ONCE again, Flower of Scotland is challenged both in words and tune as being worthy as Scotland’s anthem (Herald letters, October 3). Personally, I would welcome Highland Cathedral, with its more melodic strident tones.

Regardless of choice, it would also be pleasing to note that a genuine attempt to sing the words is being made.

Sadly, many sports persons remain silent as the whole cringing ritual is enacted out.

Allan C Steele,


I BROADLY agree with Neil Mackay’s comments about national anthems (October 1).

Although I am less concerned about God Save The Queen, I do agree that Jerusalem would be a far better anthem for England and I think it is now played each morning when the English test cricket team - or their batsmen - take to the field.

As regards the ghastly Flower of Scotland I am in total agreement with Mr Mackay. I cannot stand it. It’s a dreadful, anti-English dirge and I particularly dislike the mawkish “Ma wee bit hill and glen”.

However, could I add to Mr Mackay’s list of possible alternatives and make the case for Highland Cathedral?

I think this used to be the last tune played before the Scottish rugby team ran out at Murrayfield but it no longer seems to feature. I think it should now replace the ‘dirge’ - or at least change places with it.

I have heard several different lyrics for Highland Cathedral but those written by Simon Paterson-Brown and Chris Thomson seem to be so much more uplifting than those of Flower of Scotland and the tune is far, far better. Immeasurably so.

Nearly seven years ago several past and (then) present Scottish internationals were recorded on video (see Kelly Brown and Voices of Scottish Rugby on YouTube) singing Paterson-Brown and Thomson’s lyrics to Highland Cathedral.

This promotion was, I presume, authorised by the Scottish Rugby Union and I cannot understand why they did not go on to adopt the song as the anthem.

The first verse and chorus are as follows:

Scotland, my country and my land of birth

Highlands and islands to the Solway Firth

Where e’er I travel and where e’er I roam

Highland Cathedral in my heart, my home.....

The other verses are similarly cheerful. No anti-Englishness, no harking back to battles long ago just a stirring and positive expression of pride in Scotland.

I have been to several of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s (SFO) annual concerts at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh between Christmas and New Year; and, four years ago when I presume the choice of a Scottish anthem was in the news, Jim McColl, introducing a rousing finale to the evening, said, “If we’re going to replace the current anthem, Highland Cathedral is my numero uno.”

His remarks were very well received and SFO’s playing of Highland Cathedral, accompanied - if I remember correctly - by the Stockbridge Pipe Band, drew the biggest applause of the night.

Flower of Scotland’s days are in the past. It should now be consigned to history.

Peter Murray,


I REFRAIN from entering the debate on a replacement for Flower of Scotland, with its daft lyrics, as Scotland’s national anthem, (Herald letters, October 2 and 3), but suggest that party political broadcasts and public debates in the forthcoming general election should be preceded by “It’s Only Make Believe”, which topped the charts in 1958.

“People see us everywhere, They think we really care. But ourselves we can’t deceive, We know it’s Only Make Believe.”

(With apologies to Jack Nance and Conrad Twitty).

R Russell Smith,