I recently spent a week in Moray with Angus Reid, writing and walking. We stayed above the River Fiddich in the house of Mary Bourne, the sculptor who co-ordinated the Mortlach Storywalks project. The house has views west towards Ben Rinnes, the highest top in the area.
It also looks across the glen to the ruins of Auchindoun Castle, set on a low hillock above the River Fiddich. It was from Auchindoun that Adam Gordon rode out to Corgraff Castle; his burning of the latter is told in the ballad ‘Edom o’ Gordon’. The revenge attack is told in the shorter and less well-known ballad, ‘Burning of Auchindoun’ (Child #183).
As I cam’ in by Fiddichside, on a May morning
I spied Willie MacIntosh an hour before the dawning
Turn agin, turn agin, turn agin, I bid ye
If ye burn Auchindoun, Huntly he will heid ye
Heid me or hang me, that shall never fear me
I’ll burn Auchindoun though the life leaves me
As I cam’ in by Auchindoun, on a May morning
Auchindoun was in a bleeze, an hour before the dawning
Crawing, crawing, for a’ your crouse crawin’
Ye brunt your crop an’ tint your wings an hour before the dawning.
I made a few label-poems there.
Near the castle there are some ruined farm buildings – some are being renovated, but we looked round a particularly delapidated house.
We drove a few miles into the Cabrach to Rhinturk Farmhouse, still standing, still productive.