I have been sent a poem written by Grant McArthur, who was born in Comrie in 1914 to a local grocer and his wife. He lived there until joining the army in the early 1930’s. His mother & father continued to live here until they died back in the 1960’s and one of his brothers returned to Comrie after retiring from teaching.
Some of you may remember him or his family.
A Highland River
By Grant McArthur (1914-1990)
Through far beyond Spout Rolla seek its source
It’s here we first must feel its mystery
As down the Glen of Ledneck’s narrow course
This devious giant weaves out its history.
Changing from furious foam o’er fearsome ridge
As from the Spout it leaps with awesome rush
To winding calm and clear by Shaky Bridge
Flowing so smooth and quiet in evenings hush.
Its placid course is short and soon it plunges
In gullies short and swift with deafening roar
With awful speed it drops, it swirls, it lunges
Though gaps that man have leapt in ancient lore.
From high in Malville’s hill we spy the cauldron
Where Devils of old their evil schemes unfold
In darkness far below poor souls they fall on
And hold them there in Thrall for years untold.
The rushing torrent leaps from rock and stone
From caverns dark the thunder echoes back
Cleft by a mindless power and time alone
Far in the depts it carves its eerie track.
By day the sun streaks through the forest show
A heritage of nature’s splendor spread
But darkness chills its bounteous overflow
And leaves a cauldron fraught for all with dread.
Upon Ben Chonzie winter snow still sleeps
Soft in the warmth of Springs advancing tides
From Winters sluggish low the river leaps
‘Til at full spate in high flung flood it rides.
Full on the Earn which bars its path below
It flings its challenge with an onslaught bold
Dealing the placid Earn a mighty blow
Damming it back to flood the Glebe of Old.
Spout Rolla is now the site of a dam built to help the water supply of the surrounding district and consequently the river does not have the power it once had.
The Shaky Bridge we used to stand on and make it sway from side to side, but I expect it has been labeled ‘unsafe’ by now or strengthened so the swing is no more.
Despite warnings we used to climb down into the cauldron as boys will do.
In Ben Chonzie, the ‘C’ is silent.
I think the last time the Earn was driven back by the Lednock to flood the Glebe was about 1927/28.
The Glebe was the name land held by the Church for the use of the Minister in the days when he had to supplement his income by growing a few crops. It was by the time of the last flood into a Council Housing estate.