The Skyline of Skye – some great hill songs what is yours?  

I have great memories of the mountains and in my early days with the RAF Teams we would sing in the pub after a hill day. That is what folks did in the 70’s seemingly. We all had to learn a song when we joined the team and sing it?

1972 Skye eye opener on the ridge in Easter.

We were often joined by many locals  who had fiddles etc and for many years all over Scotland the pubs would be full of singers after a day out on the hills.

The Tradition of singing goes back Kinlochewe 1951 after Lancaster Crash the troops had a few instruments in these days. Photo Joss Gosling

Many of the songs were not just about the hills there were many great songs about the sea especially on the West Coast also about Scottish/ Irish history till the troubles in Ireland stopped it! My song badly sung was “Shoals of herring”, Jim Morning sang “Peggy Gordon” so many other favourites were sung like the Ballahulish Ferry ( River gambler edition)

What are your favourite songs ?

This is one of mine “The Skyline of Skye “and my old pal Tuech Brewer used to sing this and I loved it. He is a big bear of a man but could hush the pub with this magic song.

The islands are calling me back home againAnd I long for the skyline of Skye.

A lassie is waiting, sweet flow’r of the glen,

‘Neath the beautiful skyline of Skye.

I left her one springtime; oh, I loved her so!

The blue mountains whispered, “You’re foolish to go.”

As I sailed with the tide, something died here inside.

How I cried for the skyline of Skye!

In mem’ry I’m hearing the ghost of her tune

That keeps haunting my heart with a sigh.


It tells of her parting that sad afternoon.

In Pin on a misty Skye

It’s the song of the skyline of Skye.

The road to the islands comes down to the sea,

And that’s where my love will be waiting for me,

And together we’ll stay till we’re both old and grey

‘Neath the beautiful skyline of Skye.

So there were so many more other favourites Dark Lochnagar, Schieihallion, Wild Mountain Thyme, Will you go lassie go, Glencoe, Manchester Rambler, Cloggy song.

Skye fun times.

I am heading over in September cannot wait to see the Skyline of Skye.

Cioch Direct with a young Gaz Williams.


“Said Maylard to Solly one day in Glenbrittle,

All serious climbing, I vote is a bore,

Just for once, I Dubh Beag you’ll agree to do little,

And, as less we can’t do, let’s go straight to Dubh Mhor,

So now when they seek but a days relaxation,

With no thought in the world but of viewing the views,

And regarding the mountains in mute adoration,

They call it not climbing but “Doing The Dubhs”

Some of the replies great interest.

Mountain Songs

  1. N.Reid – Aye, folk still do it (sometimes) in the 20-teens. There are a good few songs among the Cairngorms bothy crowd which get regular airings.
  2. b.Carr – loads Heavy but think my all time favourite is The Ballad of Glencoe.
    Awesome with all the lads singing. ❤
  3. Trangmuir – I think Wild Rover would be my favourite. Rousing chorus!
  4. Jones – Remember Tony Jones singing cock robin in Swahili. His party piece.
  5. T.Bradshaw. – ame in the Sixtys too Kinloss had a songbook , songs by the Clancy brothers and tommy makem…….Wild Rover , Irish Rover, The Leaving Of Liverpool…and many more …
  6. r.Russel – Yup how true it was Heavy. I wonder if this tradition has sadly ‘gone’ in this digital age?
  7. A.Craig – Started to die out from the 80s apart from Reunions. The Ogilvy Arms back bar in Clova was possibly the greatest singing venue (and stovies!)
  8. W.Woodyat – he back bar at Cobdens , Capel Curig was a cracking the early 70s .
    Lots of singing and drinking with Ogggie and the RAF teams together.

P . Morrison – Mingulay Boat Song,  You have probably sung more than most, what’s yours Heavy?

  1. Gerrard – A lassie was waiting sweet flower oh the Glen…….
    Mine is These are my mountains,this is my Glen the braes oh my childhood..
  2. S.Sheehan – I have the song books somewhere.  Dundee Weaver.
  3. Jackson – I Never will Marry” – Oh well that didn’t work out – work out- work out.

“I never will marry or take me a wife I’d rather stay single the rest of my life????????”Heavy not for want of trying?????

Chalky White – The great news is that this music is alive and well and living in Newfoundland.

Rhys Dobbs – Come by the hills.

  1. A.Craig – Fiddlers Green and the McFadyen singing the Loch Tay Boatsong .

S, Atkins – Smudge’s solo recital of ‘Green Fields of Franc’e was a beautiful thing to hear, back in the day. Only bettered by Wiggy’s ‘Cod Liver Oil and Orange Juice’ whilst barely managing to remain standing.

M.Coward – Ugly bug ball

  1. Bradshaw – Written by one of my relatives…


The Ballad of Idwal Slabs… Showell Styles

I’ll tell you the tale of a climber; a drama of love on…


  1. Wragg – Hi Tony, can still remember some of them must have been burnt into my brain, should be grateful something has stayed in there I think a lot of things are missing, must be this age thing.
  2. D.Mitchell – Used to sing em when trying to get the bairn to sleep. ‘All for the want of a nail’, Greenland Whale.

P White –  Bet that worked a treat.

  1. S.Sheenan – “When your a thousand feet high and your nearing the sky and you can’t get a grip on the shale there’s a smashing belay only 10 feet away and it’s all for the want of a nail.”

Next Blog on Poems – great reply’s thanks Heavy

  1. B..Skelson – And the occasional poem! “…..he was tall he was fair he was handsome, John Christopher Brown was his name. The very severes, nearly bored him to tears, and he felt about girls much the same!!”




About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, History, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Music & Cinema, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Skyline of Skye – some great hill songs what is yours?  

  1. Bill Skelson - Skeloon says:

    Always took my guitar oot wi the team. Great fun getting the whole pub singing, and occassionally someone would by the player a pint or a dram! Had a squeeze box player in the team as well, Tink Shearer, RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

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