Homeward Bound
Kersey Breeks, New Zealand
  • Memories of a passage home from Yarmouth (East Anglia) by a hired man in one of the sailboats of the Scottish herring fleet
  • engaged in the Autumn fishing there. The boat (a large zulu) belonged to the Buckie district, and the date was over ninety years ago.)
  • The fishin' at Yarmooth wis noo at an en',
  • B.F boats hid deen weel, plenty siller tae spen',
  • Fan the fleet arrives hame there'll be joy an' mirth,
  • An' weddin's alang the hale Moray Firth
  • A gale fae the nor' east, wi' baith hail an' sleet,
  • Hid tied up, win' bound, the hale Scottish fleet,
  • Blaw up fair win', an lat us be gone -
  • Oor decks, they are clear an' the hatches are on.
  • "Stan'in by", we heard the skipper say;
  • "Come awa", my lads, lat's get under way,"
  • So we set set up the foresail wi'thoot mair adee,
  • An' eagerly we pit oot tae the sea.
  • The cream o' the Scottish fleet set awa'
  • On their passage hame wi' a'thing braw;
  • There were boats fae ilka port i the north,
  • As weel as fae the Firth of Forth.
  • Wi' a fine fair win' fae the sou'-sou' west,
  • Tae try oot oor boats in a sailin' test;
  • The Banffshire zulus, neen ower slow,
  • Are also gyaun tae mak' a show.
  • Oor boat wis ane John McIntosh made,
  • In his yaird in the Sloch her keel wis laid;
  • An' from east tae wast along the coast
  • A finer craft nae man could boast.
  • Logie Brithers supplied her sails an gear -
  • A firm weel-kent for mony a year;
  • Their ropes an' sails were o' the best,
  • An' in a breeze aye stood the test.
  • Oor foresail set wi' peak sae high,
  • The yaird seemed tae stab against the sky;
  • An' wi' a strong breeze in oor favour,
  • Oor boat seen showed her best behaviour.
  • Some fifie skippers made the pace,
  • An' tried tae beat us in the race;
  • Fan some fast zulus gained the lead,
  • An' forged aheid at a ten knot speed.
  • On the passage hame I tried my best,
  • O' the lichts tae mak' a memory test;
  • So gin ye kindly pey attention,
  • The names o' some o' them I'll mention.
  • We sicht the `Dudgeon', then the `Spurn',
  • `Flamborough Heid' comes next in turn;
  • `Filey Briggs' then heaves in sight,
  • An' Scarborough lichthoose in the bicht.
  • `Whitby High' will neist appear,
  • So a coorse for the `Coquet' then we steer;
  • An' wi' this fair win' we hope tae find,
  • The `Coquet' will seen be left behind.
  • We neist pass the `Longstone' known by name,
  • On the Farne Isles o' Grace Darling fame;
  • The strong sou'-wast win' still prevails,
  • An' we're carrying on wi' unreefed sails.
  • `St Abbs' will seen appear in view-
  • A cheerful sicht for a north-bound crew;
  • We are nearing hame fan we sicht the `May',
  • Sen'in' oot its fower-flash, pooerful ray.
  • The `Bell Rock' neist shows up abeam,
  • An' `Sturdy Ness' is plainly seen;
  • `Todd Heid' appears on oor port boo,
  • An' the `Girdle Ness' is looked for noo.
  • The fair win' hauds on oor way,
  • At dawn we sail past `Cruden Bay';
  • The `Buchan Ness' in daylicht seen,
  • Is bearin' wast on oor port beam.
  • Fae `Rattray Heid' we keep weel clear,
  • A dangerous place this time o' year;
  • We pass `Kinnaird', `Troup Heid' in sicht-
  • Oor hame port we shid mak' the nicht.
  • Same aifterneen safe hame we got,
  • First o' the fleet tae be on the spot;
  • A splendid passage, I maun say-
  • Oor best for lang an' mony a day.
  • Jist fower days since we left oor berth
  • At Yarmooth for the Moray Firth;
  • Oor zulu boat the "Dawn O' Day",
  • His surely shown the fleet the way.
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