Caledonia, the song, is an unofficial anthem for Scotland.

Scottish flag and Thistle
Scottish flag and Thistle

Caledonia, the word, is a Latin word for Scotland.

The Scottish folk ballad was written by Dougie MacLean in 1977.

MacLean was visiting the beach in Brittany, France but feeling homesick for his beloved Scotland.   He said: “I was in my early 20s and had been busking around with some Irish guys. I was genuinely homesick. I’d always lived in Perthshire. I played it to the guys when I got back to the youth hostel where we were staying and that was the final straw – we all went home the next day.” He adds: “It took about 10 minutes but sometimes that’s how songs happen. I’m still amazed at how much it has become part of common culture. There’s not a pub singer, busker or pipe band that doesn’t play it.” The song is very similar in its sentiments to a much earlier song called “Jean and Caledonia”.

Scottish countryside and loch
Scottish countryside and loch

MacLean was the first to record the song and publish it on his 1979 album, Caledonia.

Numerous other artists have performed the song, but the most popular version seems to be by Frankie Miller.

While preparing for their 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, there was talk of making Caledonia the official anthem of Scotland, if independence was voted on.  However, the votes did not lead to Scottish independence.

However, Caledonia will remain a love song to Scotland and continue to speak to the hearts of people around the world.


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