Fishing Songs and Bothy Ballads  are traditional throughout Banffshire.

Singing plays an important part in the tradition of The Banffshire Coast, and many tunes and songs that are still performed today were composed on the area’s quaysides and farm bothies. 

The herring lassies would spend long hours working in cold, wet and smelly conditions, yet they remained cheerful and would sing to pass the working day. Records often make reference to the bustling quayside being alive with young quine chattering or singing self-created songs about the fisher way of life. 

Inland, the bothy ballad reigned supreme. These were tunes composed by farm workers and often described their work, funny events that took place on the farm, the courting of kitchen maids and the harsh working regime imposed by farmers. They were called bothy ballads after the bothy where the farm hands would live and spend time at the end of the working day.

Diddling which is a very unusual form of mouth music, which has to be heard to be believed, was also performed.

The annual champion of champions features winners from bothy ballads contests all over the North-east of Scotland. The top performers are brought together in a showdown a few miles from Banffshire in Elgin – the county capital of Moray.

There are traditional music events and ceilidhs all over Banffshire and one not to be missed is Folk At The Salmon Bothy.


We are building up a collection here of the best of the Fishing Song and if you go over to our Heritage section we will be adding a series of the best known Bothy Ballads .

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