Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Reclaiming and preserving Scottish Lowland and Highland Stories and Mythology
To Sing Our Own Songs Once More
© Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Original can be seen here.
"Cauld blaws the wind o'er the high rocks o' Pennan
and deeply does murmur, the white faemin' sea
That clearly does indicate winter is comin'
and cauld is the winter, it will be tae me
My Jamie 's awa', my bonnie Scots Callant
and his bonnie face, nae mair I will see
He's boun' for America, o'er the sea sailin'
and left his dear native tae winter and me"
The first stanza of the High Rocks o' Pennan, a song from the early 19th or late 18th century tugs at the heart. Sung by a young woman from the Auchmedden estate, whose love is leaving for America
, she laments that she will never see him again. Bound for a new world, despite his promises to never forget, the subject of the song, Jamie appears to vanish.
The song explores the rationale of emigration and the effects of the unspoken clearances that occurred throughout the Lowlands. Although the Highlands Clearances remembered, the more devastating lowland clearances are less described. In this song, we hear the desire of every immigrant to gain land, raise a family, and control one's destiny. We listen to the rebellious nature of youth against authority. The arguments for and against leaving are made with accusations and defense against the laird and minister. We feel the loss of true love.
Whether in Pennan today, or across the world in Australia or Aotearoa, this blog will investigate the songs, stories, and heroes of the Bairds. Since the Bairds lived throughout Scotland, including the Western Isles and Highlands, we will look in the Lowlands and the Highlands to reclaim our stories, our songs, and our traditions. We will learn about James Macpherson and his rant, immortalized by Robert Burns, which occurred in Banff when the Bairds of Auchmedden lived in splendor in their townhouse. We will look at early myths of Fionn Mac Cumhaill from the Highlands and islands. We will listen to the Northeast Traveller tales of "Jack" by Stanley Robertson from Aberdeenshire and explore stone circles all while tracing the footsteps of Saints.
Keeping Our Tradition
Our Goal in this blog is to reclaim our heritage by relearning traditions and passing them to the next generation. The question is, what would you like to learn first? Songs? Myths? Stories? Leave a Comment below!