Scotland the Brave

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alba an Àigh
English: Scotland the Brave
Scotland the Brave.jpg

Unofficial anthem of  Scotland
LyricsCliff Hanley (unofficial), 1950
MusicUnknown composer, 1911
Audio sample
"Scotland the Brave" (instrumental)

"Scotland the Brave" (Scottish Gaelic: Alba an Àigh) is a Scottish patriotic song, one of several often considered an unofficial Scottish national anthem (the others being "Flower of Scotland" and "Scots Wha Hae").


The tune was first played probably in the late 19th century.[1] The lyrics commonly used now were written about 1950 by Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley for singer Robert Wilson as part of an arrangement by Marion McClurg.

"Scotland the Brave" is also the authorised pipe band march of the British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Armed Forces,[2] and also is played during the Pass in Review at Friday parades at The Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute.[citation needed] In 2006,[citation needed] it was adopted as the regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

"Scotland the Brave" was played before matches involving the Scottish team at the 1982, 1986, and 1990 FIFA World Cups.[3][4][5][6] "Flower of Scotland" was subsequently adopted by Scotland for use at FIFA-sponsored events, after its usage by the Scottish rugby union team.[6]

In June 2006, the song rated second in an online poll with more than 10,000 votes to determine Scotland's favourite unofficial anthem, losing only to "Flower of Scotland".[7] The song was used to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games until it was replaced by "Flower of Scotland" from the 2010 games onwards.[8]


Hark when the night is falling
Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits
Of the old Highland men.

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.

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.

In popular culture[edit]

  • A significant anachronism occurred in Kenneth Branagh's television movie Shackleton, wherein some of the characters sang this song.
  • The character Piper from the game Crossy Road plays it on his bagpipes.
  • Pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper used the song as his entrance music throughout his career. He also performed the song on the bagpipes, alongside the Balmoral Highlanders, at WWF's SummerSlam '92 held in Wembley Stadium.
  • The song, played with actual bagpipes, is often played at New York Police Department funerals.
  • In the 1968 movie The Devil's Brigade, composer Alex North uses the melody as the beginning for the opening theme, and with variations, throughout the film score; the song is played by the bagpipers of the Canadian component of the 1st Special Service Force when they march into Fort William Henry Harrison to the disbelief of their US counterparts.
  • In the 1970 movie Patton, the song is played by the band of the British Eighth Army in a victory parade through the streets of Messina, led by General Bernard Law Montgomery, before discovering that General George S. Patton and his Seventh US Army were already there to meet him. After a short exchange between the rival commanders, "Scotland the Brave" is struck up again, but is then symbolically drowned out by the American band's rendition of "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
  • A bastardised and nonlyrical version of "Scotland the Brave" is used by St. Olaf College's Men's Rugby Club to rally before every game. The melody is chanted while the team high kicks in a circle and a sword is waved around.
  • "Scotland the Brave" is sometimes used as an unofficial fight song by Macalester College, whose athletic teams are nicknamed the Fighting Scots. Additionally, a modified version is sung after a football victory, and the opening verse and chorus are sung before all rugby games.
  • "Scotland the Brave" is the fight song for the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Fighting Scots. It is played by both the Spirit of the Scots Marching Band and the university's Pipe Band.
  • It is played by a bagpiper during the opening of Peter Weir's movie Dead Poets Society (1989).
  • The Dropkick Murphys song "Cadence to Arms" from their debut album Do or Die is a reworking of "Scotland the Brave"'s melody.
  • Dorothy the Dinosaur dances to this song in the Wiggles' 1997 videotape Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas.
  • A comic version by The Corries mixes humorous and topical lyrics.[9]
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hymn "Praise to the Man" is set to the tune of "Scotland the Brave".
  • The melody is also used for the Hawkesbury Agricultural College Rugby Team chant "Hawkesbury the Brave".
  • The Halifax Mooseheads Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team plays a techno version of the song when the Mooseheads score.
  • This tune can be heard being played on bagpipe during the funeral ceremony in the popular movie The Departed, as well as being the ringtone for character Frank Costello in his final scene of the film.
  • German heavy metal band Grave Digger have a version of "Scotland the Brave" as the introduction of their album Tunes of War.[10]
  • The first verse and chorus of Hanely's version are sung a cappella in Stuart Ross' 1990 musical movie Forever Plaid.
  • The Scottish ITV television station Grampian Television used the first few notes of the song in its logo identifications (or "idents") during its first three decades of broadcasting.[11]
  • This tune is the base for the school song of Brisbane school St. Laurence's College.[12]
  • In the 2005 video game TimeSplitters Future Perfect, a level titled "Scotland the Brave" features a soundtrack that evokes themes from the original song.
  • In the CBS-TV show NCIS, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, a Scottish-born character played by Scottish-born actor David McCallum, uses a bagpipe version of "Scotland the Brave" as the ring tone for his cellphone.
  • The character Rowena of The CW's Supernatural can sometimes be heard humming "Scotland the Brave" during the show.
  • In the video game The Sims 4, when Sims complete the Musical Genius aspiration, they have four songs to play to influence nearby Sims. One of them is "Song of Sophistication", which is clearly based on "Scotland the Brave", making nearby Sims change into formal wear.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, a Scottish bagpipe player is heard playing "Scotland the Brave" as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz curses him for playing it 24/7.
  • In Goon, an instrumental version of "Scotland the Brave" performed by the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Tank Regiment can be heard as the Halifax Highlanders prepare to take the ice against the St. John Shamrocks in the final game of the movie.[13][14]
  • In the video game Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and Fall, Scotland's musical theme, composed and arranged by Geoff Knorr, is based on "Scotland the Brave" and the folk song "Bonnie Dundee".
  • In the video game World of Tanks, the song can be heard on the map Westfield.
  • The melody of "Scotland the Brave" is repeatedly quoted in the song "SportsCandy", from the 2014 LazyTown episode "New Kid in Town".
  • In 1996, German rave band the Scooter used the theme in the introduction of their Wicked! album.
  • The tenor saxophone section of the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band plays the song as a section anthem. The tradition, referred to by the section as "Ditty", was started as a joke to make fun of Michigan State's rival, the University of Notre Dame.
  • In the video game Holdfast: Nations At War, the song can be played by players as a British Empire bagpiper.
  • The University of Chicago alma mater is sung to the tune of Scotland the Brave during graduations with the university's bagpipe corps leading the processional.


  2. ^ Canadian Forces webpage. Retrieved 25 January 2013
  3. ^ "Scotland vs Denmark 1986".[dead link]
  4. ^ "URSS vs Scotland 1982". Archived from the original on 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ Hamilton, Fiona (7 February 2010). "Margaret Thatcher feared the Scotland the Brave anthem". The Sunday Times. London.
  6. ^ a b Mills, Rod (3 February 2010). "Thatcher was terrified by Scotland the Brave". Daily Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  7. ^ The Royal Scottish National Orchestra – Stéphane Denève (Music Director) – The RSNO National Anthem Poll Winner Archived 15 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Games team picks new Scots anthem". BBC News. 9 January 2010.
  9. ^ Iain40 (4 October 2006). "The Corries Scotland The Brave (humorous)" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Grave digger The Brave intro".
  11. ^ Rapier, Multimedia. "ITV Grampian television ident compilation". Retrieved 29 January 2015 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "St Laurence's College " College Song and War Cry". Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  13. ^ Cashby (16 December 2012), Goon Scotland the Brave, retrieved 13 December 2017
  14. ^ Goon (2011), retrieved 13 December 2017