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TITLE
'It's Off to Kildonan', a gold-digger's song
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_JOHNMACKAY
PLACENAME
Kildonan
DISTRICT
Kildonan, Loth and Clyne
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
SUTHERLAND: Kildonan
DATE OF RECORDING
1991
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
John Mackay
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1740
KEYWORDS
songs
ballads
prospecting
panning
audio

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In 1868, in the Strath of Kildonan in Sutherland, a local man - Robert Gilchrist - was given permission by the Duke of Sutherland to prospect for gold. By the spring of the following year over 600 prospectors had flocked to the area and two temporary camps were created. The Duke introduced one-pound licences to pan for gold in the River Helmsdale and its tributaries, but after complaints from local farmers, fishermen and sportsmen about the disturbance caused by the prospectors, the licenses were terminated. By 1870, the 'gold rush' was over. In this Moray Firth Radio audio extract from 1991, John Mackay sings a ballad specially written for the Kildonan gold-diggers.

There was a song written of the - about the gold diggings in Kildonan; we call it the 'Goldiggers' Song', but actually, 'It's Off To Kildonan' is the proper title of it and it was written by Sandy Grant Evelux, who was up there digging, I understand, at the last diggings that was - took place. And he wrote this song, and it's really a very nice, young and lively song. So I will give the song just for good measure.

I'm off to Kildonan, my fortune for to try
I'm off by the first train, so kind friends goodbye
To dig the precious metal and to sell it to P.G
Oh digging, oh you know, what a jolly life haye we

So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade
A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made
A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way
We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day

When I come back again with lots of gold you know
I'll buy Mr. Dougal a shop for Sandy Grant and co
I'll go to Inverness and I'll buy the Maggot Green
Quite a suitable place for the ladies to be seen

So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade
A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made
A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way
We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day

I'll marry a little wifie, perhaps she may be here
Oh ladies don't be angry, you're looking white wi fear
Oh ladies don't be angry, for some of you must want
Because you know ye cannot all be Mrs. Sandy Grant!

So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade
A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made
A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way
We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day

When I am dead and gone and my name it is forgotten
I'll leave a thousand pounds for old dank and Culloden
I'll leave another thousand in case of another flood
And I'll leave another thousand for the working man's club

So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade
A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made
A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way
We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day

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'It's Off to Kildonan', a gold-digger's song

SUTHERLAND: Kildonan

1990s

songs; ballads; prospecting; panning; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Miscellaneous

In 1868, in the Strath of Kildonan in Sutherland, a local man - Robert Gilchrist - was given permission by the Duke of Sutherland to prospect for gold. By the spring of the following year over 600 prospectors had flocked to the area and two temporary camps were created. The Duke introduced one-pound licences to pan for gold in the River Helmsdale and its tributaries, but after complaints from local farmers, fishermen and sportsmen about the disturbance caused by the prospectors, the licenses were terminated. By 1870, the 'gold rush' was over. In this Moray Firth Radio audio extract from 1991, John Mackay sings a ballad specially written for the Kildonan gold-diggers. <br /> <br /> There was a song written of the - about the gold diggings in Kildonan; we call it the 'Goldiggers' Song', but actually, 'It's Off To Kildonan' is the proper title of it and it was written by Sandy Grant Evelux, who was up there digging, I understand, at the last diggings that was - took place. And he wrote this song, and it's really a very nice, young and lively song. So I will give the song just for good measure.<br /> <br /> I'm off to Kildonan, my fortune for to try<br /> I'm off by the first train, so kind friends goodbye <br /> To dig the precious metal and to sell it to P.G<br /> Oh digging, oh you know, what a jolly life haye we<br /> <br /> So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade <br /> A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made <br /> A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way <br /> We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day <br /> <br /> When I come back again with lots of gold you know <br /> I'll buy Mr. Dougal a shop for Sandy Grant and co<br /> I'll go to Inverness and I'll buy the Maggot Green <br /> Quite a suitable place for the ladies to be seen <br /> <br /> So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade <br /> A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made <br /> A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way <br /> We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day<br /> <br /> I'll marry a little wifie, perhaps she may be here <br /> Oh ladies don't be angry, you're looking white wi fear <br /> Oh ladies don't be angry, for some of you must want <br /> Because you know ye cannot all be Mrs. Sandy Grant!<br /> <br /> So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade <br /> A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made <br /> A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way <br /> We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day<br /> <br /> When I am dead and gone and my name it is forgotten <br /> I'll leave a thousand pounds for old dank and Culloden<br /> I'll leave another thousand in case of another flood <br /> And I'll leave another thousand for the working man's club<br /> <br /> So we'll jog along the road wi the pick and the spade <br /> A nice little dainty pair o brogues newly made <br /> A gallon o the pure for to cheer us on the way<br /> We're off to Kildonan at the dawning of the day