BALLAD OF LOCH MAREE
Words and music by Lachlan Irvine
[G] On the bonny shores of [C] Loch Ma-[G]-ree, on a [C] sparkling [G] autumn [D] day,
The [G] finest work of [C] nature's [G] hand lay [C] before me [D] on dis-[G]-play.
[C] My travels round the [G] highlands were [C] nearly at an [G] end,
Too [C] soon I'd be in [G] Aberdeen and [C] back at [D] work a-[G]-gain.
[G] Fly-in, fly-out, week [C] off, week [G] on was a [C] life that [G] suited [D] me;
[G] Drilling the oil that [C] hides be-[G]-neath the [C] icy [D] cold North [G] Sea.
[C] I must have lost all [G] track of time while [C] I was sitting [G] there.
A [C] fog was spreading [G] all around, and a [C] chill was [D] in the [G] air.
[G] Out of the mist be-[C]-fore my [G] eyes, [C] riding a [G] chestnut [D] mare,
Came the [G] fairest lass that [C] ever I've [G] seen, with [C] fire [D] in her [G] hair.
[C] It seemed her eyes were [G] fixed on mine, and [C] when she drew up [G] near
[C] I heard her calling [G] out to me in a [C] voice both [D] loud and [G] clear.
[G] She said "you need to [C] go with [G] me, or [C] face the [G] coming [D] storm.
[G] I know a place on [C] yonder [G] hill where [C] we'll be [D] safe and [G] warm."
[C] She took me to a [G] crofter's hut; we [C] talked away the [G] night,
It was [C] there I pledged my [G] love for her be-[C]-fore the [D] dawning [G] light.
[G] When morning came, I [C] had to [G] leave; we [C] shared a [G] last em-[D]-brace.
[G] We swore we'd meet on [C] my re-[G]-turn, same [C] day, same [D] time, same [G] place.
[C] With heavy heart I [G] went to work for [C] one more shift off-[G]-shore;
My [C] only hope that [G] soon I'd see my [C] highland [D] lass once [G] more.
[G] At last the happy [C] day ar-[G]-rived; I [C] headed [G] west with [D] haste.
[G] But nothing could pre-[C]-pare me [G] for the [C] scene that [D] soon I [G] faced.
[C] To my surprise at [G] Loch Maree, I [C] found in the wintry [G] chill
No [C] red haired lass, no [G] chestnut mare, no [C] croft u-[D]-pon a [G] hill.
[G] I searched and searched for [C] miles a-[G]-round, but [C] nowhere [G] could I [D] see
[G] What I remembered [C] fondly [G] from my [C] night at [D] Loch Ma-[G]-ree.
[C] The crofter's hut was [G] gone as though it [C] never did ex-[G]-ist;
My [C] hopes of love were [G] fading like a [C] melting [D] highland [G] mist.
[G] I asked of every-[C]-one I'd [G] meet, about the [C] lass with [G] fiery [D] hair.
[G] They all agreed no-[C]-one like [G] that had [C] ever [D] lived around [G] there.
[C] Was she a dream, or [G] was she real? And [C] will I ever [G] know?
Each [C] time I come a-[G]-shore there's just one [C] place where [D] I must [G] go.
[G] Same day, same time, same [C] place, you'll [G] find me [C] sitting [G] there a-[D]-lone,
[G] Dreaming by the [C] shoreline [G] in a [C] world all [D] of my [G] own;
[C] Waiting for a [G] highland lass, the [C] fairest I'll ever [G] see
To [C] come to me out [G] of the mist at [C] bonny [D] Loch Ma-[G]-ree.
I wanted to write a song in the tradition of the ancient Scottish folk ballads, which often have a supernatural element. I
drew on my experience of working on a North Sea oil rig and travelling around the Scottish Highlands in the 1970s, and made
the location my favourite of the inland lochs, Loch Maree.
To hear my home-made recording of this song, go to:
THE BALLAD OF LOCH MAREE
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