Best viewed in
Internet Explorer

Music (PDF)

Music (BMW)

Back to

Updated 09/12/2019


The Hills of Moffat
George S. Cockburn

Moffat is a former burgh and parish in Dumfriesshire, which is now part of the Dumfries and Galloway local authority area in Scotland, lying on the River Annan, with a population of around 2,500.

From 1633 Moffat began to grow from a small village into a popular spa town. The sulfurous and saline waters of Moffat Spa were believed to have healing properties, specifically curative for skin conditions, gout, rheumatism and stomach complaints. In 1730 these were complemented by the addition of iron springs. During the Victorian era the high demand led to the water being piped down from the well to a tank in Tank Wood and then on to a specially built bath house in the town center (now the Town Hall). Moffat was also a notable market in the wool trade.

The town is held to be the ancestral seat of Clan Moffat. The Devil's Beef Tub near Moffat was used by the members of Clan Moffat and later the members of Clan Johnstone to hoard cattle stolen in predatory raids.

The tune was written by George S. Cockburn (1897-1974) for a local pipe band. Cockburn was born in Craigmillar, Edinburgh and learnt piping from his father. He served in the Dandy 9th (9th Battalion Royal Scots) from 1914-1919 as a piper. He was Pipe Major of the Edinburgh Home Guards and led their demobilization parade along Princes Street in Edinburgh. He was a noted piobIreachd player and won medals in Inverness and elsewhere.

The Hills of Moffat was composed in his late 60s when he retired to this town. It was taken up by the local pipe band and spread to top fiddle and accordion bands across the country.