Sangstories - Stories of Scottish Songs

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

The Isle Of Eigg

by Robin Laing

'Twas in the merry month of May, when balmy winds do blow.
I met my love in Arisaig where rhododendrons grow.
I met my love in Arisaig in the shadow of Craig Mor,
The sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore.
Sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore.

And in the months that followed our love and friendship grew,
Warmed by the summer sun and a love that was so new.
We walked among the hills and heard the crashing ocean roar.
The sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore.
Sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore.

Autumn came to Arisaig with colours fair to view.
Birds were flying South again, soon we'd leave there too.
A sad song echoed in the hills: Lochaber no more.
The sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore.
Sun shone on the Isle of Eigg, far from the silver shore

Words:

Arisaig: A village in South Morar, looking out to Skye and the Small Isles

Isle of Eigg: One of the Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides

This song set in the Western Highlands expresses the beauty of the place and the sadness of parting, using the phrase “Lochaber no more” in the last verse, with its memories of the famous pipe tune of that name.

This 17th century pipe-tune was played at the 1927 funeral of fiddler James Scott Skinner and is “a favourite tune of Scottish pipers who use it as a funeral march or lament, though its origins may or may not have been Irish” according to The Fiddler’s Companion website at www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers.

Robin Laing is a song-writer and performer originally from Edinburgh, still his “spiritual home” according to his website, and now living in rural Lanarkshire.

 This song is on his first album, Edinburgh Skyline (Greentrax CDTRAY021) from 1989. Hamish Henderson on the sleeve notes comments on his “preoccupation with the transitory nature of things – with time, the passing of the seasons and the annual resurrection and rebirth which the folksong of the world celebrates.”

Robin Laing is a member of New Makars Trust which aims to encourage local communities to celebrate their own history and culture in new songs.