Loch Lomond or “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond” is a well-known traditional Scottish song.
The original composer is unknown. The lyrics we know today are not even the original lyrics. The original lyrics are said to be “a Jacobite lament written after the Battle of Culloden.”
While there are many theories about the meaning of the song most remain unknown. It is believed that most of the meanings are connected with the Jacobite Uprising of 1745.
The Lochlomond website says, “John Purser in his monumental work, ‘Scotland’s Music’ (1992), says the event it commemorates is the Jacobite army’s return from their most southerly point, Derby, in England, to Carlisle, still south of the border, in1745. He claims the tune is a variant of an earlier one: ‘The Bonnie Hoose o’ Airlie’ – and this is based on the opinion of Bertrand Bronson in the ‘The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads III’ (1966). Nevertheless, others, notably Johnson in his ‘Music and Society in Lowland Scotland in the Eighteen Century’ (1972), makes a link between the tune and the equally venerable ‘The Lowlands of Holland’ – so that all we can be absolutely certain is that the melody has direct links into the traditional balladry of Scotland.”
The song features Loch Lomond, the largest Scottish loch or lake. Loch Lomond is located between Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire.
The song was first published in the 1841 Vocal Melodies of Scotland.
The melody of the song has become iconic and can easily stir images of Scotland in the mind.
“In Scotland, the song is often the final piece of music played during an evening of revelry (a dance party or dinner, etc.).”
The song has been covered by my many artists over the years.
A movie has also been made on the Loch Lomond legend.