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Flower of Scotland

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Title: Flower of Scotland  
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Subject: Scotland, 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, National symbols of Scotland, Scotland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Isles of Wonder (album)
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Flower of Scotland

Flower of Scotland
Flùr na h-Alba
Flouer o Scotland

Unofficial anthem of  Scotland
Lyrics Roy Williamson, 1965
Music Roy Williamson, 1965
Music sample
"Flower of Scotland"
Song by The Corries
Released 1965
Writer Roy Williamson
Composer Roy Williamson

Flower of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Flùr na h-Alba, Scots: Flouer o Scotland) is a Scottish song, used frequently at special occasions and sporting events. Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland, Flower of Scotland is one of a number of songs which unofficially fulfil this role, along with the older Scots Wha Hae, Scotland the Brave and the more recent Highland Cathedral.[1][2] It was written by Roy Williamson of the folk group The Corries, and presented in 1967,[3] and refers to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, over England's Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Popular use

The song has been used as a National Anthem by the Scotland national rugby union team, ever since the winger, Billy Steele, encouraged his team-mates to sing it on the victorious Lions tour of South Africa in 1974.[4] The song was adopted as the pre-game anthem during the deciding match of the 1990 Five Nations Championship between Scotland and England, which Scotland won 13–7 to win the Grand Slam.[5] The Scottish Football Association adopted "Flower of Scotland" as its pre-game national anthem in 1997[6] although it was first used by them in 1993. Usually only the first and third verses are sung.[7]

When sung at sporting events, crowds will often call back after certain lines:[8] after the words "and stood against him", you may hear "(a)gainst who"; and after the words "and sent him homewards", you may hear "whit fur?" ("what for?").

The song was used as the victory anthem of Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 replacing "Scotland the Brave". This trend continued to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where it was again Team Scotland's anthem and was sung following a Scottish first place. (notably it was sung 4 times when Team Scotland won 4 gold medals in the opening day).[9]

The tune was originally composed on the Northumbrian smallpipes, which play in D and have the benefit of keys on the chanter to achieve a greater range of notes.

Ewan McGregor performed the song in Magadan in 2004 for the filming of the TV show Long Way Round.

In July 2006, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted an online poll (publicised by Reporting Scotland) in which voters could choose a national anthem from one of five candidates.[10] 10,000 people took part in the poll in which Flower of Scotland came out the winner. The results were as follows:

Tune Votes (%)
Flower of Scotland 41%
Scotland the Brave 29%
Highland Cathedral 16%
Is There for Honest Poverty 8%
Scots Wha Hae 6%

Scottish pirate metal band Celtic Punk band The Real McKenzies have included the song on the album "Loch'd & Loaded" as well a staple in their live performance among many other traditional Scottish ballads.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, the song was sung at Edinburgh Castle by 53 Scottish children selected from schools across Scotland.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Action call over national anthem". BBC News (BBC). 21 March 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Scots anthem call rejected". BBC News (BBC). 29 October 2003. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  3. ^ The Corries website - (visited 28 August 2007)
  5. ^ "The Perfect Rugby Anthem - Flower of Scotland!" WalesOnline, 7 February 2009 (visited 26 May 2011)
  6. ^ BBC Sport Academy - (visited 16 December 2009)
  7. ^ Match vs Liechtenstein
  8. ^ "Ronnie Browne singing Flower of Scotland at a Scotland vs. Italy football match at Hampden Park". 
  9. ^ "Glasgow 2014: Scotland open Games by winning four golds". 
  10. ^ "Flower of Scotland is first choice in RSNO anthem poll". heraldscotland. 2006-07-03. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "London 2012: Scottish choir sings for opening ceremony". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 

External links

  • Flower of Scotland – The website "Cantaria" has a page dedicated to the song, featuring the lyrics and an MP3 file of the song sung by Wild Mountain Thyme.
  • The Flower of Scotland – The website "Modern History Sourcebook" also has a page on the song, featuring midi files.
  • The Flower of Scotland – Translation of lyrics into Scots Gaelic.
  • Page with eight National Anthem candidate songs, with lyrics and comments
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