Scots Sangs An Tunes Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs and tunes
for use in Scottish schools - and everywhere else

Drumdelgie

There’s a fairm toon up in Cairnie, that's kent baith far and wide

Tae be the Hash o Drumdelgie, upon sweet Deveronside

The fairmer o yon muckle toon, he is baith hard and sair

And the cauldest day that iver blaws his servants get their share


At five o’clock we quickly rise and hurry doon the stair

It's there tae corn oor horses, likewise tae straicht their hair

Syne, aifter workin half an oor, each tae the kitchie goes

It's there we get oor breakfast, which generally is brose


We haena got oor brose weel suppit, an gien oor pints a tie

Fin the foreman he cries "Oot, my lads, the oor is drawing nigh"

At sax the clock the mill’s put on, tae gie us aa straucht work

It taks fower o us tae mak tae her, till ye could wring oor sark


An fin the watter is put aff, we hurry doon the stair

Tae get some quarters through the fan till daylicht dis appear

Fin daylicht dis begin tae peep, an the sky begins tae clear

The grieve he cries "Come on my lads, ye’ll be nae langer here


“There's sax o you'll ging tae the ploo, and twa tae ca the neeps

And the baillies they'll be be aifter you wi strae raips roon their queets"

But fin that we were gyaun furth an turnin oot tae yoke

The sna dank on so thick an fast that we were like to choke


The frost it wis sae very hard, the ploo she widna go

And sae oor cairtin days commenced amang the frost and sna

Oor horses being but young an sma, the cairts they didna fill

They aft required the saiddler chains tae drive them up the hill


But we will sing our horses' praise, though they be young and sma

For they far outshine the Broadland's anes that gyang sae full and braw

The termin time has come at last, and we will get wir brass

And we'll awa tae Huntly Fair tae hae a pairtin glass


And we'll gyang in tae Huntly toon an there gyang on the spree

And then the fun it will commence the quinies for tae see

Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, for I maun gyang awa

Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, yer weety weather and aa

Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, I bid ye aa adieu

And I'll leave ye as I got ye, a maist unceevil crew


A bothy ballad telling about the hard life of farm work.

The farm workers started work at 5am, and had to feed and groom their horses before they got a breakfast of ground oats or split peas, to which boiling water or milk had been added. Then twelve men had to turn the mill to grind more oats or pease.

Then they went outdoors to work, whatever the weather. Some went to plough the ground, others to cart the turnips in from the field - the turnips were used for winter feed for the animals. But the plough could not be used in the frozen earth, so they had to cart dung to spread on the land.

The tune is better known as ‘The Irish Jaunting Car’.

See more information about bothy ballads Here.