Dipper: 07 - Furst Bluid
Author(s): Dr James A Begg
Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg
We hadnae been lang at this poachin gemm - in fact, it wis oor furst nicht oot efter the big yins, the nettin gangs, havin cut oor teeth on the licht-an-cleek merchants up the burns last back-en.
No kennin whaur the lads were, an sweirt tae whustle for fear o frichtin aff ony poachers, I wis gled whan the gliff o a torch showed twice frae the watterside, or I wad hae gaen richt by them. I wis a wee bit pit oot, mind ye, for I thocht I wis daen that weel, creepin alang unseen, withoot a soun, like Hiawatha, wan aa the time, frae doun ablow, I wis as conspeecuous as a tribe of Apaches on the tap o a knowe!
An gaun doun tae jyne the lads, whit wi faain ower tree ruits, an getting fanklt an scartit wi brammle-busses, I wis aboot as quait as a Centurion tank!
‘Hou are things?' I whuspert.
‘It wis aa quait till you came!' replied Ian, wi juist a wee hint o sarcasm.
‘Whaur’s the rest o the lads?' I speirt, a bit apprehensive, for in the mirk I cuid only mak oot Ian, an Mr. Johnston wha rentit the fishins frae the Big Hoose, an him no a byllie.
‘Aw, there's juist the three o us,' said Ian, ‘Ah phoned Eck an tellt him tae meet us at the road-en, but he hasnae turnt up.’
I hope nae poachers turn up aither, I thocht tae mysel, for we're gey thin on the grun tae deal wi mair nor yin!
Wi that we settlt ahint an auld aik-tree, as comfortable as we cuid be in a bed o nettles, tae wait on events. Aa the villages on the river had at least fower or five nettin gangs apiece, an the hale watter had been nettit frae tap tae fuit for years wi no a body liftin a haun tae stop them. Whan the river wis in guid order, there wis even a race tae see whae cuid get tae the best puils furst - an nou an again some split heids! Sae even withoot a tip-aff there wis a guid chance o somebody comin on the Bank Weil, for it wis a weel-kent puil, an close tae the village. Forbye, it wis the Glesca Fair, an them that wad be workin wad be aff, an them oot o wark wad be wantin beer-money onywey!
It wis a saft, still July nicht, an wad hae been lichter had it no been for laich cluds maskin the last o the gloamin. The watter wis rinnin aff efter a wee spate an we cuid hear the odd splash o a seatroot in the neck o the puil – a grand nicht for the poachin!
My watch had juist showed hauf-eleiven whan Ian hissed – ‘There’s somebody comin across the field!'
I strained my een, peerin ower the watter intae the holm forenent us, that had juist been crappt o hey twa-three days syne. Shuir eneuch, staunin oot agin the siller-grey o the stibble field wis a wee bleck speck, gettin bigger an bigger as it moved forrit tae the weil.
He wis nae mair nor thirty yairds frae us as we watched him rin smertly frae fuit tae tap o the puil an then disappear ahint some busses.
‘That’s juist the luik-oot,' I croakt tae Ian, my mooth dry wi excitement an my hert gaen ten tae the dizzen. Shuir eneuch, five meenits later, Ian croakit back: 'There's anither three hauf wey across the field - Ah can juist mak them oot!'
By this time it wisnae juist oor vyces that wis trimmlin wi excitement – my hauns an legs were shakin like a jeely whan the fower sheddaes jyned up on the faur bank straucht across frae oor hidey-hole. Ian, wha wis best placed, keekt roun the side o the tree an gied us a rinnin commentary.
‘They’re chyngin their claes,' he whuspert, an we cuid juist hear the saft murmur o vyces abune the chuckle o the watter.
‘Ah think they’re sortin oot the net - Ah can see the glint o a wee torch or matches.'
We had agreed the best coorse o action wis tae rush them yince they had the net in the watter.
‘They’re in the watter nou!' Ian hissed, an we cuid hear the splash o legs agin the stream an the clink o chain poued ower the grevel as yae rope-man made across the neck o the puil tae oor side, wi anither man gruppin the middle o the net, an a third haudin the ither end o the rope on the faur bank.
Yince lined up, they stertit tae move abreist smertly doun the puil, wi us creepin quaitly doun the bank ahint them till we got within twinty yairds o the chiel on oor side.
‘Richt lads, get the buggers!' Wi that we switched on oor torches an ran forrit bawlin oor heids aff as if there wis ten o us!
Ye niver saw ocht like it! The fella on oor bank drappt his rope an dived in heid-furst, an I'll sweir he swam that quick he wis mair oot the watter than in it - like a young deuk scutterin across a dub! His mate in the middle got fanklt wi the net, freed himsel an sprauchlt kist-deep ower tae the faur side whaur he fell heid-doun in the glaur afore clawin up the bank an harin across the holm tae jyne his cronies.
The fower o them didnae rin awa but hung aboot the middle o the field, clashin-weet an roarin mad, an juist faur eneuch awa frae the lowe o oor lichts tae no be recognised. The three young fellas hauf turnt their backs, an the heid yin, an aulder man wha hadnae been in the watter, poued his bunnet doun an held the collar o his jaiket up ower his face as he watched whit wis gaun on.
Wi the ithers keppin the poachers at torchlength, my licht pickt up the raw o corks bobbin in the stream an I lowpt in up tae the hochs tae grup the net. It wis held fast, but wi a bit o frantic heavin we got it on the bank, thegither wi twa guid seatroots that we had tae keep for evidence. It wis a guid trammel-net, weel uised an weel luikt efter, wi near fifteen yairds o hutch chains frae the pit tae keep it wechtit doun in the watter.
‘Let’s get tae Hell oot o here afore they jalouse there's only three o us!’ I said tae Ian. 'This net's a fair wecht. Hing it ower my stick an we’ll cairry it atween us.' This dune, we skelpit aff throu the wid back tae the caur, like a pair o big-gemm hunters wi a pig on a pole.
Sin we niver did fin oot whae the poachers were, there cuid be nae coort-case, sae we burnt the net an fair enjoyed the rest o the evidence!
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Dipper: 07 - Furst Bluid. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=619.
"Dipper: 07 - Furst Bluid." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=619.
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