Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Wild Mountain Thyme

Scottish Song Collected By Francis McPeake

Wild Mountain Thyme (also known as Purple Heather and Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?) is a Scottish folk song that was collected by Francis McPeake 1st, who wrote the song himself for his wife.

The McPeake family claim recognition for the writing of the song. Francis McPeake is a member of a well known musical family in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The lyrics and melody are a variant of the song "The Braes Of Balquhither" by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), and Scottish composer Robert Archibald Smith (1780-1829), but were adapted by Belfast musician Francis McPeake (1885-1971) into "Wild Mountain Thyme" and first recorded by his family in the 1950s.

Tannahill's original song, first published in Robert Archibald Smith's Scottish Minstrel (1821-24), is about the hills (braes) around Balquhidder near Lochearnhead. Like Robert Burns, Tannahill collected and adapted traditional songs, and "The Braes Of Balquhither" may have been based on the traditional song "The Braes O' Bowhether".

McPeake is said to have dedicated the song to his first wife, but his son wrote an additional verse in order to celebrate his father's remarriage. "Wild Mountain Thyme" was first recorded by McPeake's nephew, also named Francis McPeake, in 1957 for the BBC series As I Roved Out.

Related Scottish Country Dances

Wild Mountain Thyme (Paterson)
Braes Of Balquhidder (18C Dances)
Braes Of Balquhidder (MacNab)

Wild Mountain Thyme Adapted By Francis McPeake

The summer time is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming...

Full lyrics may be found here:

Wild Mountain Thyme Song Video

Wild Mountain Thyme Song - Information Video
Wild Mountain Thyme
Wild Mountain Thyme, Scotland

The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Wild Mountain Thyme article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Richard Webb under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

Back to the top of this 'Wild Mountain Thyme Song' page