Scots Sangs Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs for use in Scottish schools

MRS MACLEOD OF RAASAY

This is one of the best known Scottish reel tunes. It has different names in different countries. We call it ‘Mrs MacLeod Of Raasay’, in the USA it is ‘Hop High Ladies’.

We do not know anything about Mrs MacLeod, but it was the fashion for composers to name new tunes, or rename old tunes, after important people they wanted to compliment.


This reel seems to be based on the old march and song ‘The Campbells Are Coming’. ‘Mrs MacLeod’ was published in Niel Gow's Fifth Collection, 1809. Gow said he had the tune from a Mr. McLeod of Raasay who described it as ‘an original Isle of Skye reel’.


‘Mrs MacLeod’ is used for mouth music songs (songs to dance to) in both Gaelic and Scots.

One of the songs is a translation from the Gaelic original.


MacPhee turn the cattle round Loch Avornin.

MacPhee turn the cattle round Loch Avornin.

MacPhee turn the cattle round Loch Avornin.

Here and there and everywhere the kye are in the corn.


Waitin at the sheilin, Vhari Van mochree

Waitin at the sheilin, far awa tae sea.

Home will come the bonny boats, Vhari Van mochree,

Home will come the bonny boys, Vhari Van mochree.


Another song uses only the first part of the tune.


The black bull’s broken oot an eaten aa the corn

The black bull’s broken oot an eaten aa the corn

The black bull’s broken oot an eaten aa the corn

Ah winna bide tae Saturday, ah’ll away the morn.