Saturday, 7 February 2009

Fae Cowie's Craig

Here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago called Fae Cowie's Craig. You'll do well to find it named on a map, but Cowie's Craig (pictured above) is the highest point up at the Lead Mines between Newtownards and Conlig and, when I was wee, my dad often used to take my brother and me up there as it's a fantastic vantage point. Fast forward 30+ years to a Saturday, when I looked out at it from my bedroom window and decided to take my dogs there for a walk. Later on, as I stood there, with the wind in my hair, I realised that many of the places I could see have played an important part in the history of the area - and that prompted me to put pen to paper.


Stud thonner, oan tha leevin roak
O Cowie’s Craig,- grun alow banefire bleck -
Pit me in mine o Ninetie-Echt,
Tha nicht lift rid fur simmer sodjers trysts.
Drumhirk an Gransha fairmers’ sins,
Cottown chiels, Green Boys o Greba, Hairts o Doon
Turn’t oot tae richt sim wrangs, an
Hunners deed, at Sanfiel an Ba’nahinch.

An, doon tha Lough, thon’s Chapel Isle,
Raxin owre, tha oul yins roàd, tae Nendrum.
Nearhaun bes Cummer, ticht wee toon,
Aye weel-kent fur her whuskey - an early
Prittas. Aa’s quate noo, nae millies
Doon at Andras’, whaur weel-aff fowk noo bide,
Titanic Tam’s mindit wi a Haa, an
“Yin mair shot” G’lespie stauns in stane.

Luk - thon’s Tha Dee, whaur oor yins cum
Fae Gallowa, fower hunnert yeir syne noo.
Fowkgates, thrift, kirk an tung the’ brocht,
An turn’t tha wastit lan tae mak it guid.
Here, Innismurray brocht tha guns
Bak in Fowerteen, tae fecht agin Hame Rule.
An thonner’s Bellycopeland mill,
Thrang nae mair, waas lichtit wi simmer sin.

Whitespots, bes whut we caa this lann
Whaur yince fowk hoked fur lead (the’ caa’d it “whites”)
Doon coul wat mirky pots, tae fill
Their childer’s wames whun prittas haed tha blicht.
Abune tha plantin, Helen’s Toor,
Whaur Carson’s men camp’t fornent Bleckwood’s place,
Bellyleidy, o Clan Hugh Boy,
Afore tha Somme left Ulster fowk hairt-scaudit.

Noo scrammlers swairm owre whunnie knowes,
Fowk oot a danner deaved wi thar bizzin
Yeir roon, forbye laired in slonks an gutters,
Breeks clabbert wi glar tha wuntèr days.
Aa’s quate noo, an twathie deer’s pit up wi
Snokin dugs, ir sim siclike, an
Far awa, tha soon o lambegs
Dunnerin owre Conlig hill at dayligan.

An, unner Scraba, Newtown bes,
Braw bowle whaur Ah wus bakit – thar’s nane her make.
Her Meer’s chain o gowden floors
Wrocht, that skeelie Granda Dickson growed. Here
Boul Colonel Paddy caa’d his hame,
An Lyttle spun his cantie wabs o
Ards an Tullynagardy Glen, whaur
Daft Eddie foon McFadden, by tha Forkins.

By Movilla’s green hill thonner
Bes tha last lang road A’ll tak,
Life’s travel’s irnae daen, but, noo,
Ma ticket no yet clip’t, A mak fur hame.
Sauf yince mair, A staun lukkin oot
Ma gavel windae, owre oul reuch fiels o
Yella-floor’t whuns, drochtit gress, an
Tummelt doon stane dykes, tae Cowie’s Craig.


  1. Great photo. Beautiful place. I love the contrast between the light on the hillside and the stormy sky.

  2. Thanks. I'm afraid I'm just a point and shoot photographer and the lighting was all down to Mother Nature.