The Village of Tayport and its Surroundings

All ye pleasure-seekers, where’er ye be,
I pray ye all be advised by me,
Go and visit Tayport on the banks o’ the Tay,
And there ye can spend a pleasant holiday.

The village and its surroundings are magnificent to be seen,
And the shops on the High Street are tidy and clean,
And the goods, I’m sure, would please the Queen,
They cannot be surpassed in Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

And the villagers’ gardens are lovely to be seen,
There sweet flowers grow and gooseberries green.
And the fragrant air will make you feel gay
While viewing the scenery there on the banks of the Tay.

Scotscraig is an ancient and a most charming spot,
And once seen by visitors will never be forgot.
’Twas there that Archbishop Sharp lived long ago,
And the flower-garden there is a very grand show.

The flower beds there are very beautiful to see,
They surpass the Baxter Park flower beds in Dundee,
And are all enclosed in a round ring,
And there the bee and the butterfly are often on the wing.

Scotscraig farm-house is magnificent to see
With its beautiful rich fields of wheat and barley,
And the farm-house steading is certainly very fine,
And the scenery is charming in the summer time.

The Serpentine Walk is a secluded spot in Scotscraig wood,
And to be walking there ‘twould do one’s heart good.
There the lovers can enjoy themselves in its shady bowers
By telling tales of love to wile away the tedious hours.

There innocent rabbits do sport and play
During the livelong summer day
Amongst the ivy and shrubberies green,
And screened all day from the sun’s sheen.

Then, lovers of the picturesque, off and away
To the village of Tayport on the banks o’ the Tay,
And ramble through Scotscraig wood,
It will, I’m sure, do your bodies good.

And, as ye walk along the Serpentine Walk,
With each other ye can have a social talk,
And ye will hear the birds singing away,
Which will make your hearts feel light and gay.

And while walking underneath the branches of the trees,
Ye will hear the humming of the bees.
Therefore, pleasure-seekers, make no delay,
But visit Scotscraig wood on a fine summer day.

There visitors can be shaded from the sun in the summer time,
While walking along the secluded Serpentine,
By the spreading branches of the big trees,
Or from the undergrowth ivy, if they please.

Do not forget to visit the old Tower,
Where Archbishop Sharp spent many an hour,
Viewing the beautiful scenery for miles away
Along the bonnie banks o’ the silvery Tay.

Tayport has been honoured. Poet McGonagall has devoted a poem to its praise. A distant view of the village may be had from Dundee, but the Poet felt that in justice to himself as well as to his subject a closer inspection of the place was desirable. He crossed the “Silvery Tay,” and staff in hand wended his way towards the historic Ferry-Port-on-Craig.

Dundee people can hardly be got to believe that there is much to see about Tayport ; but see what it is to have the eye of the poet. McGonagall spent two whole days in admiring the village and its surroundings, and having taken in all the picturesque details he hastened back to his sanctum in Step Row and poured out his soul in characteristic verse.

There are some places in which our Poet — to their shame be it said — could scarcely dare to show his impressive figure. There is Kirriemuir, for example, which treated him liberally to an ovation, but the eggs were in the last stage of decomposition, and there was Brechin where — though perhaps it was in a too ardent desire to retain a memento of the illustrious one’s visit — they nailed his hat to the table and cut the crown, so that it remained there.

But it will doubtless be different in Tayport. In that quarter he should always be sure hereafter of a warm reception. The praise be bestows on Tayport will not, it is to be hoped, however, arouse the jealousy of Dundee. The villagers must feel flattered to hear it said:—

The village and its surroundings are magnificent to be seen,
And the shops on the High Street. are tidy and clean,
And the goods, I’m sure, would please the Queen,
They cannot be surpassed in Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

And the villagers’ gardens are lovely to be seen,
There sweet flowers grow and gooseberries green,
And the fragrant air will make you feel gay
While viewing the scenery there on the banks of the Tay.

The Poet proceeds to make a comparison which is not to the advantage of Dundee, and there may be some little feeling excited by the following:—

The flower beds there are very beautiful to see;
They surpass the Baxter Park flower beds in Dundee;
And are all enclosed in a round ring,
And there the bee and the butterfly are often on the wing.

Dundee Courier, 17th August 1894

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Comments (3) »

  1. Big Nose
    In the year 2011, on the 25th day of October at 11:02 am

    I shall endeavour this weekend 29th/30th October to travel from my home in Kirkcaldy up to Tayport in an attempt to find (during daylight hours) the aforementioned Serpentine Walk – indeed should this “beautiful and gay” woodland walk still be in existence I shall recommend it to one or two friends whom I feel may benefit more from it’s existence than I. Afterall, I surely wouldn’t wish to be a gooseberry to the sweet flowers.

  2. Chris Hunt
    In the year 2011, on the 25th day of October at 12:03 pm

    I thought for a horrible moment that Scotscraig wood had been replaced by a golf course, evicting the playful rabbits etc. However, with a more careful look at the map, it’s still there, and so is the Serpentine Walk!

    It’s marked as “Serpentine Ave” on Google Maps, and leaves the B946 about halfway between the Tay Road Bridge and Tayport, opposite a sewerage works (how’s that for picturesque?).

    Try not to disturb the tedium-dispelling lovers, and let us know how you got on!

  3. Big Nose
    In the year 2011, on the 25th day of October at 4:43 pm

    Hi Chris – have been trying to send you the following via ‘About’ section on the site but it keeps whapping it back me to. Most probably the enormous size thats the problem, as usual.

    A relatively recent shared appreciation of WTM between my father and I led me to exhort him not only to view your excellent website but to sign up and actively participate in it. We coincidently also share an unfortunate genetic (dis)ability to write bad poetry. Anyway, to this end I have been steadily enticing him to your site by sending him the ‘Gem of the Day’ via email to his ex-pat home in Kent. His lovely wife – who is Canadian but we try not to hold this against her – has, by association, also taken a keen interest in WTM. Today she sent me this reply by email below. I should add that hitherto she has shown no obvious ability as an excruciating wordsmith, hence I can only put her ‘St Paul on the road to Damascus-like’ conversion down to the timeless magic of WTM and an unusual and unhealthy interest in my fathers non-sensical utterings. To whit –

    How good, thoughtful and generous of you today
    To send to your father the Gem of the Day.
    As I languish in torpor and uthridge in Thanet
    Which every man knows is quite another planet.
    But let it not be said, nor man gainsay
    It was made by our heavenly father specifically for Alan Bray
    When he moved here from a land far away
    From the beautiful town of Dunfermline, which in truth is not very far
    from the silvery Tay.

    Footnote – the word “uthridge” in line 3 is a word my father invented in 1981, whilst working for the DHSS/DWP (in Dundee strangely enough). It means ‘extreme boredom and/or complete disinterest’ apparently. He began introducing it during management meetings to see if anyone noticed. The few that did began dropping it into conversations with him much to his barely concealed mirth.

    Keep up the goodwork Chris, the website in itself is a gem. Many thanks.

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