Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Arthur's Seat

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

ARTHUR'S SEAT (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Jack McConachie SCD of the 18C

1- 8 1s+2s dance RH across, 1s cast down 1 place (2s dance up) and 1s set
9-16 1s+3s dance LH across, 1s cast down 1 place (3s dance up) and 1s set
17-24 1s dance up to top and cast, dance down between 3s and cast up and face 1st corners
25-32 1s dance 'Hello-Goodbye' setting (6 bars) Bars 31-32 1s petronella turn to 2nd place own sides

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


Dance Notes

Bars 31-32. There appears to be two interpretations of these last two bars, with accounts of two versions of the deviser's instructions: "First couple turn by the right to own sides, second place" and "Turn by RH". Some say that the most likely interpretation, and consistent with McConachie's terminology relating to turns in other dances, is that this means turn right about as in a petronella turn.

An alternative interpretation is that the turn is a right hand turn, although this might make a smooth end to the second repeat more difficult.

McConachie advises that, on the second repeat, the dancing couple cross to own sides to the bottom of the set.

It should be easy enough for a club, teacher or organiser to clarify which version they prefer for their own programme of dancing. Videos show that both versions of bars 31-32 are being danced.


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

Arthur's Seat - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The book "Scottish country dances of the eighteenth century" was published in 1960 by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

The collector of this reel, Jack McConachie, was a member of the Imperial Society. He discovered a manuscript in Oxford University's Bodleian Library, "A Collection of the Newest Country Dances Performed in Scotland" written in 1740 at Edinburgh by D.A. Young, W.M. ("Young was responsible for some of the most important collections of his time, particularly the vast Macfarlan MS", Jack Campin).

McConachie adapted the phrasing of the dances to bring them more into line with 20th century Scottish country dancing of his time, while trying to keep true to the original style and character of the original dances. He extensively revised Arthur's Seat.

Arthur's Seat is a hill peak (822 ft, 250m) in Edinburgh, Scotland, which affords spectacular views of the city. The peak is part of a volcano system (extinct) and is over 300 million years old.

Arthur's Seat is so-named as some believed it to be the site of Camelot, King Arthur's castle.

Arthur's Seat - Information Video

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Image
View Of Edinburgh From Arthur's Seat


Image Copyright Rob Lockhart, All Rights Reserved, 2017.

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