Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Swelkie

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE SWELKIE (S3x32) 3C Triangular set Jean Attwood Alexander Leaflet 21

1- 8 1s promenade anticlockwise round outside of set
9-16 1L dances reel of 3 with 3s (passing 3L LSh) while 1M dances reel with 2s (passing 2M RSh) and all end in original places
17-24 All Ladies dance RH across, pass in front of partner and behind next Man to end at side of remaining Man
25-32 All Men dance LH across, pass in front of new partner and behind next Lady to end beside remaining Lady
Repeat from new pstns with new partners

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

The Swelkie
Jean Attwood   Alexander Leaflet 21
Strathspey   3 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   3 Couple Set   Triangular Set
Numbered clockwise, 1s facing down:

  1-8   1s promenade anticlockwise round the outside of the set, finishing in places;

  9-16 1L3s 1M2s mirror reels of 3 on the sides, 1L3M giving right shoulder, 1M2L left, to start, finishing in places;

17-20 Ls right hands across finishing in places;

21-24 Ls dance in front of partner and behind next M, each finishing on the right of the remaining M (first corner);

25-28 Mn left hands across finishing in places;

29-32 Mn dance in front of L in partner's place and behind next L, each finishing on the left of the remaining L, all now with new partners, 3M2L in 1st place, 1M3L in 2nd, 2M1L in 3rd.

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

Dance Notes

  1-32 Do not be disconcerted at losing your partner during and at the end of the repeat; s/he will finish beside you at the end of the dance.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Swelkie - YouTube Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The race at the north end of Stroma in the Pentland Firth, off Swelkie Point is a fearsome tidal whirlpool known as 'The Swelkie'.

The Firth is the point where the Atlantic and the North Sea meet. Two tidal surges race each way, every day, at speeds of up to 16 knots (30 kph), creating massive currents and whirlpools.

It extends from the point in an easterly or westerly direction depending on the tide and can be particularly violent. The whirlpool of the same name was, according to a Viking legend, caused by a sea-witch turning the mill wheels which ground the salt to keep the seas salty.

The name derives from an Old Norse term, Svalga meaning "the Swallower".

The Swelkie Image
The Swelkie In Pentland Firth

Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Pentland Firth article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright Mo under this Creative Commons Licence.

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