Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Flying Scotsman

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE FLYING SCOTSMAN (J8x32) 3C (4C set) Hugh A Thurston 16 SCDs

1- 8 1L followed by 2L+3L cross, cast behind 1M, in front of 2M, behind 3M, cross and dance up to places
9-16 1M followed by 2M+3M repeat around Ladies
17-24 1s slip step down the middle and up to 2nd place
25-32 2s+1s+3s slip step down and back. 213

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


The Flying Scotsman (original version)
Hugh Thurston   Sixteen New Scottish Country Dances 1946-57
Jig   8 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-8   1L followed by 2L3L cross, cast behind 1M, dance down in front of 2M, cast behind 3M, cross and dance up to places;

  9-16 1M2M3M repeat bars 1-8 around Ls, all finishing in places;

17-20 1s take both hands and slip down the middle;

21-24 1s slip up to finish in 2nd place;

25-32 all take hands on the sides and slip down and back.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

This original version is suitable only for agile, experienced dancers; for all others, choose the 4-couple or the 3-couple version in preference.

  1-8   Ls have only 8 bars in which to dance figures requiring 12 bars in aggregate; they must dance quickly.

  9-16 Mn must be equally quick.

17-20 1s take large steps.

21-22 On the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th repeats, 2s step up, normally; on the 2nd, 4th and 6th repeats, 2s3s take hands on the sides and step up so that 1s can finish in 3rd place on bar 24.

25-32 As an alternative, all take both hands with partners and slip down the middle and back.


The Flying Scotsman (4-couple version)
Hugh Thurston (adapted by RSCDS)   RSCDS Medal Tests for Young Dancers
Jig   4 x 32 bars   4 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-8   1L followed by 2L3L4L cross, cast below 4M, cross and dance up to places;

  9-16 1M2M3M4M repeat bars 1-8 around Ls, all finishing in places;

17-20 1s take both hands and slip down the middle;

21-24 1s slip up to finish in 4th place;

25-32 2s 3s 4s 1s take both hands with partners and slip down the middle and back.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

This simplified version is more suitable for ceilidh dancers and for smaller children since it avoids the complication of the counter-intuitive, 3-couple repeat in 4-couple set format and the very quick weaving movements of the original in bars 1-16.

17-20 1s take large steps.

21-22 2s3s4s take hands on the sides and step up. However, as is designed into The Puggy 1, there is no problem if this is omitted since 2s3s4s1s can easily slip up an extra place in bars 29-32 and so finish 2s3s4s1s with the set in its correct position.

21-24 1s take much smaller steps to finish below 4s, especially so if 2s3s4s have not stepped up.

25-32 In the normal version, all take both hands with partners for the slip down and up; as an alternative, all can take hands on the sides.


The Flying Scotsman (3-couple version)
Hugh Thurston (adapted by RGF)   RSCDS Medal Tests for Young Dancers
Jig   3 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   3 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-8   1L followed by 2L3L cross, cast below 3M, cross and dance up to places;

  9-16 1M2M3M repeat bars 1-8 around Ls, all finishing in places;

17-20 1s take both hands and slip down the middle;

21-24 1s slip up to finish in 3rd place;

25-32 2s 3s 1s take both hands with partners and slip down the middle and back.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

For ceilidh dancers and for smaller children, this, like the 4-couple version, avoids the complication of the counter-intuitive, 3-couple repeat in 4-couple set format and the very quick weaving movement of the original in bars 1-16.
When there would be any spare couple(s) after making up 4-couple sets, one or more of these 3-couple sets can be used to avoid having anyone sit out.

17-20 1s take large steps.

21-22 2s3s take hands on the sides and step up. However, there is no problem if this is omitted since 2s3s1s can easily slip up an extra place in bars 29-32 and so finish 2s3s1s with the set in its correct position.

21-24 1s take smaller steps to finish below 3s, especially so if 2s3s have not stepped up.

25-32 As in the 4-couple version, all take both hands with partners for the slip down and up though taking hands on the sides is an acceptable alternative.


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Flying Scotsman - YouTube Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The Flying Scotsman is the major express passenger train service that has plied over the railway between London and Edinburgh since 1862 (though this name came into use only about ten years later) on a route now known as the East Coast Main Line.

Especially in the days before road and air transport became commonplace, this high-speed link between the capitals of England and Scotland has always needed an extremely long and heavy train in order to accommodate the passenger numbers and so the Flying Scotsman has required very powerful locomotives. Many different types, initially coal-fired steam-driven, then diesel-electric and now overhead-wire electric locomotives have been used to haul the Flying Scotsman. Some of the steam-driven locomotives were designed specifically for the route and so the name is often casually used just for some of these locomotives, rather than for the whole train.

A video of the Flying Scotsman running on the English main line - Video On YouTube

The Flying Scotsman Image
The Famous 'Flying Scotsman' In Full Steam


Additional search terms: Ceilidh Dance.
Image selection by SCDD automotive consultant, A.C. Pearson.
Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Flying Scotsman article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright jimd2007 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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