Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Sound Of Harris Ferry

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Sound of Harris Ferry
Reuben Freemantle
Reel 2 x 32 bars 2 Couple Repeat 2 Couple Set Longwise Set

  1-8   1s2s dance the knot;

  9-10 without taking hands on the sides, 2s 1s set advancing and take both hands with partner:

11-12 2s 1s turn partner both hands halfway, retaining hands;

13-14 2s 1s set facing partner, retaining hands;

15-16 2s 1s turn partner both hands, retaining hold to finish 2M in 1M's place, 1L in 2L's place, 2L1M back-to-back, all facing partner on the first corners' diagonal;

17-22 2s1s dance hello-goodbye poussette, finishing 1M1L2M2L on the centreline, retaining hold;

23-24 1s 2s turn both hands ¾, retaining hold;

25-32 without changing foot, 1s2s poussette.

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

Dance Notes

  9-32 Pas-de-basque throughout.

11-30 Retain tight, two-hand hold with partner throughout.

11-11 Set on the spot with the right foot.

12-12 Turn halfway on the left foot step; do not dance back to the sidelines.

15-15 Taking partner with them, 2L 1M retire to the sideline on the right foot step.

16-16 2s 1s turn on the left foot step so that all finish on the first corners' diagonal, 2L in 1M's place, 1M in 2L's place; the turn is exactly halfway for 2M 1L, slightly more for their partners.

25-     Changing foot is acceptable for any M who finds it difficult not to.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

To make it clear that the dance is suitable for a small number dancers, the format is designated as 2 couple repeat in a 2 couple set; it can, of course, be danced with any number of couples in the set and an appropriate number of repeats. Young and active dancers may prefer to dance 4 repeats but note that there are 24 bars of pas-de-basque in each repeat.

The dance was devised during the UK Covid-19 lockdown in 2021, following an RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home online class in which The Ullapool Ferry, which includes hello-goodbye poussette, was taught. This dance has the same elegant figure and is more suitable for teaching when limited space is available for dancer(s) in their own home; a clear area of 3.6m (12ft) x 2.7m (9ft) is ample. It is particularly suitable for a single couple with a ghost couple since there is no involvement with the other couple (aside from covering); in extremis, it would be meaningful for a single dancer since the turns are all quite sedate. When dancing with ghosts, it is helpful to have markers on the floor showing the dancers' starting places; stickers are suitable, bean bags or other obstacles are not since the dancers have to pass through these places.

(Dance information by the deviser, Reuben Freemantle)

There are three vehicle ferry routes linking the single island of Lewis and Harris with the mainland and with other Hebridean islands. Prior to the building of the Skye Bridge, Ullapool to Stornoway provided the only direct ferry link from the mainland; it is still the major route and is served by the largest of CalMac's vessels but involves an onward journey from Stornoway of nearly 60km to Tarbert, the principal town of Harris. Uig (Skye) direct to Tarbert has become more practical for Harris from the mainland via the Skye Bridge and involves a shorter crossing in a smaller vessel.

The Sound of Harris ferry, linking Berneray (North Uist) to Leverburgh (Harris), after which this dance is named, is an inter-island shuttle service primarily supporting those who need to travel within Na h-Eileanan Siar (the formal name of the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides); it is served by one of the smaller vessels in the CalMac fleet.

The Sound Of Harris Ferry - Information Video

The Sound Of Harris Ferry
Calmac Ferry, Loch Portain, Discharging At Leverburgh

Image copyright Julian Paren under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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