The Heid Forester

From Moriston Matters, Issue 27, February 1982.

Tune: Johnny Cope
Words: David Hendry

Young Jimmie MacEwan cam' up frae Perth
By the Moriston he made a berth,
He planted trees for a' his worth
As he held awa' tae the Coylack.
He gathered roon' him trusty men,
An' bade them cycle up the glen.
He telt them whit tae dae - ye ken,
An' they planted trees on the Coylack.

1st Chorus:
Hey! Jim MacEwan, are ye plantin' yet?
There's no' anither forester, I'll bet,
Has cut them doon, an' is plantin' yet!
Sae we'll haud awa' tae the Coylack.

The Nippers were Geordie Ross and Jock,
They carted trees for a' this ither folk.
An' Eck. MacMillan aye had a joke
As they planted trees on the Coylack.
Wi' Willie Fraser an' Kenny in the lead,
They planted Sron-Na-Muic at speed,
An' Jimmie MacEwan raised the seed
That grew into trees on the Coylack.

2nd Chorus:
Jimmie MacEwan ye're a credit tae the glen,
There's no' anither Forester I ken
Has planted trees, cut them doon again,
An' has planted mair on the Coylack.

Yin mornin' Jimmie wis comin' doon the Street,
Some tardy men he chanced tae meet.
"Worra Burry Hell! Yer lunch ye can eat,
Ere ye haul awa' tae the Coylack";
Wi' richt haun' tuggin' his lapel,
He dressed them doon - an' gied them Hell,
"A broke ma fast at six, masel;
Sae ye'll haud awa' tae the Coylack".

3rd Chorus: As 2nd.

Noo Alick MacMillan - The Trapper wi' the drooth,
Took sixteen haufs an' nearly raised the roof,
"Come on outside, an' I'll show ye the proof,
That we planted trees on the Coylack".
There wis Angie Stoddart, an' Johnnie MacDonnell
An' Dan MacDonald, Bill Ferguson as well.
Wi' se'ral mair, they a' had a spell
At plantin' trees on the Coylack.

4th Chorus: As 2nd,

Sae Here's tae MacEwan, wi' his braw moustache!
When things went wrang he telt them "Dinna Fash".
An' never wance did he yase the lash
As they planted trees on the Coylack.
He stertit the forest in nineteen twenty-two,
I'm shair he plantit a million (or a few)
But he's plantin' spuds in the garden, noo,
'Stead o' plantin' trees on the Coylack.

5th Chorus:
Jimmie MacEwan, ye're a credit tae the glen,
There's no' anither forester I ken
Has planted trees, cut them doon again,
An' has plantit mair on the Coylack.


David Hendry lived for a time at Port Clair.

Jimmy MacEwan was Head Forester at Port Clair from 1920 until 1949, being the first occupant of the old Forester's House there. When he retired he was said to be the longest serving Forester in one forest, and the only one (as stated in the poem) to cut down the trees he had planted. He was also  res­ponsible for the laburnum trees along the line of the old road to Fort Augustus. He and his wife, Mary Jean, lived at the Pier for many years and their son Jimmy now lives in Inverness.

The Coylack is over at Wester Dalcattaig.
Geordie Ross, now retired and living in Drumnadrochit, stayed in Port Clair along with his sister Winnie.
Jock - John MacDonald (known as 'Jock Tackets') stayed at Dalcattaig for many years,
Alick MacMillan - Read on and adding 2 and 2 shouldn't be difficult!
Willie Fraser - from up the Glen, but later stayed for many years in the Street with his sister, Kitty.
Kenny - Kenny MacLennan
Angie Stoddart - husband of the late Kate Stoddart.
Johnnie MacDonnell- from the Forestry houses at Port Clair