Archive for June, 2009

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Every country has a favorite song its people rally to and call their own.

Scotland is no exception.

But, Scotland does not have an official national anthem of its own as ‘God Save The Queen’ is the national anthem of the United Kingdom.

Nevertheless, Scottish people are a passionate people who are proud of their country and their heritage and so the demand for a Scotland national anthem is gathering pace.

The Scottish Parliament have the legal power to choose a national anthem for Scotland but have still to debate the matter. They need to hurry up!

An unofficial poll by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2006 asking visitors to their website to vote for their favorite song to be Scotland’s national anthem came up with the following result:

10,000 votes were recorded.

1. Flower of Scotland – 41%
2. Scotland the Brave – 29%
3. Highland Cathedral – 16%
4. A Man’s A Man For A’ That – 7%
5. Scot’s Wha Hae – 6%

In this post I’m having a look at Scotland the Brave…

Scotland the Brave is a wonderful song full of the Highland traditions of Scotland.

It brings to mind images of the old times in Scotland with the bagpipes calling the people together in the hills and glens of the Scottish Highlands.

Images of passionate people proud of the beauty of their country and the friendships to be found there.

Thoughts of home for Scottish people who have traveled to distant shores and have a homesickness in their hearts for their country and a burning desire to return.

It is a stirring song with a lively rhythm bringing a spring to your step and a swirl of your kilt as you hear it played on the bagpipes…

It is a fitting contender to be chosen as Scotland’s national anthem.

Have a listen to this utube video and you will see what I mean…

The tune was written about the beginning of the 20th century.

The lyrics were written by a Scottish journalist… Cliff Hanley… round about 1950 for a popular Scottish entertainer of the time… Robert Wilson.

Have a read through the lyrics below and if you feel inclined sing them as you listen to the bagpipes playing in the video.

Scotland the Brave

Lyrics by Cliff Hanley

Hark! When the night is falling
Hark! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling, down through the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Chorus
Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever, Scotland the brave.

High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens’ eyes.

Chorus

Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.

Chorus

There are loads of Scotland travel tours you can take when you are on vacation in Scotland and some of the best can be found in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a great place for you to take tours as most of the good things to see and do are in the city center or within a few minutes using local transport.

1. Taking A Tour On A Bus

One of the best ways of seeing Edinburgh for the first time is to take a trip on a local bus. There are city trips you can take on open-top buses where you buy a ticket and you can hop on and off as you wish. Or you can travel by a regular ‘Lothian Bus’ to see places of interest all over the city.

BusPhoto: lambda_X

Tours by bus leave from Edinburgh to all parts of Scotland. You can also take luxury coaches for day tours or package tours lasting for a number of days from Edinburgh.

For example, here are a few of the tours offered by Scotline Tours, Edinburgh

  1. Scottish Border Abbeys Tour
  2. Highland Spirit, Castle & Whisky Tour
  3. Day Tour to The West Highlands, Loch Ness & The Isle of Skye

Loch Ness silhouettes
Photo: nagillum

2. Tours To Take In Edinburgh Using A Travel Pass

A really great way to see Edinburgh is to buy a travel pass. It is a very cost effective way of doing your sightseeing as it includes ‘free’ entry into 30 top attractions in Edinburgh.

There is a travel pass for adults and children available for 1, 2 or 3 days.

You can buy the travel pass at tourist information centers and other local venues.

A few of the attractions included in the pass having free entry are:

  • The 3D Loch Ness Experience
  • Auld Reekie Tours-The Haunted Underground Tour
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour
  • John Knox House
  • Mercat Tours – The Historic Vaults Tour
  • Mercat Tours – Secrets of the Royal Mile
  • National Galleries of Scotland
  • Glenkinchie Distillery
  • and many more…

 

Edinburgh - Old Town - Royal Mile
Photo: harshilshah100

3. Should You Take An Organised Tour?

Most people agree that the best advantage to taking an organised tour in Edinburgh is having a guide… that is someone… a person who will tell you all the insider bits you can’t find in a guide book.

There is nothing better than being in the company of a local person who knows his subject inside out… who can tell you really interesting stories only local people know and who will answer your questions accurately and completely.

But, if you don’t like being tied to a group and a guide then maybe taking an organised tour is not for you. It may be you prefer to buy a good local guide book and set of exploring the city using local buses, trains and soon the tram, to find out for yourself the magic and splendour that is Edinburgh.

If you like to get back to basics when you go on vacation then there is no better Scotland travel tour than chatting to the local Scots in a pub. You will be made to feel very welcome.

Busy Princes Street, Edinburgh
Photo: VerseVend