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'Manchester Rambler'

Ewan MacCollEwan MacColl was born in Salford in 1915. He left school in 1929, joined the Young Communist League and the socialist amateur theatre troupe, the Clarion Players. He began his career as a writer helping produce, and contributing humorous verse and skits to some of the Communist Party's factory papers.

He was an activist in the unemployed workers campaigns and the mass trespasses of the early 1930s. "The Manchester Rambler", was written after the pivotal mass trespass of Kinder Scout. He was responsible for publicity in the planning of the trespass.
(Information from Wikipedia.   More about Ewan MacColl)


Mike Harding sings 'The Manchester Rambler' at the
75th anniversary celebrations of the Kinder Trespass


Manchester Rambler ( Ewan MacColl)

I've been over Snowdon, I've slept upon Crowdon,
I've camped by the Wain Stones as well,
I've sunbathed on Kinder, been burned to a cinder,
And many more things I can tell.
My rucksack has oft been me pillow,
The heather has oft been me bed,
And sooner than part from the mountains,
I think I would rather be dead.

Chorus: I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler from Manchester way,
I get all me pleasure the hard moorland way,
I may be a wage slave on Monday,
But I am a free man on Sunday.

[There's pleasure in dragging through peat bogs and bragging
Of all the fine walks that you know;
There's even a measure of some kind of pleasure
In wading through ten feet of snow.
I've stood on the edge of the Downfall,
And seen all the valleys outspread,
And sooner than part from the mountains,
I think I would rather be dead.]

The day was just ending and I was descending
Through Grindsbrook just by Upper-Tor,
When a voice cried, "Hey, you!", in the way keepers do,
(He'd the worst face that ever I saw).
The things that he said were unpleasant;
In the teeth of his fury I said
"Sooner than part from the mountains,
I think I would rather be dead"

He called me a louse and said "Think of the grouse".
Well I thought, but I still couldn't see
Why old Kinder Scout and the moors round about
Couldn't take both the poor grouse and me.
He said "All this land is my master's".
At that I stood shaking my head,
No man has the right to own mountains
Any more than the deep ocean bed

I once loved a maid, a spot welder by trade,
She was fair as the Rowan in bloom,
And the bloom of her eye matched the blue moorland sky,
I wooed her from April to June.
On the day that we should have been married,
I went for a ramble instead,
For sooner than part from the mountains,
I think I would rather be dead

So I'll walk where I will over mountain and hill
And I'll lie where the bracken is deep,
I belong to the mountains, the clear running fountains
Where the grey rocks lie rugged and steep.
I've seen the white hare in the gulleys,
And the curlew fly high overhead,
And sooner than part from the mountains
I think I would rather be dead.

YouTube Audio of Ewan MacColl singing 'Manchester Rambler'

Score and Lyrics for 'Manchester Rambler'

Midi music score

Last Modified: 3 Mar 2012