The founder of a Scottish Gin distillery is helping gin fans welcome in the new year by reviving a Scottish folk tradition - the Bothy Song.

Written and performed by Kim Cameron, folk singer and founder of The Gin Bothy, the Bothy Song revives an old rural tradition in Scotland, which would see farm labourers, specifically in the northeast region of Scotland, who would sleep – or take shelter from the weather – in a Bothy, composed and sang songs to entertain themselves in the evening.

Kim, whose own Bothy is based in, Kirriemuir, Angus, said: “As a big fan of our folk music traditions, especially Bothy songs, I would like to see a more widespread appreciation of the unique musical traditions we have here in rural Scotland.

“Our culture and heritage are enviable worldwide, but if we don’t hold onto and nurture them, they will be lost forever.

The Gin Bothy

Kim founded the Gin Bothy ‘by accident’ in 2014, when the entrepreneur decided to transform the leftover fruit juice from her homemade jam into gin.

Creating gin in the traditional way by making small batches steeped in fruit, hand-turned daily to infuse, with sugar and a few top secret ingredients added to then impart the unique flavour, Kim’s team are now producing an award-winning range of Scottish gins that have quickly gained popularity around the UK – and further afield.

Keen to reflect her own life and work in the Bothy, Kim decided to compose her own Bothy Song, she added: “Having explained all year at our Gin tasting events what a Bothy is (it’s a personal quest!) I thought I’d write my own Bothy Song to help tell the story of days of old.

“So here is the song, best accompanied with Gin, (Yes! I sing at Gin events too with bottle in hand! ) in the hope that this helps connect some “mair folk”  to the world of traditional song and the bygone days of The Bothy.”

 

THE BOTHY SONG by KIM CAMERON

“The Bothies always cheery wi the stories o the day
O work an love an laughter an the lassies teasin ways
But at nicht when a is quiet and just the cracklin o the peat
An the sangs o lang ago and stories o the past

“For the Bothy offers comfort despite its draughty door
And I know that in the future I’ll miss it’s flagstane floor
But nae matter whar I travel An nae matter whar I go
Its the Bothy days that linger Aye the days o lang ago

“Whether highland, lowland, moorland, the Bothies all ways there
It offers some hame comforts when the weathers nae sae fair
One room, one bed and a kettle sway and a kist an a book o dreams

“An the sangs o lang ago an echoes o the past

“So let’s raise a glass tae the Bothy lads an their life in the days o auld
Whether Poutin, Gin or Whisky it’s a life I aye behold
An matter far I travel, aye far fae Scotland’s shores
It’s the Bothy days that haunt us and I make oor heart sair.”

 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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