Nach Till Thu, Dhòmhnaill?

Composed by Unknown

Researched and sung by Catrìona Nicolson

O ho ao won’t you return, Donald?
O hi rì won’t you return, Donald?
O ho ao won’t you return, Donald?

One day whilst crossing the moor,

There was no rain or mist.

The sun was bright on the mountain sides.

My sweetheart came into my company.

We sat on a beautiful hillside.

We started flirting and joking.

And then the bad deed took place.

He threatened to tear my shirt.

And he spread my coat.

He put my hair under his shoes.

He made my eyes run with tears.

That one who travels the moor.

Who is becoming in army orders

Sword, shield, bow and knapsack,

Peace will come and we will be together.

The song

I found this song in Tobar an Dualchais whilst I was listening to songs which were recorded by Duncan son of Donald, son of Duncan, a stone-mason from Peninerine in South Uist. Duncan son of Donald was well-known for his stories.

After meeting Calum MacLean, who was collecting folklore material for the School of Scottish Studies, many people visited him in order to record his stories. For example, Dr John Lorne Campbell recorded his songs. Tobar an Dualchais has a great number of his songs.

This is a waulking song about a girl who goes out to the moor to meet someone with whom she is in love. They are friendly at first but then he rapes her.

A version of this song is in the book of Waulking Songs of Mary Daughter of Alasdair, a collection by K.C. Craig. Màiri Daughter of Alasdair (Mary MacDonald, 1867-1954) was brought up in South Uist and was a first cousin of Duncan. It is not known who wrote the song but I have heard other versions of the song where they name places such as Knoydart and place names in the Isle of Skye.

Catrìona Nicolson, 2019


Recorded at The Green Door Studio, Glasgow
Filmed at Highland Print Studios, Inverness
Filmed by Mike Webster, Spiral Out Pictures
Make-up Angel Beauty Salon, Inverness