The snotter’s fairly on the wane

ImageBothys are outbuildings on farms in Scotland where unmarried farm labourers used to live, often in harsh conditions. In the evenings, to entertain themselves they used to sing old songs and often composed new ones.

Inevitably some humorous songs arose, critical of working conditions on farms. One of the best known is “The Barnyards of Delgaty“.
The young ploughman at the Barnyards of Delgaty had gone to the market town of Turriff (Turra) to ‘fee’ or to gain employment on a farm for six months. The farmer had promised two fine working horses, but had lied!
The ‘snotter’ is the burnt wick of a candle. The Delgaty estate is a mile north east of Turriff, in North East Scotland.

 As ah gaed doon tae Turra Merket,
Turra Merket fur tae fee,
Ah met in wi a wealthy fairmer,
The Barnyards o Delgaty.

Linten adie, tooren adie,
Linten adie, tooren ay,
inten lowerin lowerin lowerin,
The Barnyards o Delgaty.

He promised me the twa best horse
I ever set my een upon.
When ah gaed hame tae the Barnyards
There was nothin there but skin and bone.

The auld grey mare sat on her hunkers,
The auld dun horse lay in the grime.
For aa that I would ‘hup’ and cry,
They wouldna rise at yokin time.

    When I gang tae the kirk on Sunday,
Mony’s the bonny lass I see,
Sittin by her faither’s side,
Winkin ower the pews at me.

Some can drink and no be drunk,
And some can fecht and no be slain.
I can coort anither man’s lass,
And aye be welcome tae my ain.

Ma candle noo is fair brunt oot,
The snotter’s fairly on the wane,
Fare ye weel, ye Barnyards,
Ye’ll never catch me here again.


About Duncan Harley

Author, photographer and feature writer.
This entry was posted in Politics and Comment and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The snotter’s fairly on the wane

  1. Jay Topaz says:

    Great song. I can vouch for the harsh conditions because as a regular hillwalker I often layed my head to rest in the freezing cold damp bothies.

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