Document 593

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 12

Author(s): Hamish MacDonald

Copyright holder(s): Hamish MacDonald, Dr James Robertson: Signed on behalf of Itchy Coo, a partnership between Black & White Publishing and Dub Busters.



Oan the Sunday Jimmie Deans turnt up at hauf five in the mornin an we hud a big scran-up - bacon, eggs, soasij, tattie-scones, black puddin - the works. Spencer an ees Da came ower fur some chow an aw, an Mr Gobbs hud ees big firritin bag slung ower ees shooder, an auld canvas gadget wae GPO stamped oan it, wae a special zipped poackit tae keep Larsson an Sutton in. Ee stuck some squerr-slice soasij in tae keep the hunger aff thum, so's they widnae be tempted tae eat too much rabbit wanst they wur doon the burras. The wee man seemed in better feckle awthegither an ee pulled oot a kerry-bag wae somehin in it an goes:

"Happy Birthday, Gilbert."

Ah opened the kerry-bag an Ah couldnae believe it. A camera! A Canon an aw, a pure minter! Ah goes:

"Spencer. How did ye manage that?"

Ee goes:

"Ah thote ye'd a twigged bi noo man. Ah've been savin up fur ages, that's how Ah've no been goin oot. It's a cracker man in't it? Ah waitit until a good yin came up in The Snips in the Evenin Times. Ah hud tae jump the subway man, awey ower tae somedae's hoose in Cessnock tae get it. Ah've even pit a fillum in it fur the day."

Ah wis flabbergastit. Aw this time the wee man hud been actin the hermit, ee'd been savin up fur ma burthday, an ee'd bought us this crack'n camera!

Da hud oor haversack aw ready frae the night afore, wae wur cheese-chits an stove an pot packed inside, an we poalished aff wur breakfast anen set aff. We gote intae Jimmie Deans's van, an ee drove aff through the Drum an up taewards the Peel Glen. As Drumchapel wis goin past, me an Spencer wur tellin evrubdy aboot yon night we set oot tae catch the icey an endit up in Mullguy. We mindit oan yon auld weird set a gates in the middle a naewher, awey ayont the Drum, an how we hud decidit that they wur "The Girnin Gates". But Mr Gobbs goes:

"Yez ur talkin oot the tap ae yer heids. Ah mind a the Girnin Gates, ma Da used tae take us tae see thum when Ah wis a wee boay. They wur demolished aboot thurty-odd years ago."

Anen Ah goes:

"Whit d'ye mean Mr Gobbs? Me n Spencer didnae even know ther wis such a hing as the real Girnin Gates. It wis jist somehin we made up when we came tae these auld gates wae weird heids carved oan thum, oot in the middle a naewher."

An Mr Gobbs goes:

"Yez ur talkin pure mince. Wher wis this?"

An we baith goes:

"Pendicle Road."

An ee goes:

"Pendicle Road yer chuff! Ther's never been a set a gates oan the Pendicle Road in ma time. Ah'll tell yez wan hing but. Ther only ever wis wan set a Girnin Gates, an 'at wis at the auld entrance a Garscadden Hoose, an they demolished hit years ago. An Ah'll tell yez another hing. Garscadden Hoose wisnae naewher near nae Pendicle Road."

But Spencer goes:

"We seen thum Da. We did. We seen a set a Girnin Gates man."

An Mr Gobbs went:

"Aye well in that case Ah hink yez must huv been IN The Girnin Gates, fur that's the name ae a pub doon in Hecla Squerr."

An Da goes:

"Heh that's right. The Girnin Gates. Did that no used tae be cried the Hecla Bar?"

Mr Gobbs noddit an Da says:

"Heh, dae yez know how come it wis cried the Hecla? It wis cause the letters stood fur the "Hazy-Eyes and Charred Lung Association" - the HECLA."

That wis it, the subject wis chynged an we said nae merr aboot the Girnin Gates. Ther wis nae convincin Mr Gobbs that we'd seen somehin in the fog up oan the Pendicle Road, a set a gates wae gargoyles. Ee let Larsson an Sutton oot fur a breath a air an gied us a shoat a thum. Larsson hud a gowden sheen tae um, Sutton wis grey. They wur bonnie lookin beasties but when Ah caught a whiff a thum Ah remarked tae Mr Gobbs that they wur ferr mingin. Mr Gobbs goes:

"Ye'll no mind mingin so much when ye're tuckin intae a rabbit stew. Err Larsson an Sutton. The best perr a strikers in Europe. Wu'll get a couple a bunnies the day aw right."

Spencer made a stupit joke an we aw shook wur heids but sniggered aw the same, ee goes:

"Heh, Da. Know how come yer firrits are named efier Celtic players?"


"So's ye kin go aboot singin 'Firrits A Grand Old Team To Play For'."

"Aw Spencer! Never min' ma mingin firrits. Your jokes are merr mingin than the Glesga sewers!"

Jimmie's van left the Peel Glen an headit through the Bluebell Wids an ower Windyhill, anen turned oantae the Stockiemuir Road at Baljaffray Croass. The country opened oot a bit an we could see Dumgoyne mountain oan the Campsie Fells. We went past a gowf course an ther wis a loch doon in the distance cried Craigallian, wher Mr Gobbs hud gote nabbed poachin when ee wis a boay an taken tae coort. Jist as we wur approachin the Allander Brig, a Robin Reliant roondit the bend comin taewards us an Da went:

"Heh, did ye see that? That caur went roon that coarner oan three wheels!"

We passed the Haufwey Inn an the Queen's View anen Jimmie drapped us an drove aff. Ee'd drapped us wher ther wis a wee well on the other side a the dyke, so's we could huv a brew.

We fun a bank wae some burras above a wee burn, an Mr Gobbs telt us tae look fur fresh scrapes ur rabbit keech. Thur wis plenty, an efter aboot an oor we hud five bunnies in the bag. We moved oan an fun another set a burras, an gote another two. Mr Gobbs decidit that wid dae fur noo, anen we did a great hing.

We aw decidit we wid go oan this great long hike acroass the O'Kilpatrick Hills, an stoap aff an fish whenever we came tae a loch. We walked awey up a heather brae that rose fur miles an miles, an when we gote tae the tap Da pintit an shoutit:

"Heh, lookit that!"

We follaed the direction a ees finger. Doon ablow us the hills swept away in lang rollin summits crowned wae firs, anen stoaped wher the mountains rose up taewards the clouds. Ther wis a big loch wae widded islands stretchin faur awey atween the mountains, an Da goes:

"Ther it is. The Bonnie Bonnie Banks a Loch Lomond."

We stoaped tae get wur breath back frae the climb an looked doon at the Bonnie Banks. Ah took the new camera oot an snapped a few photies, tryin different lens settins, anen we traipsed aff again, walkin fur miles an miles ower a muir. Mairead goes:

"Ah'm knackert. How faur is it tae that next loch Mister Gee?"

"No faur hen. Wur gaun tae the Baker's Loch an it cannae be nae merr nur hauf a mile."

An we goes:

"Ur we gonnae get somehin tae eat soon? Wur aw starvin."

Mr Gobbs says:

"A'course yez ur. D'ye no know how come it's cried the Baker's Loch? It's cause ther's a baker's shoap ther an wu'll get some rolls an pies an that."

Mairead goes:

"Naw ther's no Mr Gee - you're totally windin us up!"

But Mr Gobbs wae the straightest face in the wurld goes:

"Aye ther is. Ah'm tellin ye. It's a baker's shoap beside a loch, it's famous aw ower Scotlan."

"Whit's it cawed then?"

"Huv ye never heard ae it? It's cawed the Lochside Bakers. Dae they no teach yous nuhin et schuil?"

Ee shook ees heid in disgust et wur ignorance. We walked up a burn that came tae a wee gorge, the bank risin higher, an us wae it, anen Da an Mr Gobbs led us doon a narra path through the trees, anen atween big rid fallen boulders. We dreeped doon a bank tae the watter's edge. Ye could hear hissin, an we saw a curtain a watter fawin ower a cliff, an ther wis a cave in ahint the waterfaw. Ye could jouk in unner it an look oot through the falls. The haill five ae us could fit in the cave, doon oan wur hunkers withoot gettin wet. Ah gote the camera oot an took some photies through the watter, anen Ah went ootside ae the faws an took some photies a evrubdy ahint the watter.

We climbed oot the gorge then follaed the burn tae wher it fell frae the loch, ower a spill oan a dam. It looked lik a right lonely loch, stretchin away intae the hills. Ah goes:

"You're a total wind-up merchant Mr Gobbs. Baker's shoap ma erse!"

But ee still looked dead serious, an goes:

"Right then smart-chops, tell mi, whit's that white buildin away doon oan the shore doon ther? Eh? Tell mi that."

Right enough! Ther wis a buildin. An a wee road leadin tae it tae. Me an Spencer an Mairead cherged oan, an Da an Mr Gobbs picked up the pace ahint us. As we gote tae the white buildin we could see ther wis a sign:

"Clydebank & District Water Supply
Baker's Loch Pumphouse"


Him an Da wur huvin a laugh. We fun a spot oan the bank an lit the paraffin stove an pumpt it up till it wis roarin flames, an pit a big pot oan fur a brew. Mr Gobbs set up some rods an we hud a spin wae a Toby, an him an Da wheeched oot the worm an hud a blether. Spencer gote a take, reelin in ees Toby, an ye could see the end o the rod dippin ower, but ee didnae hook it.

"Heh man that felt lik a good yin man!"

Ee stood oan the same spot an wheeched the Toby oot again an again but ther wis nae joy, unless ye wur the fish.

We let Larsson an Sutton oot fur a breather an gied thum some scran, anen Da gote a skelp oan the worm - the rod hud jurked an the line went slack. Ee hunkered ower it, haudin the rod an the reel, waitit fur aboot a minute anen the fish came back. The line startit runnin oot an ee gied the rod a welly an 'at wis it. Next ee wis haulin in a good yin, a big splash aff it, anen we heard Spencer shoutin oot he hud wan an aw. When the troot wur landit an lyin silver an speckult oan the bank Da said:

"Ther ye are. As fine a perr a broonies as ye'll ever see."

Sittin oan the bank huvin wur tea oot a tin cups Spencer goes:

"Heh. How come this is cawed the Baker's Loch anywey man?"

But ees Da goes:

"How wid Ah know?"

But ma Da goes:

"It's cause they originally built this dam tae supply watter tae the big flooer mills doon in Partick, hunners a years ago, an ye cannae huv nae bakers withoot flooer. Efter that it wis used as a supply fur the auld locomotive works at Springburn."

Mairead goes:

"How did you know that Daddy?"

An Da goes:

"Ah read aboot it in the Mitchell Library up the toon. Ye can learn anyhin aboot anyhin in ther."

An Mr Gobbs goes:

"That's good that Erchie. The flooer mills eh? Ah didnae know that masel."

An Mairead goes:

"Aye that's right Mr Gee. You thought it wis a'cause ther wis a baker's shoap here din't ye?"

An Mr Gee stood up an looked aboot an goes:

"Aye. How? Is ther no?"

An we aw hud a laugh.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 12. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 17 June 2024, from

MLA Style:

"The Girnin Gates - Chapter 12." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 17 June 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Girnin Gates - Chapter 12," accessed 17 June 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 593

The Girnin Gates - Chapter 12


Text audience

Teenagers (13-17)
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2003
Word count 2071

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Itchy Coo
Publication year 2003
Place of publication Edinburgh
ISBN/ISSN 1 902927 72 9
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in Extract from The Girnin Gates, contained in "Double Heider//: Twa Novellas in Scots"
Editor Authors: Hamish MacDonald and Sheena Blackhall
Page numbers 50-56

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction


Author details

Author id 725
Forenames Hamish
Surname MacDonald
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Writer
Place of birth Helensburgh
Region of birth Dunbarton
Birthplace CSD dialect area Dnbt
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkpatrick Durham, near Castle Douglas
Region of residence Kirkcudbright
Residence CSD dialect area Kcb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Various industrial occupations
Father's place of birth HM Prison, Barlinnie, Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Various, inc. schoolteacher
Mother's place of birth Renfrew
Mother's region of birth Renfrew
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic No No No Yes A little understanding
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances