Reading My Way Around the World

Sunday 7 January 2018

My Fiddlers Green Challenge

Yesterday was Nollaig na mBan - Women's Christmas or Little Christmas .  I wrote about it here a few years ago.  It's a great way to finish up the holiday and I spent not one but three evenings in succession in the company of women friends.  

After all of that it was time to get out for a good walk today.  

My breathing is still recovering after the bout of pneumonia last spring and during the Christmas pageant I was really struggling singing as we walked up the hill.   So I'm on a mission to improve my fitness this year.  I've challenged myself to walk up to Fiddlers Green at least once a fortnight and do shorter walks in between.   

Fiddlers Green is a clearing half way up the the oak forest and it's a real hike to get to.   I thought I'd need oxygen lol ....   So Him and Me headed out this afternoon.   And we made it and I'm delighted with myself.   Mind you the legs and thighs are complaining mightily.

Fiddlers Green is the name given to Fisherman's Heaven.   John Connolly from Grimsby wrote a great song about that.  The chorus goes:

Wrap me up in me oilskin and jumper 
No more on the docks I'll be seen 

Just tell me old shipmates 
I'm taking a trip, mates 
And I'll see you one day in Fiddler's Green 

Fiddlers Green clearing
It's thought that our Fiddlers Green was a crossroads at one time and perhaps the fishermen met there.   Our annual folk festival is named after it and starts in the clearing there, and many local songs have been written about the place.  

Anyway, we struggled up the hill 
I love mossy logs

It was a beautiful afternoon and lots of folk were out and about, well wrapped up.   It's freezing cold, perfect winter weather.  

Beautiful blue sky

Looking down to the Lough from Fiddlers Green
 We decided to come down another way - at least I thought it was all downhill, but lo and behold, more climbs ... And cyclists ... There are lots of cycle trails in the mountains and they're not supposed to be on the walking paths - Don't say anything, mutters Tom, knowing me far too well ... but I kept quiet for once.
Afternoon sun

We came back down by the Glenshee river - which translates as the valley of the fairies - or the Fairy Glen. The water was running hard and beautiful.  

 And on a side note - this is my first attempt at Brioche Knitting - delighted with the result.  The model was taking another video.  The scarf is the second brioche one.

What a surprise to see some blossoms

And new life already on the way

So once we were down again this was the reward ...a beautiful sunset on the lough. 

So this is where we were - half way up there - in the middle of the oak forest.   
Maybe in a few months I"ll be heading up to the top. 

The white building at the end of the photograph is a car showroom and will soon be turned into an (unwanted) apartment building and old folks home - there's a lot of consternation about it as the Council planners turned down the application - not once, but 4 times - and still the councillors voted for the project to go ahead.   It will impact hugely on the forest as it will be more than 4 times higher than that building is now!!  Anyway, that's a story for another day.  

I hope you've had a lovely Sunday and that the first week back to normal will be fine.


Fiddler's Green

Author: John Connolly
Copyright: World, March Music Ltd

As I went by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the still water and take the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing this song
Won't you take me away boys my time is not long

Wrap me up in me oilskin and jumper
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates
I'm taking a trip, mates
And I'll see you one day in Fiddler's Green

Now Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where fishermen go when they don't go to Hell
Where the skies are all clear and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away

Where there's always a breeze and there's never a gale
And the fish jump on board with a swish in their tail
and you lie at your leisure, there's nothing to do
And the captain's below making tea for the crew

when you get to the dock and the long trip is through
There's pubs and there's clubs, and there's lassies there too
and the girls are all pretty and the beer it is free
And there's bottles of rum growing from every tree

I don't need a harp or a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a stiff rolling sea
And I'll play me old squeeze box as we roll along
When the wind in the rigging will sing me this song


  1. As a lover of folklore I am always delighted to hear about folklore elsewhere. I'll be dancing at a wassail event in a couple of weeks.

  2. Well done for tackling that hill and surviving! Lovely photos too :) Shame about the apartments :(

  3. Hi Fil - I hope I'll be getting out and about a bit now and can get to places where I can walk around ... as my legs need the exercise ... lovely to see the daffs rising high - I think the snowdrops are on their way here ... cheers Hilary

  4. Dear Fil, I am glad you took this walk to Fiddler's Green, even though you struggled because of the pneumonia you had in 2017. I say you are very courageous and believe me, even without pneumonia I would have struggled too! I loved the brioche knitting!!!!! That is brilliant! Loved all the pictures and got angry at the cyclists - and the council to build a taller building... you are right, it will impact a lot there... and it's such a pity!!!!!! I believe in miracles - maybe something happens and it won't be built! Hope you have a very beautiful week, dear friend! Hugs!

  5. Well done you & hope you do get to the top in Summer maybe. I love the story accompanying your photos & am fascinated by local facts about places. Why is it that Councillors are so bent on making our towns grow & look ugly? Happening here too & it really gets up my nose. We have thousands of new houses being built and no infrastructure in the way of schools, shops, parking spaces or better roads. Oh well, I'm just a little fish in a big sea. Hope in 2018 you achieve better health & more gorgeous yarny makes. Take care.

  6. What a delightul post Fil - I felt like I had a bit of a lovely wander along with you (without any of the exertion). Fiddler's Green and the Fairy Glen and even some blossoms - how does it get any better than that? I love the idea of Women's Christmas and will certainly find a way to celebrate it next year.


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