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Margaret Grant (nee McWilliam) was born in Kinnoir in 1938 and is the eldest daughter of Willie and Helen McWilliam who are featured here on this site.

A retired Law Accountant, she attended Kinnoir School and The Gordon Schools, Huntly. She has had three books of Doric verse published,

Jist for a Lauch in 1999

Anither Keckle in 2003,

In 2008, a third book of Humourous Doric Verse (The Last Lauch) was published.

Her works have also appeared in print in The Leopard

Margaret is a keen observer of country life and her poetry reflects this insightful


(An example of her works can be read here (The 90th Birthday Poem - a poem dedicated to her Father, Mr Willie McWilliam)

Her Doric Verse is rightly admired across the North East of Scotland and wherever Doric speakers find themselves.

In 2013, Margaret was appointed the Makar of Huntly by the Huntly Writers (an association of authors, poets and essayists  with links to Huntly)  

The title of “Makar” or “Makaar”  is term from old Scots literature for a poet or bard and conveys a great honour on the holder of the title.  Read more about the Makars here

Margaret continues to take a keen interest in literature and is an active member of the Huntly Writers.

One of Margaret’s favourite Doric poems is “SLOW AIR” reproduced below - a tale of human talent stimulating strong emotions as well as creating music from an old fiddle.



It cam fae a roup wi a pucklie o trock

A feow lugless cuppies, an aul farrant knock

But a lickie o varnish, a dabbie o glue

Fower strings an that fiddle wis gey near like new

Fae a lad that cwid play he’d a lesson or twa

Seen maistert his scales as he scraipit awa

Practised at nicht fingers dirlin an sair

Wi jist ae ambition, tae learn a slow air

Inspired by the maestros like Skinner an Gow

He gaed intil a dwam when he raxed for his bow

“The Conundrum”, “High Level”, “The Laird O Drumblair”

Syne “Aul Robin Gray”, his favourite slow air

Strong, sensitive fingers caressin a string

Grace notes sae sweet garrt the aul fiddle sing

Nae lieder by Schubert his senses cwid ser

Like the moumfu lament o a weel played slow air

But jints turn stiff, aul age comes till’s aa

He’d tae lay doon the bow, pit the rossit awa

A sad sicht wis yon, near some much tae bear

The callused aul fingers, the hinmaist slow air

In the order o things the young hiv their place

Tae the next generation he boo’t wi gweed grace

An the likes o Paul Anderson, wi pathos an flair

Moved an aul man tae tears wi mony a slow air

As they lowered him doon in a bonny lythe neuk

The quaet, wi reverence, the minister brook

“Earth tae earth, dust tae dust”, ower the words o the prayer

Faint cam the strains o a hauntin slow air

By Tashalia Nichole Meyers- Wikipedia Commons

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One of the duties of the Makar is to produce poems that reflect current events and Margaret Grant has not disappointed in this regard. Reproduced below is a poem she wrote to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The poem was inspired by letters sent by Margaret’s uncle, Corporal John McWilliam of the Gordon Highlanders, to his mother. Sadly John fell at Ypres.


Dear Mither here’s a twa-three lines

fae somewye ower in France

Far the Kaiser and his cohorts

hiv led us a merry dance.

I cwidna wyte tae dicht the dubs

o Scotland fae my beets

but in this God-forsaken howe

they’re hine up ower my queets.

The trenches crawl wi vermin

ye nivver saw sic rats

an there’s flechs the size o gollachs

bite bitin throu my spats.

I ken I scunnert at the hyow

or stookin in the rain

but if I get oot o this place hale

I’ll nivver girn again.

For the green parks o Strathbogie

wid be like heaven to me

oh Mither, foo I wish I cwid

come hame an tak a fee.

Foo’s abody deein on the craft

his Faither aye yon host?

I hear Dod Smith has copped it

his fowk’ll be gey lost.

An fit aboot the young eens

has Maggie got a place?

hank God Bill’s nae aul eneuch

tae face fit I’ve tae face.

That’s aa I hiv tae say for noo

but this war will seen be won

dinna worry, Mither, I’ll be fine

Fae John, yer lovin son.

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100th Anniversary of First World War Tribute