40Things: sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.

Ilkley from Rombolds Moor

One of my 40things is to do some volunteerings. One of the things I help out at is Thought Bubble, so in order to do something new I thought I’d be a volunteer for the Tour de France Grand Depart which is happening in Leeds and Yorkshire. So I applied, was accepted and now I’m waiting to find out exactly what I’ll be doing.

However, there’s a Festival going on around the Grand Depart, with lots of art and culture and things. And try as I might I can’t find something I really expected to be there; a choir, possibly accompanied by a small number of brass instruments, singing the Yorkshire Anthem On Ilkley Moor Baa’t ‘At.

In French. Clearly. Because bikes.

The lyrics to OIMBA are fairly straightforwards if you speak Yorkshire; it’s a cautionary warning to a chap gone out in pursuit of a young lady without sufficient protective headgear to prevent a cold (although in the days it was written this would be more likely pluerisy), who then dies, and through a simplified but adequate description of the food chain is eaten by those who did, indeed, wear a hat (and it is intimated that said survivor may have succeeded in the wooing). In fact, if it were made as a piece of cinema verite it would probably win awards galore at French film festivals. It is quintissentially French in tone. So translating it should be a piece of cake.

So, here are the lyrics in French, should a choir want to have a go at scoring it. I used Google Translate for the below, because I’m lazy and it’s much better than it used to be. I’ve tried to get it to match with the tune, but there’s a few elongated syllables.


Où avez-vous été depuis que je t’ai vu?
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
Où avez-vous été depuis que je t’ai vu?
Où avez-vous été depuis que je t’ai vu?

Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.

(In case you don’t know, the rest of the verses follow the same pattern. Listen to the song if you don’t know it.)


Vous avez été courtiser Mary Jane.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
[…]

Vous allez attraper un rhume qui vous tuer.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
[…]

Nous serons obligés de vous enterrer.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
[…]

Les vers arrivent et vous dévorera.
[…]

Les vers seront mangés par les canards.
[…]

Donc, nous allons manger les canards.
[…]

Donc, nous finissons tous vous manger.
[…]

Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.
Sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.

Take it and run, folks. I want to hear of at least one choir somewhere on the route doing this, please. It would make my day, especially if you’re near where I’m stewarding.

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One Response to 40Things: sur Ilkley Moor sans chapeau.

  1. If this does not happen, Yorkshire, you will have missed an absolute sitter ^^

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