Exploring Greenwich - Part 3: Adventures of the Cutty Sark
A glistening ship overlooking the river Thames and moored in Greenwich, is the Cutty Sark, the only surviving 19th century extreme clipper built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1869. It was used for transporting goods across the world, majorly tea and wool.
Now 150 years old, but during its years as a British merchant ship, it visited sixteen different countries and travelled the equivalent of two and a half voyages to the moon and back! 🌚
So, here I am with the third series of my exploring Greenwich (just so much to show and tell...!!!). I spent a beautiful evening by the shores of the river Thames, completely mesmerised by this huge iconic ship standing tall and beautiful, shining through a very pretty crescent moon night.
The blue skies made it look even more beautiful. To one side, I had this huge ship and to the other the beautiful sunshine disappearing into the river and bringing up the night.
Reading more & more on the web about this magnificent sailing beauty, I got to know the story behind this adventurous name of Cutty Sark. I couldn't resist myself to posting it here... (trust me, it gets exciting right till the end🤩)
The hyphenated, Cutty-sark was a nickname given to the witch Nannie Dee (notice her at the extreme front of the ship), a fictional character created by Robert Burns in his Tam o' Shanter, after the garment she wore.
The drunken Tam, riding home on his horse, happens upon a witches' dance. Among the dancing figures is a particularly beautiful young witch named Nannie. She is wearing a harn (linen) sark (nightshirt) which fitted her as a child (a "lassie") but is now rather too short for her:
Her cutty sark, o' Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kend thy reverend grannie
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie
Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches)
Wad ever graced a dance of witches!
Tam is so enthralled by the erotic spectacle that he cannot contain himself and yells out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" (line 189). The witches are now alerted to his presence and pursue him. Tam heads for the River Doon, because, according to folklore, witches cannot cross running water. He makes it across the bridge to safety, but not before Nannie, the "Cutty-sark", has torn the tail from his horse. The poem ends ironically, with a mock warning to all men of the devilish consequences of thinking about scantily-clad females.
Interesting huh?! Not just a ship, but there's even a Scottish-brand of Whiskey in the name of this witch.
Indeed Very Weel Done, Cutty Sark!🥂