Cow Turra


Following on from last nights tirade about the lack of print-media for budding authors within the bounds of the North-east, I checked to see if an old article was still available on-line.

It was a piece about a cow. Not just any cow you understand but a cow from Turriff. Us bloggers are fond of cows and a good friend informs that they always face the same way no-matter what the weather.

I had penned a few words about the sturdy beast in a Leopard article or two. Something about Lendrum to leeks as I recall. The late Bob Smith and I had cooperated in an article to record the tale. I penned some words and Bob compiled a poem in his native Doric.

As I recall Bob, or Smithie to his friends, concentrated on the National Insurance ramifications of the tale of that famous ‘fite coo’ whereas I relished the political ramifications  – the House of Lords were humbled into submission by a triumphant parliament and stripped of their power of veto.

Cynics of the time suggested that the workforce was being manipulated by the land owners and bullied or perhaps even being encouraged into opposition. For example, a crowd of around 1500 packed Turriff’s main square on the day of the proposed sale of Mr Paterson’s cow to meet the Insurance arrears due by him. And an effigy of the Welsh Prime Minister was incinerated at Inverurie in possibly the most recent act of defiance committed by the citizens of the Garioch capital.

Our coo’ article was published first in The Scottish Review and I recall mirroring the piece in Aberdeen Voice and maybe in a Leopard aside. Sadly perhaps, the Review has deleted the article but it’s still on back-order for free in the Voice @: https://aberdeenvoice.com/2013/11/turra-coo-monumental-myth/

And, in case you can’t be bothered finger-clicking on the link, here is Smithie’s poem in its entirety:

BRAW IMAGE O “THE COO

A bronze statue o the Turra Coo
Noo staans proodly in the toon
Ti commemorate a gweed story
A’ve kent since a wis a loon

The fite coo fae Lendrum
Wis the celebrity o it’s day
Fin fairmer Robert Paterson
Thocht NI wisna fair play

Sheriff Geordie Keith set oot
Tae seize property as a fine
Bit the locals widna help him
An refused tae tae the line

The coo wis pit up fer auction
Fegs iss nearly caused a riot
Syne up steps Alexander Craig
As the bodie faa wid buy it

Noo iss is nae the eyn o the story
Fowk  an injustice they hid seen
A fair pucklie did rally roon
Wi fairmer Craig a deal wis deen

The coo wis noo back at Lendrum
Tae see oot the rest o her days
Nae doot neen the wiser o
The stooshie she did raise

At a junction in the bonnie toon
Iss a sculture o the beast
Faa brocht a fair bit o fame
Tae Turra an the haill north-east


Poem ©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2010

Otherwirds © Duncan Harley 2018

There's a bit more about the Turra Coo in The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire


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