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Loch Tay Boat Song

[ Roud 38364 ; DT LOCHTAY ; Mudcat 10153 ; Sir Harold Bolton (1859-1935)]

Andy M. Stewart sang The Loch Tay Boat Song on Silly Wizard’s 1983 album Kiss the Tears Away. The song was also printed in Andy M. Stewart’s songbook The Andy M. Stewart Collection.

Misalliance sang The Loch Tay Boat Song in 1996 on their WildGoose album Fortune My Foe. They noted:

A paean of prasie for a red-headed girl from a beautiful part of Scotland. Unfortunately, the girl in question remains indifferent.

Davy Steele sang Loch Tay Boat Song on his 1997 album Chasing Shadows.

Bram Taylor sang Loch Tay Boat Song in 2001 on his Fellside album Fragile Peace. He noted:

I first heard this quite beautiful song being sung by my friends Laine Nunn and Bendigo Davies in a Folk Club in Gloucestershire. I instantly thought I must have it! Bendigo and Laine kindly gave me a copy of the song and it’s been in my repertoire ever since.

Further research suggests that Sir Harold Edwin Boulton (1859-1935) who edited many old Scottish, Irish and English folksongs such as the Skye Boat Song also included this song in his collection. He generally borrowed from poetic and musical folklore and fashioned them into a new mould. The Gaelic term ‘nighean ruadh’ means ‘red-haired darling’. Some fine and sensitive guitar work here, from Simon Haworth.

Gary West sang the Loch Tay Boat Song on his and Wendy Stewart’s 2009 album Hinterlands. They noted:

A simple tale of unrequited love for the ‘red haired girl’ and very much a local song for Gary. Traditional tune with words composed by Sir Harold Boulton (1859-1935), writer of The Skye Boat Song.

Jim and Susie Malcolm sang Loch Tay Boat Song on Jim’s 2011 CD Sparkling Flash. Jim noted:

A lovely old song about a beautiful place, with a strangely masculine waltz tempo. Loch Tay is upstream of where I live on the River Tay. It was written by a toff, Sir Harold Bolton (1859-1935), who also wrote the Skye Boat Song. The melody was collected from a Mrs Cameron in Moidart in 1870.

Fraser and Ian Bruce sang Loch Tay Boat Song on their 2017 album Auld Hat New Heids.

HAV with Beccy Owen sang Loch Tay Boat Song on their 2017 album Inver.


Jim and Susie Malcolm sing Loch Tay Boat Song

When I’ve done my work of day,
And I row my boat away
Doon the waters of Loch Tay
As the evening light is fading
And I look upon Ben Lawers
As the evening glory glows
And I think on two bright eyes
And a merry mouth below.

Chorus (after each verse):
She’s my lovely nighean ruadh
She’s my joy and sorrow too
And although she is untrue
Well I cannot live without her
For my heart’s a boat in tow
And I’d give the world to know
Why she means to let me go
As I sing huree horo.

Nighean ruadh, your lovely hair
Has more glamour, I declare,
Than all the tresses rare
‘Tween Killin and Aberfeldy
Be they lint-white brown or gold
Be they blacker than the sloe
They are worth no more to me
Than the melting flake of snow.

Here eyes are like the gleam
Of the sunlight on the stream
And the songs the fairies sing
Are like songs she sings at milking
But my heart is full of woe
For last night she bade me go
And the tears begin to flow
As I sing horee, horo.