Scotland the Brave

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Scotland The Brave
Alba an Àigh
Royal Banner of Scotland.svg

Unofficial anthem of  Scotland
Lyrics Cliff Hanley (unofficial), 1950

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

The tune was first played probably about the beginning of the 20th century,[1] and at that time was known sometimes as Scotland the Brave.[clarification needed] The lyrics commonly used presently were written about 1950 by the Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley for the 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] During 2006,[citation needed] it was adopted as the regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Scotland national football team used "Scotland the Brave" as its anthem for the 1982, 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups.[3][4][5][6] "Flower of Scotland" was subsequently adopted by the national football team, after its successful use by the Scotland national rugby union team.[6]

"Scotland the Brave" is a popular song for pipe bands to play in North American parades.

Unofficial national anthem[edit]

During June 2006, the song rated second in an online poll with more than 10,000 votes to determine the nation'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 in Delhi 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.

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.

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.

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.

In popular culture[edit]

  • There was a significant anachronism 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.
  • The song, played with actual bagpipes, is often played at New York Police Department funerals.
  • For the 1967 movieThe Devil's Brigade, the main theme by Alex North is composed largely of variations on the song, and when the Canadian contingent marches into at Fort William Henry Harrison, it is played by the bagpipers.
  • 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."
  • "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 is sung before all rugby games.
  • 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" off their debut album Do or Die is a reworking of "Scotland the Brave"'s melody.
  • The song is among the entrance songs for professional wrestler Roddy Piper during his time in WWE.
  • 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 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 in the movie.
  • This song is played on bagpipe and drums during the scene 'The Canadians Arrive' in the 1968 movie The Devil's Brigade. It is also played over the opening and closing credits of the film.[10]
  • The German heavy metal band Grave Digger have a version of "Scotland the Brave" as the intro of their album Tunes of War.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • This tune is the base for the school song of Brisbane school St. Laurence's College.[13]
  • In the 2005 video game TimeSplitters Future Perfect, there is a level titled "Scotland the Brave", which features a soundtrack that evokes themes from the original song.
  • In the CBS-TV show NCIS, Dr Donald Mallard 'Ducky' has it like a ring song to 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 a sim completes the Musical Genius aspiration, they have 4 songs to play to influence nearby sims. One of them being Song of Sophistication which is clearly based on "Scotland the Brave", making nearby sims change into formal wear.
  • Used as the fight song for sports teams at Glendora High School in Glendora, California. The school's mascot is the Tartans.