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Often mistaken for a traditional Scottish song, this melody was composed by German musicians (Berliners fond of bagpipes) Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb in 1982 for a Highland games held in Germany.

It has become so popular that it has been proposed as the Scottish national anthem to replace unofficial anthems Scotland the Brave and/or Flower of Scotland.
The imagined story behind the words goes that under the reign of King James I of Scotland and England, all clan chiefs were asked to meet in a secret place, the Highland Cathedral (St Columba Church of Scotland, Glasgow), to pledge and ending to their constant feuding, and live in peace.
This they did (as intended) when Highland Cathedral has been played to emphasize the feeling of a National unity. Then peace reigned but, alas, only for as long as the king lived.

Pop singer Madonna chose "Highland Cathedral" for her church wedding ceremony in Scotland (December 2000) and the melody is also played in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.


The first well-known set of lyrics to Highland Cathedral was by Ben Kelly. Two more recent versions are by singer songwriters Terry Mechan and Moira Kerr (her version is given below).

Land of the thistle and the rowan tree
Scotland a nation, proud and free.
Under the Saltire, flying high for me,
Leading us onward to victory.

Aiming high for all to see,
Together we stand, with faith in our land.
In times of trial and in victory,
Scotland we will be there.

High in the mountains the die was cast,
By our forefathers in the past.
Vows of unity and peace were made,
In a Highland cathedral, where the pipers played.


  Terre du chardon et du sorbier,
  L’Ecosse est une nation fière et libre.
  Pour moi elle arbore haut la bannière de Saint-André
  Qui nous mène à la victoire.

  Notre ambition est de nous voir vivre
  Tous ensemble avec loyauté sur nos terres.
  En ces temps de luttes, par la victoire
  L’Ecosse sera toujours là.

  Haut dans les montagnes la mort a été bannie
  Par nos ancêtres qui dans le passé
  ont fait le serment d’unité et de paix,
  Dans une cathédrale lorsque les sonneurs jouèrent.


Bagpipes and organ

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