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Old 16-02-2012, 06:40   #1
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Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

This is something I have wondered about for over 40 years... Outside the old fishing village "Hamn" (means "harbour") on the west coast of the island Senja is a buyo mysteriously named "the Duncan Grey buyo" or "Dunkan Greybåen";


- or maybe better go to Gule Sider® Kart and click "Sjøkart".

When our family had our summer holidays in the late 60's/early 70's, we often lived there for a week or two. My father would rent a boat, and we went fishing in the archipelago outside in Bergsfjorden. On the way in and out from Hamn we would pass this buyo, only called "Duncangreybåen" - in one word - with no explanation as to how and why it had got its name. So - who was Duncan Grey? A possible lead would be the old nickel mine at "Hellandsneset", some 900 meters WSW from the map point in the above link. He may have been an investor or foreman in the mine, the captain of a ship transporting the nickel from the mine, or something else not connected with the mine. There is a smattering of history about Hamn and the mine here: Hamn i Senja - About Hamn i Senja but no mention of D.G.

With that, I yield the thread to the collective wisdom and expertise of this forum - anyone?
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Old 16-02-2012, 06:59   #2
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pirate Re: Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

Courtesy of 'Rabbie Burns'...

Tune--"_Duncan Gray._"

[The original Duncan Gray, out of which the present strain was
extracted for Johnson, had no right to be called a lad of grace:
another version, and in a happier mood, was written for Thomson.]

I.
Weary fa' you, Duncan Gray--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Wae gae by you, Duncan Gray--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
When a' the lave gae to their play,
Then I maun sit the lee lang day,
And jog the cradle wi' my tae,
And a' for the girdin o't!
II.
Bonnie was the Lammas moon--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Glowrin' a' the hills aboon--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
The girdin brak, the beast cam down,
I tint my curch, and baith my shoon;
Ah! Duncan, ye're an unco loon--
Wae on the bad girdin o't!
III.
But, Duncan, gin ye'll keep your aith--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
I'se bless you wi' my hindmost breath--
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Duncan, gin ye'll keep your aith,
The beast again can bear us baith,
And auld Mess John will mend the skaith,
And clout the bad girdin o't.
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Old 16-02-2012, 09:33   #3
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Re: Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

Boatman: Confusing Norwegians with 250 year old Scots dialect since...well, a pretty long time.
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Old 16-02-2012, 09:55   #4
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Re: Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Boatman: Confusing Norwegians with 250 year old Scots dialect since...well, a pretty long time.
No pertinence so far to the question, afaik. I understand some 40-50% of the above poem/lyrics (half of my family name, "Wittington", may be the reason, if there is such a thing as genetic-linguistic memory...

... "Then I maun sit the lee lang day," "Maun" echoes "må" (have to), "lang" in Norwegian = "long" in English - othervise the sentence is rather cryptic.

Should maybe have added the caveat "only those above 70 years of age need reply" to the initial posting...

PS - the link to the map above opens in a wrong location. To find the buyo spot, go to http://kart.gulesider.no/ , enter "Indre Hamn, Berg" in the search box, click "Søk" and then click "Sjøkart" and move the map slightly in a westerly direction to uncover the buyo.
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Old 16-02-2012, 14:56   #5
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Re: Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

There was a whaling ship, the 'Duncan Grey' that worked off the Norwegian coast. Interesting article here:
WILLIAM SLAYING WHALES - CHASE IN THE DUNCAN GREY OFF THIS NORWEGIAN COAST. STEAM AND EXPLOSIVE SHELLS GIVE LEVIATHAN LITTLE CHANCE TO ESCAPE THE EMPEROR -- WHALES MOVE IN CIRCLES -- NO ROWING AFTER THE SCHOOLS. - View Article - NYTimes.com

Regards,

Richard.
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Old 16-02-2012, 15:44   #6
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Re: Who was Duncan Grey? (history)

Quote:
Originally Posted by boden36 View Post
Thanks for the tip! Searching on the assumption "boat" instead of "person", this popped up:

"She was built in 1884 as Duncan Grey, said to be named for one of the British shareholder’s sons. There is, however, an 18th-century folk ballad Duncan Gray (usually spelled with an ‘a’), which is a fairly explicit bawdy ballad.)"

- Hat tip to Boatman61! But I'll have to have the explicitness explained to me...

Further -
"On 15 July 1892, the German emperor Wilhelm II, made a 13-hour pleasure whaling trip on Duncan Grey, and a sei whale was harpooned. The maritime court painter Carl Saltzmann commemorated the monarch’s hunt in a very dramatic painting. Versions were quickly published in illustrated magazines worldwide."

Source: http://www.southgeorgiaassociation.o...2007_nl_13.pdf

Looking at the mountains in the background of the painting on page 3, it could well be the west coast of Senja since the article mentions that "Duncan Grey started whaling near Tromsø in 1885", a timeframe in which Hamn saw its largest population ever.

Given the relatively narrow and shallow passage on this approach to the Hamn lagoon (the 2nd best for a boat this size; the best is straight west), the boat may have touched ground at the spot the buyo is now, on its way in for bunker or something.

So! It looks like the mystery is mostly solved. Thank you to all who contributed!
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