Our third intrepid traveller, Uula Jero will leave Balmacllelan on Saturday morning, picking up keen cyclists at New Galloway and making their way down to Wigtown, passing through the picturesque Galloway Forest Park. If cycling is your thing, you are very welcome to join Uula at New Galloway. If you are interested please send us a quick email to [email protected] and we’ll pass on the necessary details.
Uula will be somewhat unmistakable as he brings with him, not just one of his amazing cargo bikes, but also a pedal powered foundry! Remember the charcoal that the boats are bringing from Creetown (see earlier post here), the foundry is charcoal fueled and the creetown charcoal will contribute to the heat necessary to melt and cast our very own Wigtown spoons! (more about Billy Marshall and his spoons here)
The spoons will be cast in front of a live audience outside the Wigtown County Buildings as part of Trading Journeys on Saturday evening, the 27th of September. We are making a very limited edition of spoons, so if you would like your very own Wigtown spoon come along to our spoon mould crafting workshop during the afternoon. Workshops will take place from 12 noon in Southfield Park, and are free to everyone.
We will also be holding drumming and flag making workshops in preparation for our procession prior to the spoon pour. The procession is open to all to join in.
If boats aren’t your thing, and you like a more measured pace, keep your eyes open for Alice Francis is travelling with her horse who are making a three day trip to Wigtown from Auchencairn.
As they travel Alice will be creating a standard that will form the head of the Wigtown Trading Journey’s procession that will take place on Saturday afternoon. She will also be recounting the story of Billy Marshall, who supposedly had lived 120 years in southern Scotland and always claimed to be the “King of the Gypsies”. He was ,also, referred to as the “Caird of Barullion”. Caird (a skilled gypsy) referring to ceardon (a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft). Barullion is the name of a range of hills in the county of Wigtonshire in the council area of Dummfries-Galloway, in southern Scotland. Another so-called title of his was “King of the Randies”. The word Randies in this context may be referring to a type of macho, virile, man that despised all rule and authority.
The crossed spoons possibly may represent a wish for his people that they may never go hungry, for the coins at his grave site may have been left there with a goodluck wish, but originally they were left there for a poor travelling gypsy to be able to buy another meal. The spoons probably represent horn spoons, which have been popular in Europe and Scandinavia as far back as medieval times, being, also popular with the Vikings. Horn spoon making has been a tradition among gypsies since the 1600’s, and possibly had been a labor of love for Billy Marshall.
If you find that you have a hidden talent for spoon playing, bring that new talent along to Wigtown on Saturday, it’s bound to come in useful!
Suffering from withdrawal symptoms from last weekends Nithraid? Never fear, there is another opportunity to join us as we make the journey to Wigtown Book Festival on Saturday, 27th of September. And we’re not just taking the A75 from Dumfries. Stove members are each making their own journeys the the former county town with its inheritance of martyrdom in Covenanting times and its modern booktown status, once the central crossroads in trading routes and pilgrimage routes through the West of the region.
First off Mark Zygadlo will be hoping for a little more wind than on Nithraid day as he and a flotilla of intrepid sailors make the journey across the Cree from the Ferry Bell at Creetown across the water to the old Wigtown Harbour. This flotilla is being kept to small numbers for safety reasons but if you wish to join the sailors there may still be an additional space left, please get in touch asap to Mark: [email protected]
Each boat will carry a small cargo of charcoal made at Creetown Primary School with the help of Phoebe and Will Marshall. This will be used to power Uula Jero’s pedal-powered foundry… but more on that later!