The Boathouse, by James Cornfield

“The Boathouse, Blantyre” by James Cornfield 2008

The late Jimmy Cornfield wrote a lovely poem in 2008, to an area he was fond of. Boathouse (or Boatland to give it its proper title) near the River Clyde. It goes as such,

“Twixt Clyde and Calder near Haughead. , ‘tis where our native people did tread,
As did a man by the name of Blane, who once passed by and left us his name.
One day perchance, should you pass bye, you too might hear a plaintive cry,
Of voices calling for the Ferry Boat, “Bo-oat Jo-ock! Bo-oat Jo-ok!”

You’’ll turn perchance to see, this ancient site near Blantyre Priory.
As Boat House appears from out the gloom, like the mystical village of Brig a doon.
The call is heard from within his cottage, by the ferryman who leaves his pottage,
Rising swiftly from his chair, makes his way down towards the pier.

To where his skiff is safely moored, making sure it is properly oared.
He launches forth on to the Clyde, and rows towards the Uddingston side.
To ferry travellers to and fro, is the job of the Hie’lander John Munro.
At which task he is the best, being strong of arm and broad of chest.

Should you be fortunate to behold this scene, you may think it is all a dream,
But stranger wait, be not afraid, ‘tis written and of times said,
Those of us, from far and wide, are chosen to walk this path by Clyde.
To bear witness, just like thee, as you pass bye these things you see.

Near this place, some monks did dwell, upon this place didst cast a spell.
‘tis not a spell that one should fear, but rather a spell, one holds dear.
Those holy men from days of yore, his guardians be for evermore.
‘tho they are gone, yet still remain, to show that this be Gods domain!
So stranger belay your fears, it only happens every hundred years.

James Cornfield 2008

I’ve previously researched in detail the history of Boatland, which can be found here:

Pictured in 1910, is Boatland with Boathouse Farm and Boathouse Cottage.

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