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The Campbells are coming is the pipe hymn of the clan Campbell, a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the largest, most powerful and most successful of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll. The Gaelic name of the tune is “Baile Ionaraora” (the town of Inveraray), place where stands the Campbell clan castle. It was composed around 1715 by a piper-composer inspired by a local wedding.   
It was known as a Whig tune and as such was played by the vanguard of the loyalist Scottish troops, many Clan Campbell, as they marched in opposition to the ill-fated Jacobite rebels of 1715 led by the Earl of Mar. It records that in 1716 each of three companies of Argyle’s Highlanders entered Perth and Dundee led by a piper playing "The Campbells are Coming".   

It is said this tune neither played by the clan Cameron (hereditary Campbell’s enemy) nor present in their tunes’ register.

The popular dance tunes "Miss McLeod’s Reel" and "The White Cockade" are derived from “The Campbells are coming”. The cognates of "The Campbells Are Coming" also include "The Baldooser", “The Burnt Old Man”, "Campbell’s Frolic" and "The Field of Hay".

Country Dance

“The Campbells are Coming” was transplanted to American country dance tradition (also known as “Hob or Nob”). Scottish Country Dance Instruction about THE CAMPBELLS ARE COMING (J32) Progressive 2 couple dance may be find in RSCDS Book 24.

1- 8 All turn RH, face partner and set advancing to Balance-in-Line with Ladies in middle giving RH to each other and LH to partners
9-16 Ladies ½ turn RH into Ladies Chain ending back in original places
17-24 All dance RandL starting by giving RH to other partner
25-32 All Adv+Ret and dance on passing other partner RSh to face oncoming couple


Robert Burns took the start of a Jacobite song about the Campbells joining the fray but then alludes to Mary Queen of Scots at Lochleven Castle (where she was imprisoned in 1567). "Great Argyle" (a Campbell) was the 5th Earl who rescued her from there.

The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!
The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!
The Campbells are coming to bonnie LochLeven
The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!

Upon the Lomonds I lay, I lay,
Upon the Lomonds I lay, I lay,
I lookit down to bonnie Lochleven
And saw three perches play-hay-hay!

The Great Argyll he goes before,
He makes the cannons and guns to roar,
With sound o’trumpet, pipe and drum,
The Campbells are coming, Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!

The Campbells they are a’ in arms,
Their loyal faith and truth to show,
With banners rattling in the wind,
The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!


  Les Campbells arrivent Hourra, hourra !
  Les Campbells arrivent Hourra, hourra !
  Les Campbells approchent du beau lac Leven
  Les Campbells arrivent Hourra, hourra !

  Depuis les Lomonds où je me prélasse,
  Depuis les Lomonds où je me prélasse,
  Je regarde en bas le beau lac Leven
  Et y vois trois perches jouer !

  Le 5ème Comte d’Argyll s’y rendit auparavant,
  Il y fit donner du canon et des fusils,
  Au son des trompettes, cornemuses et tambours
  Les Campbells arrivent Hourra, hourra !

  Les Campbells, tous en armes,
  Affichent leur foi et leur droiture,
  Avec leurs bannières claquant au vent,
  Les Campbells arrivent Hourra, hourra !


Bonnie Scotland (Laurel & Hardy)


Those able to walk correctly in a pipe band are advised not to watch these pictures, from Laurel & Hardy walking to the rhythm of "The Campbells are Coming".

The temptation to walk as Laurel is too strong and then, it is difficult to get rid of this bad habit.

The author disclaims all responsibility ;-)

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