By Yon Bonnie Banks

 

 

Our fantastic journey of sixteen hundred miles and thirteen days was nearly done, and we came again to Loch Lomond for our last evening in Scotland.  We ordered dinner in the café and carried it out to a table on the balcony.  Wistfully, I gazed out over the blue waters and thought of that beautiful but melancholy song I'd heard since childhood. Legend has it that the Scottish song "Loch

 

Lomond" was written by a Jacobite soldier from Argyll who was captured and left behind in England after the rising of 1745.  He was to be executed,  while  his  comrades were to be released.  According to Gaelic folklore, the spirit of the dead travel by the "low road" and the

 

condemned man would arrive in Scotland while the living were still struggling over the rugged terrain of the "high road."  And so, the soldier who would be put to death wrote to one of his comrades of the sweetheart he would never meet again, and the lovely loch they had so often and so well enjoyed ...

 
 
   
 
     

 By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,

Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,

Where me an' my true love were ever wont to gae ~

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

Oh, ye'll tak the high road an' I'll tak the low road,

And I'll be in Scotland afore ye,

But me an' my true love will never meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

'Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen

On the steep, steep sides o' Ben Lomond,

Where in the purple hue, the Hieland hills we view,

An' the moon comin' out in the gloamin'.

(An Unknown Soldier)

 

 

Now, our own parting at Loch Lomond was not from each other but from the land we had come to love so well on the journey which had begun only two weeks before.  How swiftly the days had flown!

 

Along the way, we'd encountered creatures great and small.  We'd visited kirks and castles, lovely gardens and inspiring tombs. We'd surveyed battlefields and monuments, sky-blue lochs and picturesque bridges.  We'd gazed at lofty mountains and shining rivers and seas.  We'd enjoyed charming hospitality and wonderful Scottish cooking.  And we'd discovered our Scottish heritage, and our heritage of faith.

 

For most of my life, seeing Scotland had been my heart’s desire, while John once would have been happy never to leave American soil.  Then, a few years ago, we went to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina, and John began to think that a visit to Scotland just might be fun.  Still, the trip was my dream, and he was willing to go anywhere I wanted, no matter how remote, and in spite of having to drive on the wrong side of the road, from the wrong side of the car.  It was sometimes a daunting task.  Imagine my surprise, then, on the plane leaving Glasgow to come home again, when he smiled at me and declared, “We are coming back to Scotland!”  Then I thought, having seen and done all I had dreamed, that my journey of a lifetime could not have been more perfect.

 

 

 

For we're no awa' tae bide awa',

For we're no awa' tae le'e ye!

No, we're no awa' tae bide awa'!

We'll aye come back an' see ye!

 

 

 

Midi: "Loch Lomond"

 

 

Copyright © 2006, 2016 House of Lynn

 

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