Sangstories - Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional and newer songs sung by Sangschule of Linlithgow

Cloudberry Day

Words and Tune by Geordie McIntyre

We made our way on a cloudberry day
Across the rolling hills tae Yarrow

Summer days are here, the laverock singing clear,
Across the rolling hills tae Yarrow

Heard the golden plover call, saw the kestrel rise and fall
Across the rolling hills tae Yarrow

Distant views tae misty dens, Glamourie beyond oor ken,
Across the rolling hills tae Yarrow

When we reached the Douglasburn, we sang a song in turn,
Tae ease the winding way tae Yarrow

Yarrow's stream came into view, and the guid auld Gordon too,
Time tae quench oor drouth at Yarrow

At the toon foot rendezvous, Charlie's welcome ever true,
Enjoined in freenship's name in Yarrow.

So near, so far away, we celebrate the day
We crossed the rolling hills tae Yarrow

We made our way on a cloudberry day
Across the rolling hills tae Yarrow


Words:
Cloudberry: a low-growing plant of high, cloudy places
Dens: narrow valleys
Drouth: thirst
Gordon: a pub
Laverock: lark
Glamourie: enchantment, fairy spell
Stravaiged: roamed
Yarrow: a stream in the Scottish Border country

According to The Scots Herbal by Tess Darwin, the cloudberry is “A low-growing plant of high, cloudy places, with large, raspberry-like leaves that form conspicuous patches in wet peaty areas in the hills in most parts of Scotland. The large, red-orange berries were eaten as a dessert.”

“Cloudberry Day” is sung by Geordie’s wife Alison McMorland on the CD Cloudberry Day, part of The Tradition Bearers series issued by The Living Tradition magazine. Geordie’s notes for the song say “A hill walk in August 96, I shared with Alison and Elsa Lemaitre provided the well-spring for this song. We stravaiged the ancient Drovers route from Peebles to the Yarrow Valley. It was a day of glamourie (enchantment) in the heart of Ballad country.”

“A magical landscape and clusters of cloudberries on Glenrath Heights added to the heady mix. The song was, later, completed with the memory of the late Charlie Lemaitre firmly in the mind. Charlie was Belgian born and, certainly, a Borderer by adoption.”

Geordie McIntyre is described in notes for the CD Ballad Tree as a Glaswegian of Highland and Irish descent, with a lifelong involvement in singing, collecting and song-writing. Pete Heywood, director of the Traditionbearers series of CDs says of him “Geordie’s contribution to the folk song revival in Scotland has yet to be adequately credited.

He and his wife, Alison McMorland, share a passion for and knowledge of the Scots Ballad tradition and form a great partnership in performing and recording Scottish traditional song.

In the introduction to the CD Cloudberry Day, Alison is described as “a singer of substance who, in the words of Dr Hamish Henderson ‘stands out as one of the principal modern interpreters of an ancestral ballad singing tradition.’ "

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