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Sin I Cam By Johnshaven

Welcome To

Benholm & Johnshaven 

Heritage Society

Jist a kirn o hooses

On a rocky coast

Higglety piggetty scattered

Naev wonder fowk get lost

Streets that rin roon corners

Hodden ooto sicht

An affa place tae bide in

Very dark an dreich at night

Everybody beddit lang afore eleyven

Noo that’s fat ye get fan ye ging tae Johnshaven

By Douglas Donald


Pleengs or Pleengies - gulls

Solan - gannet

Log or Loag - lugworms

Rampers - ragworm

Rotticks - dead men’s fingers

Pawpes - red beadlet anaemone

This work that created this website

 and our booklet was delivered by Ceilidhmakers [Christine Kydd, Ewan 

McVicar, Andy Shanks] and funded by a Capacity Grant, Creative Economy (Place) 

from Aberdeenshire Council.


Quo the haddie tae the fluke, “Fat gars yer mouie crook?”

“Ma mouie’s no been aven, sin I cam by Johnshaven”.

This is a famous old rhyme that recalls in the Doric Johnshaven’s fishing past.

Benholm & Johnshaven Heritage Society and the Young At Heart Club collected and published in a new booklet and this website more old and newer rhymes that people of Johnshaven, Benholm and places around remembered.

Not just children’s rhymes and games,

but those about

* places * weather

local characters and more.

Not just about fishing and the sea,

but farming * the land

and old customs.

In the Doric and in plain English.

Local folk helped by sharing memories, and by volunteering to ask other present or former Johnshaven folk to contribute.

We will also asked Johnshaven Primary pupils to help by sharing rhymes they know now.

Website text researched by Sheena Blackhall and Ewan McVicar,

images by Johnshaven Museum and Andy Shanks.



Come and learn about the very hard lives of those who have lived in this village from as far back as the 17th century. It needed strong people to survive the harsh winters and its remote location. The impact of the railway was significant. Come to our Museum, The Old Lifeboat Shed which stored the Village Lifeboat and was used to rescue those getting into difficulties in the sea for many years. Browse for yourself or let our members share the fascinating history of the last few hundred years with you. We describe the lives of fishermen, the folks who worked in the mill, the men pressganged into the Napoleonic Wars, one minute on the harbour working and the next on a ship bound to fight for their sovereign and maybe never to be seen again. The appearance of the railway meant a life less remote and contact with nearby towns. From time to time we become the Exhibition Centre for Local Artists and Photography from the pupils of a local school in early spring. We have DVDs describing our heritage and photographs showing the village buildings then and now. Maybe listen to some of the old shanties from a CD? Situated on our beautiful harbour and next to The Anchor, where you can get a very tasty bite to eat. Open weekends 1 pm to 4 pm.