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Wilds of Wanney

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O my heart’s in the west, on yon wild mossy fells,

Amang muircocks, an' plovers, an' red heather bells,

Where the lambs lie in clusters on yon bonny brae,

On the wild hills o' Wannys, sae far, far away.

There’s Aide Crag, an' Lumd, an' Hepple Heugh, too,

Hartside an’ Darna I've oft been on you,

Ottercaps, Hareshaw, and Peaden sae hie,

An’ the wild hills o' Wannys for ever for me.


There the muircock he becks in his wild mossy hame,

O’er the tops o' the heather ye ken his red kame;

The plover is tilting on yon mossy flows,

The blackcock is crowing on Fernyrigg knowes,

The cranberries creep where they scarce can be seen,

The blackberries peep from the heather between,

An' the sweet-scented wild thyme on yon bonny brae,

On the wild hills o' Wannys sae far, far away.


O Wannys, wild Wannys! thou rears thy proud head,

And boldly thou stand’st 'tween the Wansbeck an’ Reed

Thou rear’st thy proud crest o'er hill, dale, and knowe,

Where of yore Rob o'Risingame bent his strong bow.

The dark ravens feild on thy grey cliffs sae hie,

The fox rears her young anes auld Wannys in thee;

The wild flashing falcon he darts on his prey,

On the wild hills o' Wannys sae far, far away.


 O Wannys, wild Wannys, thy scene it is grand,

On a clear summer’s morn on thy summit to stand,

The hills o' the Carter and Cheviot to view,

An' listen to the lapwing an' lonely Curlew.

The shepherd he climbs thee his fair flocks to see,

An' woo that fair mountain nymph, sweet Liberty,

On the braes by the burnie the lambs loup an’ play

Round the wild hills o' Wannys, sae far, far away!

Round the wild hills o' Wannys 'twas glorious to tread,

When he went otter hunting to Tyne or the Reed,

When Rockwood, an' Ringwood, an' Bugle's clear cry,

An’ Ranger warning the otter to die;

When we trick’t the sly fox to his den in the snow,

An’ howkt him an' trapt him for a grand tally-ho,

An' waked the wild echoes by Sweethope the Rae,

Round the wild hills o' Wannys, sae far, far away!


Round the wild hills o' Wannys in morn's early gleam,

O 'twas grand to gan fishin' away by the Leam,

Wi' the flee o' the woodcock, the green drake, or teal,

Wi' gould-speckled trout we filled mony a creel.

There's the Reed an' the Wansbeck, where dew sweetly fa',

The Lyles burn an’ Reasey, we oft fished them a',

Aye there's mony an auld and sweet heather brae,

Round the wild hills o' Wannys, sae far, far away!


Here's to the hills o' the brave an' the free,

An' the red waving heather sae bonny to see,

An' bright-sparkling streams wimpling down to the dell,

On wild-thyme, an' gowan, and sweet heather bell;

Here's to the wild Wanny’s ilk, hills, dale, and stream,

Still still I am there in my thought an' my dream:

Here's health, peace an' plenty for ever an' aye,

Round the wild hills o' Wannys, sae far, far away!






James Armstrong


Wild Hills O’ Wannys