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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid




Another of the candidates for a Scottish national anthem. The music and lyrics are by Dougie MacLean. The song is published by Limetree Arts and Music.

I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid that I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem so far away today


Ah but let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me and now I'm going home
But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had

I have moved and kept on moving, proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing, found others on the way
I have tried and I've kept on trying, stolen dreams, yes there's no denying*
I have travelled hard, sometimes with conscience flying somewhere in the wind

Now I'm sitting here before the fire, the empty room, the forest choir
The flames that couldn't get any higher, they've withered, now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking, my way is clear and I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands have shaken and the kisses flow Oh I will disappear.

*The original lyric for this line was 'I have kissed the ladies and left them crying'. Dougie changed the lyric for Frankie Miller when he released 'Caledonia' as a single and, feeling comfortable with the new lyric himself, carried on singing the new version.

'Caledonia' hit the headlines in late 2008 when it was launched as the main star in the Homecoming Scotland 2009 television advertising campaign. Sir Sean Connery, Lulu, Brian Cox and Amy MacDonald are just a few of the Scottish stars who appeared in the television advert encouraging Scotland’s people to take part in 2009’s Homecoming celebrations. As well as stars of song and screen, sporting heroes including Sam Torrance and Chris Hoy also added their voices to the campaign.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond said: ''Caledonia' is a song that resonates with Scots the world over. For those far away it is a reminder of strong bonds, full of the promise of return. That is what makes it the perfect anthem for our Year of Homecoming.'

Listen to 'Caledonia' as performed by a group from Ullapool High School (1998).