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Updated 05/09/2013


Scotland the Brave

A constituent nation of the United Kingdom, Scotland lacks an official, legislated "national song"; in fact there are several songs in use as "national songs" of Scotland. The one most often considered as the unofficial national anthem (and most often presented as Scotland's anthem at sporting matches) is "Flower of Scotland", written by Roy Williamson for the popular folk group The Corries. This anthem, however, has not been adopted in any official basis as the Scottish anthem.

Other popular "national songs" of Scotland (and sometimes used as "unofficial national anthems") are "Scotland the Brave" (a traditional melody with lyrics by Cliff Hanley) and "Scots Wha' Hae" (another traditional melody with words by the national poet Robert Burns).

However, another "national song" was used at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1997, one which usually isn't presented as an unofficial national anthem, the Robert Burns poem "A Man's A Man for A' That", set to a traditional melody. The choice of this song may have been to duck the controversy of choosing one of the previously mentioned "national songs" as an official regional anthem, or by using "God Save the Queen" (the anthem of the United Kingdom).

It is used as the Scottish national anthem at the Commonwealth Games.  It is also the authorized pipe band march of The British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Forces and is played during the Pass in Review at Friday parades at The Citadel. In 2006, it was adopted as the regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The piping tune dates back several centuries, and is considered a traditional Scottish folk-tune. However the lyrics were written comparatively recently by the Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley in or around the 1950s.  Clifford Leonard Clark Hanley (28 October 1922 9 August 1999) was a journalist, novelist, playwright and broadcaster from Glasgow in Scotland. Originally from Shettleston in the city's East End, he was educated at Eastbank Academy.

Lyrics by Clifford Hanley

Hark, when the night is falling
Hear, hear the pipes are calling
Loudly and proudly calling
Down through the Glen.
There where the hills are sleeping
Now feel the blood a-leaping
High as the spirits
Of the old highland men.

Towering in gallant fame
Scotland my mountain hame
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave!
Land of my high endeavor
Land of the shining
Land of my heart forever
the brave!

High in the misty highlands
Out by the purple islands
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies
Wild are the winds to meet you
Staunch are the friends that greet you
Kind as the light that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.


Far off in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming
for the homeland again.