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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Rolling Home to Caledonia

There are different versions of this song and it is perhaps better known as 'Rolling Home to Dear Old England'.

Stan Hugill, in 'Shanties from the Seven Seas' (1961), calls it 'the most famous homeward-bound song of them all'. He prints eight pages of various versions; one of them is in German and sings of rolling home to Hamburg.

Rollin home, rollin home, rollin home across the sea
Rollin home to Caledonia, rollin home, dear land, to thee

Ten thousand miles ahind us, just a hundred miles afore
And the ocean rins to tak us tae oor best-beloved shore
We will join in joyous chorus, in the watches o the night
For we'll see our land of Scotland, when the grey dawn brings the light

Up aloft, amongst the riggin, blaws the loud exultin gale
Like a birdie's wide-stretched pinions, spreadin wide each swellin sail
The wild waves cut behind us, and they murmur as they flow
There are lovin hearts that wait for you, in the land to which you go

There are welcome cheers tae greet us, there are kisses for us all
Mothers, faithers, wives and faimilies, standin at the harbour wall
They will tell us o their longin, we will tell them o oor trials
And at last we will be safe home, after aa the weary miles.

'Rolling Home to Caledonia', performed by Ewan McVicar.
Recorded for Learning and Teaching Scotland for Scotland's Songs.