Document 633

Dipper: 21 - Still "Ridin Alang"

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg


Verses written for the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Re-union Dinner Dance of the Forty-Sixth Ayrshire (New Cumnock) Scout Group, held in the Coach House Hotel, New Cumnock, on Saturday 5th October 1985.

My Granpa Davie Currie ran the Scout Troop up at Bank,
Afore the Furst Warld War, in days lang syne;
An my Mither helped John Edwards tae rin New Cumnock Cubs,
Till the Saicont War broke oot in Thirty-Nine.

An tho it seems like thirty weeks, it's mair nor thirty year
Sin I ettlt tae gang that gait mysel,
An daunert doun the Miller Road tae jyne New Cumnock Scouts,
‘N like the rest faa under Baden-Powell's spell.

Alec Geddes made me welcome, an so did John Burgoyne,
An I shuin fell in wi aa the queer-like ploys -
‘Man the Ship’ an British Bulldog, an 'O'Grady says dae this',
An ither weys o makin muckle noise!

Aff tae camp we’d gae in summer wearin Airmy Surplus kilts,
Wi oor Airmy Surplus kitbags fou o claes,
Cook wi Airmy Surplus dixies, sleep in Airmy Surplus tents,
While oor Airmy Surplus blankets warmed oor taes.

Wi Airmy Surplus trenchin-tools, an Airmy Surplus spades,
We’d dig a sheugh three fuit, by twae, by yin,
An we’d squat in that latrine, wi the sheugh oor legs atween,
An grunt, an hope an pray we’d no faa in!

A fortnicht’s camp in Ireland awa back in Fifty-Fower,
Cost a fiver for train an boat an meal,
Six hunner-wecht o tatties, an fourteen dizzen loaves,
An oor photo in ‘The Bulletin’ as weel!

The Scout Group in the Sixties gaed frae strength tae strength,
The auld wid hut wis burstin at the seams,
But Whist Drives, Rag Drives, Concerts, an the sale o Christmas Cairds,
Raised the siller for the Scout Hut o oor dreams.

For this we thenkit parents, wha gied us o their time,
Like C. McLatchie, Mrs. Nairn, an Jimmy Bain,
An ither unsung heroes wha'd tak ower lang tae name,
But wha's spare time tint wis ever Scoutin's gain.

I wis prood tae help Tam Lisett tae rin the Forty-Sixth,
Wi Nodder, Jimmy Findlay, John Burgoyne,
While John Nairn ran the Cub Pack in his ain efficient wey,
Alang wi brither Tam an Ian McCron.

Dan Kennedy's auld lorry, or Lindsay's cattle float,
Wad cairt us aff tae mony a cheery camp,
While courit amang the campin graith, we'd sing awa the miles
Heedless o rain, cauld wins, or muscle cramp.

These were days o fun an pleisure for oorsels an for the Scouts,
Oor tents were nou J. Black o Greenock's best;
An the lads wha did the cookin an survived tae tell the tale.
Cuid be put in ony kitchen tae the test!

Awa went lumpy parritch, drount mince an taurry tea,
Chips fried in butter, margarine an lard,
Burnt custard (juist aboot!) became a memory o the past,
An pot-roast cookin wisnae aa that hard!

They built rafts an aerial runways, an rope brigs across the burn,
Canoed in loch, an doukt in sun-kisst puil,
Won Campin Competitions an District Challenge Hikes,
An trampt across the hills tae faur Glen Trool.

Hou the scentit smell o wid-smoke still wafts aboot my neb,
I can see the sparks drift skywards oot o sicht,
An the creckle o the campfire lang lingers in my lugs,
As “Abide Wi Me” is sung tae end the nicht.

I can taste the mug o cocoa juist afore we beddit doun,
I can hear the lauchs an keckles frae ilk tent,
Finin doun tae whuspert murmurs afore they drappt awa
Tae the deep an dreamless sleep o lads content.

I can hear the burds’ dawn chorus, sense the stillness o the morn,
Feel the dampness o the dew upon the grun,
Hear the clout o aixe on wid, an the clang o dixie lid,
That lets us ken anither day's begun.

But hou-ever lang we dwell on that Scoutin magic spell,
We maun cast oor minds back five-an-seiventy year,
For there's men we owe a debt, an we niver suid forget
That wi'oot their wark we'd no be sittin here.

We’ll no argue on the merits o the Toun Troop or the Bank,
For in time they cam thegither aa the same,
An the wark o Davie Currie, Johnny Cairns, an H. Burgoyne,
Lives ever on regairdless o the name.

Some will mind o Alec Gallagher, an Wullie Morrison,
Pompey Broun, an Rover Leader Geordie Black,
An Jim Kerr's inspiration an the courage that he showed,
Whan lyin rackt an helpless on his back.

There's that legend Johnnie Edwards, wha wi kind an gentle care,
Had his Wolf Cubs tamed an eatin oot his haun;
An the folk I dinnae ken, aa the lassies an the men,
Wha've helpt New Cumnock Scouts gae on an on.

Whan they reach their Hunnert Year, I for yin will hae nae fear
That we'll fin New Cumnock Scouts baith hale an thrang,
An we wish them Aa the Best, an keep 'Ridin on the Crest..',
In the words o that maist famous Gang Show sang.


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Dipper: 21 - Still "Ridin Alang". 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 21 - Still "Ridin Alang"," accessed 23 February 2024,

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Information about Document 633

Dipper: 21 - Still "Ridin Alang"


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1985
Word count 892
General description Anthology of prizewinning and other Scots poems, and short stories in Ayrshire Scots.

Text medium

Other Audiocassette

Text publication details

Publisher Luath Press
Publication year 1991
Place of publication Barr, Ayrshire
ISBN/ISSN 0946487227
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in The Dipper an the Three Wee Deils: Tales and Poems in Ayrshire Scots
Editor Authors: Dr. J. A. Begg and J. Reid
Page numbers 47-49

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 623
Title Dr
Forenames James
Initials A
Surname Begg
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Medical Practitioner
Place of birth New Cumnock
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerical Officer, NCB
Father's place of birth Sandbank
Father's region of birth Argyll
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth New Cumnock
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Danish No No No No A little
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Holidaying in France
Norwegian No No No No A little
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work