Tuesday, July 8, 2008

O'er the Bows to Ballindalloch

This is a title that has always troubled me a bit.

Firstly Ballindalloch is located in inland Banffshire, a long way from the coast, so the idea of "bows" in terms of a boat is a bit peculiar. Even if it was referring to a boat, then why "bows" in the plural? That would be odd also.

I have often wondered whether the real title might have been "O'er the Howes to Ballindalloch" and over time, as in typical Chinese Whispers style, it has lapsed into the title we know. "Howes" in the Scottish dialect means valleys or glens, which sounds more reasonable to me.

Anyway, there is no doubt at all that "Bows" will remain in the title forever more - but it is an enigma. And I must say that the intrigue takes nothing away from the brilliant musicality of this strathspey.

The picture above shows beautiful Ballindalloch Castle in all its glory. And I can add that it has been in the hands of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546. Not a bad record.

Old Angus


Anonymous said...

Interestingly Angus, the Spey river runs through the Estate of Ballindaloch, and it is very popular with canoeists. The Canoeists comment on the wonderful bridge of Ballindoch. They like to get out of their canoes and take in the views.

Journeys did take place in Victorian times, in little boats, hence O'er the Bows to Ballindoch.

I love the mystery of these tune names!

Andy T

Old Angus said...

A good shot Andrew - and you could well be right. But I guess we will never be sure .....

Anonymous said...

Since 1546 eh ?

I wonder if they've paid off their mortgage yet ?