
As soft spring breezes blow
Above the Uchdach’s feathered crest
Two hunting buzzards soar
Oh, Foyers by beauty truly blessed
On bonnie Loch Ness shore
I oft in boyhood summer strolled
By Fechlin’s wooded side
And listened while the thrush extolled
The virtues of his bride
The speckled trout, I often fished
Where sparkling waters pour
Nor for another land, I wished
By bonnie Loch Ness shore
Beneath the autumn’s mellow moon
In scented Dalreach’s shade
The shadowed path was aye a boon
To every courting blade
A loving arm, a slender waist,
What man might wish for more
Life’s nectar from sweet lips to taste
By bonnie Loch Ness shore
Now winter snows have hid each scar
Upon the Meall’s high crest
And arrowed to the southern star
The winged geese have pressed
No old friends left to greet me there
In bleak and cold Glen Mhor
Where empty windows, sightless stare
O’er lonely Loch Ness shore.
The Anglers Farewell
With the pipers sound,
You'll wrap me round,
And my ash to the wildflowers gave,
No need for a tear,
Or a marker here,
To line out an old pal's grave.
It's farewell my friends,
Here nature tends,
The garden in which I lie,
And the wild bird sings,
While the green grass springs,
As the browsing deer pass by.
If you've time to bide,
just sit by my side,
partake of the golden dram,
And talk of the days,
And amusing affrays,
When youth was a mellow dwam.
so drum up there,
There's wood to spare,
And a sandwich in the poke,
And tell of the lore,
Of my Loch Ness shore,
In the tang of the drifting smoke.
Remember old times,
And the wee bit rhymes,
Let old father time sneak bye,
Though the healer of grief,
he's a been a thief,
And your yarn is so good forby .
Still the sun declines ,
So run out the lines,
You're home on a fishing shore,
And ere twilight fails,
You'll have silver scales,
To brighten our old pub floor.
The following poem by a writer who wishes to remain anonymous, laments the end of the Foyers Social Club ( formally the British Aluminium Social Club) in 1991. Some say its closure marked the end of Foyers as a vibrant community .
The Foyers Club
You brought me from the depths of Hell,
My soul you saved, you served me well,
I won't forget the times we shared,
I know you felt my deep despair.
There's many nights I can recall,
Those happy times within your walls,
The joys we shared (the sorrows too),
You kept me strong and pulled me through.
I know at times we merely `used' you,
We even cursed you and abused you,
We didn't mean to seal your fate,
We miss you now that its too late.
We couldn't save you though we tried,
We fought for you and tears we cried,
We promised that we'd rally round,
I'm sorry that we let you down.
With rage and blame we saw you go,
With bitter words, we sunk so low,
We dug your grave - laid you to rest,
Perhaps it turned out for the best?
And though some things are meant to be,
A part of you lives on in me,
I won't decry you - never would,
I won't forget you - never could.
|The following poem comes from the pen of Ian MacNaughton, a Foyers man now back staying in Inverness after working abroad and England for a few years. Ian here reminisces of old schooldays at Foyers, I am sure his contemporaries will empathize with Ian's observations. We have had a couple of requests to include Ian in the Odes & Airs page and were pleased to oblige.|
FOYERS JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL (in the 50’s)
High above the church tower stands a domicile, that fills my heart with pride,
Where once so many children’s voices filled the highland fresh spring air,
Where the play-ground was steeply angled, and games were twenty two a side,
Where we learned our multiplication tables, aye pleased am I, that I was there.
Children came from Glenlia abiding the factory houses sparse and damp,
Some walked from Inverfarigaig, or luckily,- got a hurl in Ken Ross’s van,
Some from up the pass at Torduncan, where stood a lonesome Forestry camp,
Yes it surely was dear old Foyers School, that turned a country boy into a man.
There was Mrs Fraser from Drumtemple , she educated the whole of Primary one,
Stern Mrs Brown from Park Terrace, whole two tongued belt was feared by most,
In the final room “Pop” MacPhee, headmaster who liked his garden well done,
And pupils fulfilled chopping kindler duties, so he could make his morning toast.
Surrounding pine woods and rhoddies, were the adventure areas we played,
At the short and long intervals, as cowboys and Indians at war’s aggression,
Mrs Brown at the classroom door belt awaiting, if ever any time we strayed,
And missed Pop’s hand bell ringing, recalling us to another educating lesson.
Canteen dinners were for most, loving cooked by the Missus MacLeod and Munro,
Soups, roast beef and veg, dumplings round, so full of vitamins of the best.
Fish every Friday, with second helpings aplenty of that dreaded custard and sago,
I know well from whence stemmed such verdure, that sprouted upon my chest.
No girl was fashion conscious, dark elasticised knickers and ankle length in gown,
For the boy’s gym shoes and baseball boots, though tackets clad the farm lad’s feet,
Each year we graced the Factory field, as the “Strathucs” would come winding down,
All atop kind Alister Chisholm’s lorry, at sports their intention, “Foyerucs” to soundly beat.
There were games for everyone, and the best players always picked the sides,
For Shinty or for football, I was often last in that so unheralded chosen line,
In Spring,” Knifie” and Marbles, in winter snow we would polish up the slides,
“Kick the can” and Rounders in Summer days -, oh these cherished days of auld land syne!
There were the fondest of all nicknames for everyone, that never ever will be defaced,
Joober, Toots, Smudger, Gars, Dev and Wishaw, and many others by the score,
Future fine Shinty and football stars, that school slope, their paraded presence graced,
I ‘m so grateful that I was there, holding friends still from plus fifty years and more.
If anyone knows of any other odes by local poets that would merit inclusion here, please send an E Mail and submission will come under consideration . It is the intention of the family of the late Jock Mackay, to gather all his poems together, with a view to publishing them in a book in the future. So anyone has copies of any poem's of Jock's, could they send an E Mail and we will forward the details to Jock's family, who will get in contact with you .
Copyright © 2004 AJC all rights reserved