Moray Coast Trail – Day 2

MAY 24, 2024: In Scotland, they speak UK English. We have found the Scottish accent to be easier to understand than expected. What surprised us, is the use of many words which we do not know what they mean. We came across many of those today.

The weather today was better than yesterday. Not yet sunny, but at least no more rain. Just dreary and overcast.

One of the highlights of the Moray Coast Trail is the Bow Fiddle Rock. The Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch so called because it resembles the tip of a fiddle bow. The plan was to start the day hiking to the rock, and then continue eastward on the Moray Coast Trail.

To reach the beginning of the hike, we would drive to Portnockie, described as a coastal village on the Moray Firth. What is a firth? In Scotland, a firth is a large coastal inlet. The Moray Firth, on the east coast, is the largest firth in Scotland, opening onto the North Sea. The word “firth” is related to the word “fjord,” indicating the linguistic influence of the Vikings in the region.

The walk to The Bow Fiddle Rock was quick – we had parked very close. I knew what the rock looked like from photos, but in real-life it was much more spectacular. Hundreds of resting birds covered the rock and nearby boulders.

It is called Bow Fiddle Rock because it resembles the tip of a Bow Fiddle. To me it looked more like the trunk of an elephant.

We continued east on the Moray Coast Trail towards Cullen, another seaside village further up the coast.

When the trail started a steep downhill climb (what goes down must eventually come back up), we turned around and returned to our car and drove to Cullen instead.

Surprisingly, in Cullen, another small fishing village on the Moray Firth, there is a vegetarian restaurant called the New Denver Café. We called them to confirm that they are all vegetarian. They said they are all vegan with vegetarian options – meaning all the food is vegan, and you can ask them to add cheese if you want. Even better.

We had a nice meal and before leaving the restaurant, we bought at their vegan bakery some desserts for Shabbat. Mark chose a pear cake and I took a chocolate cake with raisins and digestives. We asked the saleslady what digestives are and she had trouble describing them. At most we learned from her that they add crunch to the cake, are made with oats and that kids take them to school for snacks.

Turns out that a digestive is a semi-sweet biscuit that originated in Scotland. Unlike cookies that are often made with white flour and sugar, digestive biscuits usually contain whole wheat flour and oats. They were developed in 1839 by doctors to aid digestion.

There was a sign on the bakery wall for a tour in Cullen. It contained a whole collection of words we did not understand.

Tales of gaugers, rumling spoots, shunners, carties and hurlies, boglies, cludgies, the muckle storm of 1953 and more…

Google translate is no help when it comes to understanding Scottish English. I went to a Scottish dictionary site and could not find most of these words. Only ChatGPT had a good answer. For those interested, it is copied below.

The village Cullen is split into two parts – the waterfront fishing village of Seatown, and New Cullen which sits behind. The restaurant was in New Cullen and now we walked to Seatown, to the harbor.

Cullen is known for its former railway bridges. The largest one is often featured in tourist guides and Scottish calendars.

While strolling along the harbor, someone had put out a collection of vintage items to give away. There were many interesting things, but I was limited by what would fit in our suitcases. I came away with a small green iron tea pot. A perfect memento.

On our way back to the car, we passed a restaurant that offered a Cullen Skink. Cullen Skink is a traditional thick soup made from smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion that the village is known for.

It was now late afternoon and we returned to our campground in Findochty and prepared for Shabbat. This sign was hanging in the Findochty campsite toilets (read till the end).

We did not flush away our hopes and dreams. Tomorrow might be sunny! For now, the weather had cleared up and the sunset was amazing. Shabbat Shalom!


ME: What does this mean in Scotland – Tales of gaugers, rumling spoots, shunners, carties and hurlies, boglies, cludgies, the muckle storm of 1953 and more

ChatGPT : The phrase refers to various elements of Scottish folklore, local dialect, and historical events, often specific to rural or coastal Scotland. These terms collectively evoke a sense of local culture, storytelling, and historical events. “Tales of gaugers, rumling spoots, shunners, carties and hurlies, boglies, cludgies, the muckle storm of 1953 and more” suggest a narrative filled with local color, historical anecdotes, and folklore, likely shared within communities and passed down through generations.

Here’s a breakdown of the terms and their meanings:

  1. Gaugers: These were excise officers or tax collectors, particularly those involved in preventing smuggling of goods such as alcohol.
  2. Rumling Spoots: This likely refers to noisy or rumbling waterspouts or drainage spouts, often causing or related to flooding or heavy rains.
  3. Shunners: People who avoid or shun others. In a local context, it might refer to individuals known for avoiding social interaction or specific places.
  4. Carties: Small carts, often makeshift or hand-pulled, used by children for play or by adults for transporting goods.
  5. Hurlies: Similar to carties, these are also small carts or wheelbarrows, sometimes referring to a playful ride or transport method.
  6. Boglies: A Scottish term for ghosts or supernatural creatures, similar to bogeymen or spirits.
  7. Cludgies: Scottish slang for toilets, particularly outdoor or public ones.
  8. The Muckle Storm of 1953: Refers to the significant and devastating storm that hit Scotland in 1953, known for causing widespread damage and flooding, especially affecting coastal areas.

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