Just a few minutes of our time boys, and I’ll give you a yarn
Told me by an old gragsman one night in a barn
Of deeds so bold, they would put yours to shame
Perlormed by a climber, Frank McComiskey by name.
Now Frank was a man born out of the norm
A man unflínched by the fiercest of storm
A man unperturbed by the steepest North Face
He would climb it unaided with a smile on his face
He would take delight in an ice filled gully
And would climb all day saying ‘What’s the hurry? ‘ .
He would dangle from his ice axe on the steepest of ground
Saying ‘there’s nothing to beat a good look around’.
He scorned the use of a tight top rope
He said they’re for soft men just like sweet smelling soap
He’d climbed most of the hills from the East to the West
And couldn’t make his mind up which one was the best.
He knew his Corbetts and he knew his Munros
(As an ordinary man might know his own toes)
He knew all their heights, both in metric and feet,
He’d climbed all but one in rain, hail snow and sleet
Now Frank loved the mountains and the pure clean fresh air
And every animal thereon, such as rabbit and hare,
An honest lad, Frank, as his daily acts showed
Such as helping blind OAP’s across busy roads.
O.K you might say, that’s not bad for a start
But what is it that made him a man so apart
A man who is known from North Pole to South
Whose deeds were passed on by quick word of mouth?
Just slow your haste boys, and take in some slack
And jam a nut in that right-hand crack
Belay yourself safely, to rush is a sin
And when you are ready, it’s then I’ll begin.
You’ve heard of a mountain whose steepness is famed
Just below Loch Earn, Ben Chonzie it’s named
A peak which had defeated the hardest of men
This is the reason I’ve put paper to pen.
Unclimbed it had stood throughout all these years
Its danger had brought forth all of man’s inner fears
It had thwarted all styles from the crude to the neat
Its summit stood virgin untrodden by feet.
Many climbers had perished on it’s dangerous slopes
There was no easy route to raise the falsest of hopes
They said it was too hard, an impossible climb
Until along came the boastful promise of one, Hamish MacLind.
MacLind was well known, second cousin to Reg Hake
And possessed most of the tracts that excess wealth makes
MacLind was a braggard of many parts
Not least of all which was, of breaking fair maidens hearts.
MacLind was a cad, who cheated at cards
And laughed at folk who had known life hard
He scoffed at the bad luck of the down and out
At parties it was always his which was the loudest shout.
‘I’ll stake a wager, ‘ he cried, one night at the bar
‘To any climber in this country or even afar
To climb a mountain well known to you all as well as me
That’s right you‘ve got it first time, I mean Ben Chonzie’.
This challenge appealed at once to our honest lad Frank
A climber equal to MacLind but lacking his swank
Without further ado he went into strict training
No matter the weather – sun, wind, hail or raining
The match was accepted, it was the talk of the land
There was to be cheap beer and sandwiches and a local brass band
As an added attraction it was to be live on T.V
А race to the summit of Ben Chonzie ‘.
The date was set for the second Sunday in Lent
Strict rules to abide by, not one to be bent
The climbers could either run, walk or hop
But the victor was he who stood first on the top.
‘The prize tis certain, it is bound to be mine
I’ll place it alongside my others,’ boasted the braggard MacLind
‘There is no man alive can match me on snow
I have no need to boast it, it‘s a fact you all know.‘
Bets were placed on the race both by laymen and toff
Frank’s odds lengthened further when he developed a cough
‘The race is unfair, an ill planned mismatch
McComiskey’s a game lad, but MacLind he’ll nae catch. ‘
The day of the race brought great crowds to Comrie
They billed it on posters as the Climb of the Century.
The braggard MacLind versus our honest lad Frank
Homely good nature against wealth and brash swank.
The Lord Provost was invited to start the great race
He wore his best robes, and he carried his mace
‘Gentlemen the race will start when the town clock strikes nine
And that clock never chimes late it’s always on time.’
The great crowds gave a roar, and the climbers were off
Frank’s slower than MacLind because of his cough
‘Good Luck and Best Wishes,’ were the shouts of the crowd
‘He’ll need it I promise’ sneered Hamish aloud.
The first part of the mountain led through steep grass and loose stones
Hard on the feet and worse on the bones
MacLind soon showed his worth as a treacherous hound
He found the signpost to the top and turned it around!
This cunning manoeuvre delayed honest Frank
As so did MacLinds’ next trick involving a plank
He’d had it pre-delivered by post to cross a large gap
No such methods by Frank, he was too nice a chap.
Up through the cloud and the rain and the rocks
When Frank felt a chill in his feet, MacLind had hobbled his socks!
He had cut out a hole in each of the toes
To slow our lad down, when he reached the cold snows.
(Meanwhile down in the valley, the brass band still played
The man selling telescopes was doing a wonderful trade
The Lord Provost viewed some badges, and not to be thought unkind
Bought a red one for Frank and a blue for MacLind )
Frank had just passed the rocks and was on the snow
When through the cold air he heard a cry from below
He listened once more not helped by the storm
And there was a cry from a maiden which sounded forlorn
Frank peered down to where he had heard the voice
And realised the situation, and his awful choice
To carry on with the race, and to aim for the prize
Or to search for the maiden with the heart rendering cries
He quickly made a decision, the one he knew was best
And took a fix on the yells, they came from the West!
He shouted up to MacLind, telling him of his fears
‘I’ve heard the cries too Frank, but I’ll shed no tears.‘
Frank quickly descended using; his compass bearing
Cursing the cold in his feet due to the socks he was wearing
Every pace he took the cries grew more loud
And then Frank saw it all through a gap in the cloud.
Down there in the valley, аn ex lady friend of MacLind
Lying stretched out across the main railway line
Her ankles and wrists tied with best No 2 Rope
And her cries of distress were those of lost hope
Miss Dolores Macness had decided to take her own life
MacLind had broken a promise to make her his wife
So she had cancelled the cake and the bottles of liquor
And dispatched a small boy to inform the vicar
She had carefully tied herself to the railway track
Making certain the ropes were not too slack
And had laid there silently awaiting her doom
By the train that arrived at & quarter past noon
But as she lay there thinking of this coward MacLind
Some fleeting thoughts passed through her mind
She gazed up at Ben Chonzie’s summit so high
And changed her mind, she did not want to die
It was then that she let out with tearful yells
Which were heard by Frank whilst high on the fells
It was this that led to deeds so bold
As you’ll soon know when this story has been told
Looking down at the scene through the misty rain
Frank felt a beat of his heart, it was the sight of a train
Chugging along towards Miss Dolores Macness
Was the 12.15 special, the Auchtermuchty express ‘.
Certainly this was not a time to be afraid
More so a time when heroes are made
Frank drew in his breath and increased his pace
For this was a far more important race.
He felt slightly sick, he felt a pain in his thighs
But what drove him on was those awful cries
(What an absolute bounder was this Hamish MacLind
To promise bethrothal, and then change his mind)
At last he reached the side of the line
He would have to act quick, he had cut it too fine!
Frank cursed to the wind on his instant bad luck
For she was secured to the line by a well tied Tarbuck
From out of his pocket he drew his penknife
And cut the ropes free from this not to be wife
The Auchtermuchty express was not ten yards away
But Frank’s quick action had saved the day.
Frank had saved Miss Macness in the nick of time
From a terrible death on the main railway line
He then laid her down in a comfortable place
And resumed his challenge in the Ben Chonzie race.
To win the race now would. need superlative power
He trailed Hamish MacLind by at least half an hour
But Frank took up the challenge, using all of his will
He drove himself fearlessly forward up that infamous hill.
The thirty minute lead was reduced to twenty then ten
An incredible climb up this dangerous Ben,
MacLind sensing Frank’ s challenge then hatched his most devious plan
To disguise himself as Macdui’s Grey Man!
Almost in sight of Ben Chonzies’ twin tops
He produced from his sack, some theatrical props
A pair of stilts, and an old sheet
That changed his size and colour, to grey and eight feet!
His evil plan was to give Frank a shock
By jumping out from behind a large rock
But he hatched his plan without enough reason
For he had forgotten it was the stag mating season!
A 12 pointer stag looked at MacLind as fair match
He thought that he was & she, and would make a fine catch
A new addition to join his harem of nine
So he moved up behind him and nudged his behind
MacLind had such a fright when he turned around
That he fell of his stilts and crashed to the ground
He raced off downhill pursued by his suitor
Not stopping; tis rumoured until he reached Cupar!
Frank reached the summit alone, and he wrote his name
Into mountaineering’s elite Hall of Fame
He was first to the top, and he had won the race
And done it all with good. manners and grace.
When later he returned to the town of Comrie
As a bonus prize he was given some sandwiches free
But this did not compare with the one he liked best
Which was a kiss on the cheek from Miss Dolores Macness.