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"Scotland the Brave" (Scottish Gaelic: Alba an Àigh) is a Scottish patriotic song. It was one of several songs considered an unofficial national anthem of Scotland (others being "Flower of Scotland" and "Scots Wha Hae").

Scotland the Brave
Alba an Àigh
Scotland the Brave.jpg

Unofficial national anthem of  Scotland
LyricsCliff Hanley (unofficial), 1950
MusicUnknown composer, 1911
Audio sample
"Scotland the Brave" (instrumental)



The tune was first played probably about the beginning of the 20th century,[1] and at that time was known sometimes as "Scotland the Brave!!!"[1] The earliest known version of the song appeared in 1911.[1] The lyrics commonly used presently were written about 1950 by the Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley for the singer Robert Wilson as part of an arrangement by Marion McClurg.

"Scotland the Brave" is also the authorised pipe band march of The British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Armed Forces,[2] and also is played during the Pass in Review at Friday parades at The Citadel, and the Virginia Military Institute.[citation needed] During 2006,[citation needed] it was adopted as the regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Scotland national football team used "Scotland the Brave" as its anthem for the 1982, 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups.[3][4][5][6] "Flower of Scotland" was subsequently adopted by the national football team, after its successful use by the Scotland national rugby union team.[6] “Scotland the Brave” was used as the Scottish anthem at the Commonwealth Games until 2010.

Unofficial national anthemEdit

During June 2006, the song rated second in an online poll with more than 10,000 votes to determine the nation's favourite unofficial anthem, losing only to "Flower of Scotland".[7] The song was used to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games until it was replaced by "Flower of Scotland" from the 2010 games in Delhi onwards.[8]


Hark when the night is falling
Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' 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 endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

In popular cultureEdit

  • There was a significant anachronism in Kenneth Branagh's television movie Shackleton wherein some of the characters sang this song.
  • The character "Piper" from the game Crossy Road plays it on his bagpipes.
  • The song, played with actual bagpipes, is often played at New York Police Department funerals.
  • In the 1968 movie The Devil's Brigade, composer Alex North uses the melody as the beginning for the opening theme and, with variations, throughout the film score; the song is played by the bagpipers of the Canadian component of the 1st Special Service Force when they march into Fort William Henry Harrison to the disbelief of their US counterparts.
  • In the 1970 movie Patton, the song is played by the band of the British Eighth Army in a victory parade through the streets of Messina, led by General Bernard Law Montgomery, before discovering that General George S. Patton and his Seventh US Army were already there to meet him. After a short exchange between the rival commanders, "Scotland the Brave" is struck up again, but is then symbolically drowned out by the American band's rendition of "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
  • "Scotland the Brave" is sometimes used as an unofficial fight song by Macalester College, whose athletic teams are nicknamed the Fighting Scots. Additionally, a modified version is sung after a football victory, and the opening verse and chorus is sung before all rugby games.
  • "Scotland the Brave" is the fight song for the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Fighting Scots. It is played by both the Spirit of the Scots Marching Band and the university's Pipe Band.
  • A bastardized and nonlyrical version of "Scotland the Brave" is used by St. Olaf College's Men's Rugby Club to rally before every game
  • It is played by a bagpiper during the opening of Peter Weir's movie Dead Poets Society (1989).
  • The Dropkick Murphys song "Cadence to Arms" off their debut album Do or Die is a reworking of "Scotland the Brave"'s melody.
  • The song was among the entrance songs for professional wrestler Roddy Piper during his time in WWE.
  • Dorothy the Dinosaur dances to this song in the Wiggles' 1997 videotape Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas.
  • A comic version by The Corries mixes humorous and topical lyrics.[9]
  • The Mormon hymn "Praise to the Man" is set to the tune of "Scotland the Brave".
  • The melody is also used for the Hawkesbury Agricultural College Rugby Team chant "Hawkesbury the Brave".
  • The Halifax Mooseheads Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team plays a techno version of the song when the Mooseheads score.
  • This tune can be heard being played on bagpipe during the funeral ceremony in the popular movie The Departed as well as being the ringtone for character Frank Costello in his final scene in the movie.
  • The German heavy metal band Grave Digger have a version of "Scotland the Brave" as the intro of their album Tunes of War.[10]
  • The first verse and chorus of Hanely's version are sung a cappella in Stuart Ross' 1990 musical movie Forever Plaid.
  • The Scottish ITV television station Grampian Television used the first few notes of the song in its logo identifications (or "idents") during its first three decades of broadcasting.[11]
  • This tune is the base for the school song of Brisbane school St. Laurence's College.[12]
  • In the 2005 video game TimeSplitters Future Perfect, there is a level titled "Scotland the Brave", which features a soundtrack that evokes themes from the original song.
  • In the CBS-TV show NCIS, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, a Scottish-born character played by Scottish-born actor David McCallum, uses a bagpipe version of "Scotland the Brave" as the ring tone for his cellphone.
  • The Character "Rowena" of The CW's Supernatural, can sometimes be heard humming "Scotland The Brave" during the show.
  • In the video game The Sims 4 when a sim completes the Musical Genius aspiration, they have 4 songs to play to influence nearby sims. One of them being Song of Sophistication which is clearly based on "Scotland the Brave", making nearby sims change into formal wear.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, a Scottish bagpipe player is heard playing Scotland the Brave as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz curses him for playing it 24/7.
  • In Goon, an instrumental version of "Scotland the Brave" performed by The Pipes And Drums Of The Royal Tank regiment can be heard as the Halifax Highlanders prepare to take the ice against the St. John Shamrocks in the final game of the movie.[13][14]
  • In the video game Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and Fall, Scotland's musical theme, composed and arranged by Geoff Knorr, is based on "Scotland the Brave".


  1. ^ a b c "SCAFFIES CAIRET".
  2. ^ Canadian Forces webpage. Retrieved 25 January 2013
  3. ^ "Scotland vs Denmark 1986".[dead link]
  4. ^ "URSS vs Scotland 1982".[dead link]
  5. ^ Hamilton, Fiona (7 February 2010). "Margaret Thatcher feared the Scotland the Brave anthem". The Sunday Times. London.
  6. ^ a b Mills, Rod (3 February 2010). "Thatcher was terrified by Scotland the Brave". Daily Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  7. ^ The Royal Scottish National Orchestra – Stéphane Denève (Music Director) – The RSNO National Anthem Poll Winner Archived 15 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Games team picks new Scots anthem". BBC News. 9 January 2010.
  9. ^ Iain40 (4 October 2006). "The Corries Scotland The Brave (humorous)" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Grave digger The Brave intro".
  11. ^ Rapier, Multimedia. "ITV Grampian television ident compilation". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  12. ^ "St Laurence's College » College Song and War Cry". Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  13. ^ Cashby (2012-12-16), Goon Scotland the Brave, retrieved 2017-12-13
  14. ^ Goon (2011), retrieved 2017-12-13