Largo Bay

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LARGO BAY. Scottish, Strathspey. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The bayside town of Largo is situated on the Firth of Forth, in Fife, and Largo Bay is located on the northern shore of the Forth Estuary. Guide to the East Neuk of Fife (1886), by D. Hay Fleming, gives:

Largo Bay extends from Kincraig Point to Methil, a distance of five miles and a half in a straight line, but much more, of course, on the curve. It is marked, says Oliphant, "by a ridge of sand..... . . . called by fishermen the Dike. Of this there is a tradition, although probably not well founded, among the oldest inhabitants of Largo, that there was formerly a wall or mound running from Kincraig Point to that of the Methil, containing within it a vast forrest, called the Wood of Forth." The roots of the trees of this submerged forest can still be seen at extra low tides. It is almost superfluous to say that the bay is well adapted for bathing.

The second stanza of the song "The Boatie Rows" (printed in Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum, vol.5, p. 427) mentions Largo Bay:

I cuist my line in Largo Bay,
And fishes I caught nine;
There’s three to boil, and three to fry,
And three to bait the line.
The boatie rows, the boatie rows,
The boatie rows indeed
And happy be the lot of a’,
That wishes her to speed!

However, the song predates Johnson's collection and poet Robert Burns, who credited they lyric to Joiix Ewen, born in Montrose, Scotland, in 1741. Ewen made his home in Aberdeen, however, and died there in October, 1821.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 3; No. 99, p. 12.

Recorded sources:

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