Mingulay Boat Song

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The "Mingulay Boat Song" was a song written by Sir Hugh S. Roberton (1874–1952) in the 1930s. The melody is described in Roberton's Songs of the Isles as a traditional Gaelic tune, probably titled "Lochaber".[1] The tune was part of an old Gaelic song, "Òran na Comhachaig" (the 'Creag Ghuanach' portion); from Brae Lochaber.[2][not in citation given]

Lyrics[edit]

Roberton's lyrics are as follows:[1]

Hill you ho, boys; Let her go, boys;
Bring her head round, now all together.
Hill you ho, boys; Let her go, boys;
Sailing home, home to Mingulay.

What care we though white the Minch is?
What care we for wind or weather?
Let her go boys! ev'ry inch is
Wearing home, home to Mingulay.

Wives are waiting on the bank, or
Looking seaward from the heather;
Pull her round boys! and we'll anchor,
Ere the sun sets at Mingulay.

Alternative lyrics[edit]

Later performers have adapted the song via folk process, with alterations to Roberton's lyrics. For example:[attribution needed]

Chorus:
Heel y'ho boys / let her go boys
Bring her head round / into the weather
Heel y'ho boys / let her go boys
Sailing homeward / to Mingulay!

What care we boys / how white the Minch is?
What care we boys / of windy weather
when we know that / every inch is
sailing homeward / to Mingulay?

Chorus

Wives are waiting / on the pier heads,
Gazing seaward / from the heather.
Pull her head 'round / and we'll anchor
Ere the sun sets / on Mingulay!

Chorus

The McCalmans sang their own version on the 1973 album An Audience with the McCalmans.[3]

The Corries, among the best known performers of the song,[citation needed] used the following words:[4]

Chorus
Heel yo ho, boys, let her go, boys
Swing her head round and all together
Heel yo ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

What care we though white the minch is
What care we for wind or weather
Swing her head round, every inch is
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

Chorus

Wives are waiting by the quayside
They've been waiting since break of day-o
Swing her head round, every inch is[alt 1]
Sailing homeward to Mingulay[alt 2]

Chorus

When the wind is wild with shouting
And the waves mount ever higher
Anxious eyes turn ever seaward
To see us home, boys, to Mingulay

  1. ^ or "and we'll anchor"[5]
  2. ^ or "As the sun sets o'er Mingulay"[5]

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberton, Hugh S. (1937). "Mingulay Boat Song". Songs of the Isles. London: J. Curwen & Sons. pp. 22–23. 
  2. ^ "Craig Uanach". Bliadhna nan Òran (in Scottish Gaelic). BBC. 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Mingulay Boat Song Lyrics". The McCalmans. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  4. ^ The Corries --- Mingulay Boat Song. YouTube. 
  5. ^ a b The Corries - Mingulay Boat Song. 1987.