Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Herring Wall

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Herring Wall S4x32 (4 couples) Fiona MacDonald Dances In Kintail

1 - 2 All advance (1 step) and retire (1 step)
3 - 4 Repeat - All advance (1 step) and retire (1 step)
5 - 6 All ½ turn RH dancing out to opposite sides
7 - 8 All dance towards partner and pull RSh back dance out to curve into sidelines
9 - 12 1s with 2s, 3s with 4s Set and Link (finish 1s facing down 4s and 3s facing up)
13 - 16 1s, 4s and 3s dance ½ reel of 3 (1s and 4s pass LSh to start) (2x3x4x1x)
17 - 24 All parallel reel of 4 on sides (RSh to start)
25 - 30 2s with 3s Set, pull LSh back, cast to chase round top-half of set (anticlockwise) back to place (opposite sides) while 4s with 1s Set and pull RSh back cast to chase round bottom-half of set (clockwise) back to place (opposite sides)
31 - 32 All cross RH

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser Fiona MacDonald)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

Running out from the shore on the south side of the head of Loch Duich, a wall was built to catch herring. As high tide approached the rising water level allowed the herring to swim over the wall, later for the level to drop trapping the fish behind it, so that the herring could be harvested on foot.

Later the wall was broken, rendering it inoperable, and the herring could only be caught from fishing boats out on the loch.

The dance reflects the motion of gentle waves and swimming fish, crossing the wall and subsequently flowing out through the breech.

(Dance information from Dances In Kintail, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Fiona MacDonald)

The Herring Wall
The Herring Wall

Published in Dances In Kintail Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Fiona MacDonald.
Image copyright Fiona MacDonald, all rights reserved, 2022.

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