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The Rumblin Goat

Near The Chapel---at low tide.


At the upper top, right, notice the rusty remains of the two large iron bolts that secured the heavy backing-up wooden beam to the notch, cut in the rocks.  Time and the weather have disintegrated the wooden beam.


A very important part of living our everyday lives is getting rid of our trash.


Earlsferry in my early years had a very unique way to make our garbage vanish.


In those days there were no wheelie bins, no black plastic bags, no giant diesel engined  hydraulic automated trash compacting lorries, no land fill site.


The trash we generated disappeared in quite a marvelous way. The sea gobbled it up. The Rumblin Goat caused every last tiny bit of our rubbish to simply vanish.


Each house had a container for refuse that was put out on the street on Monday mornings. If you had items such as old iron bed rails or whatever you just placed them along side.  In these days with  different lifestyles and eating habits people generated only a fraction of the trash that's created today.


At the appointed hour our waste disposal man with Nellie his Clydesdale horse and cart, started their round of the village. 


When the cart got full Nellie knew where to go. Nellie headed west to Chapel Green where the roadway, instead of being a turn-around as it is now, went past the Chapel and continued straight on down over the rocks to the sea to the place that's called the Rumblin Goat.  The Rumblin Goat is a natural sea scoured channel about fifteen feet wide and almost as deep. The channel is curved and dead ends into a small cave or cavern. As the tide rushes in waves flow along the channel with great hydraulic force and ram into the cavern to pound whatever is in there to fragments. As the wave covers the mouth of the cavern the air inside is compressed and with a great woosh the sea explodes outward.


Just above the end of the channel was fastened a heavy wooden beam. When Nellie got there with her load she knew how to turn around and back up the cart until the wheels were against the beam. At this point Bob pulled a pin then heaved on a big lever bar and the cart up-ended sending all of the rubbish down to the floor of the channel. The incoming tide caused the waves in the channel to pound the deposited material against the end of the cavern with repeated hammer-like blows until everything disintegrated into oblivion. It's strange but not one visible bit of material exited the channel. Things made of metals immediately started to rust and corrode and it wasn't long before the salt water  made them vanish. The big exception was lead but it didn't linger for long as Earlsferry boys  collected it to mold, sinkers for sea fishing lines, fishing lures (Spruels) and lead keels for our self made model yachts. I had aluminium moulds to mould toy soldiers, and toy animals and this was another use that I made of the lead that I salvaged.  In time I had maybe a hundred toy soldiers each one of which I very carefully painted. The animals I cast were elephants, lions, tigers, kangaroos, monkeys, bears and several others. Lead was also a material of choice for the weighting of golf clubs that had wooden heads.


About 1936 our waste disposal man retired and Nellie went out to pasture. This event, which coincided with the dawn of the age of disposable plastics, became the end of the era of our rubbish ending up in the Rumblin Goat.  A new system of collecting the local refuse was instituted by a landfill (The Coup) being created a half  mile away up the Ferry Road, alongside of where the east coast railway line used to be and just beyond the  second fairway of the 9 hole Elie golf course.


 Nellie got replaced by a motorized vehicle.


As a remembrance of how life was in Earlsferry in bygone days the the wooden beam and the heavy iron bolts should be replaced.


It's fun  to go to the Rumblin Goat, especially on stormy days, to see the powerful waves surge into the foam filled channel and to see the noisy sea blasting back out of the hole.


Now a word of caution. (Guess I'm getting old.) The Rumblin Goat is completely unguarded. For every thing there is a first time and while it has never happened to my knowledge, if, on a stormy day,  you slipped and fell in to the Rumblin Goat it's quite possible that you might not get back out --- alive.