Celtic & Scottish Studies


Tocher has been published by the School of Scottish Studies Archives since 1971. The journal contains songs, stories, music, customs, beliefs, local history, rhymes and riddles transcribed from tapes held in the sound archive.

Tales, Songs, Tradition

Gaelic material has a facing translation, this allowing non-Gaelic speakers access to the culture as well as providing a service for learners. Scots dialects are also represented (many now on the verge of extinction) and material is glossed where necessary. Audio material is supplemented by items from the small collection of manuscripts held by the School and material from the Place-name survey and the Gaelic and Scots Linguistic surveys. Images in Tocher generally come from the School's Photographic Archive.

Tocher 59 contains a selection from the fieldwork of Emily Lyle including features on milking, seaweed collecting, waulking, the Denholm ba game, pioneer life in Australia, canntaireachd, Gaelic songs from Barra, harvest and funeral customs.

Tocher 57, mainly in Gaelic (with translation), is a celebration of the work of Donald Archie MacDonald with a variety of material - songs, tales, fishing traditions, cures collected from the Uists, Benbecula, Barra, Eriskay, Skye, Eigg, Carradale and Morvern.

Back issues are also available (see list below) and where these are out of print photocopies may be made of individual items.

Tocher 59 cover
Tocher 57 cover

Please note that Tocher 58 is now out of print.

Tocher 58 cover

Tocher Subscriptions

Subscriptions cover two issues of Tocher. Postage and packing is free.

Issues 59, 60, £12

Special introductory offer

Issues 57, 59, 60 £16

Back issues

Back issues are available. See below for listing and prices. Items which are out of print may be photocopied at a cost of 20p per page.

Gift subscriptions

Send your friend Tocher. We will send a gift subscription along with a card containing an image from the photographic archive. Subscription prices as above.

To subscribe to Tocher, order back numbers, place an advertisement or give a donation please contact:

School of Scottish Studies Archives,
University of Edinburgh,
29 George Square,
Email: caroline.milligan@ed.ac.uk

Cheques should be made payable to the University of Edinburgh (Tocher).

Please note that Tocher has no financial subsidy. Volunteers who undertake translation and transcription tasks enable us to keep subscription levels down. We are very grateful for donations received towards printing and publication costs and will be pleased to acknowledge them.

Back Issues

Cost: £4 per issue (No 43, £5) including postage and packing

3 issues, £10

5 issues, £15

2 Donald Alasdair Johnson, Gaelic story teller, South Uist; cutters and gaugers (smuggling and illicit distilling); songs from Fetlar, Elgin, Lewis and Mull. 36 pp.

11 Tall Tales; a tinker who made his fortune; Shetland giant-killer; miscellany of songs (including two pirate songs) etc. 40pp.

14 Miscellany: Frog Princess, AT 302, in Scots; wife taken by fairies; Gaelic repartee in verse; bothy song from Falkirk; children tales, songs, rhymes. 32pp.

41 Christina Shaw and Peggy Morrison, sisters from Harris; Gaelic waulking songs, sea songs, love songs and laments; Ailean Duinn from third sister, Mary Martin; traditions etc. 86 pp.

43 Hamish Hendersons 70th birthday celebratory Tocher, guest-edited by Adam McNaughtan: appreciations, reminiscences and selections from Hamish's recordings. 76pp. Cost £5.

44 Miscellany: including tribute to Willie MacPhee, traveller, tradition-bearer; tales; pipe tune; Gaelic and Scots songs; reviews etc. 64 pp.

45 Student issue, featuring research by undergraduates and post-graduates on diverse subjects: songs, reviews and obituaries. 64 pp.

46 Lewis Grant, a Highlander in Archangel; East and West coast fishing; Durness bards; Balquhidder dairy; Wigtown childhood; obituaries and tributes. 64 pp.

47 Isabelle Tooke, Gardenstown, herring gutting; Gaelic proverbs from North Uist; saying from North Yell; Gaelic stories; Gaelic grace with notes on place-names. 64 pp.

48/49 Double issue: Christina Paterson and Flora MacCuish, Berneray; courtship and marriage customs; songs; Gaelic tales; Mrs J J Leith, Orkney, tribute; reviews etc; David Buchan tribute. 112 pp.

50 Mary Martin, Harris, weaving and waulking; Mary Rae, Selkirk, Border tweeds; Gaelic and Scots songs; Alan Bruford tribute. 64 pp.

51 Student project issue: Edinburgh milk horses; Ayrshire village school; World War I diaries; Gaelic song from Skye; obituary; errata; Notes and Queries. 64 pp.

52 Memorial issue for the late Dr Alan Bruford: selections from his recordings of his informants all over Scotland and some of his compositions, plus work by his students. 64 pp.

53 The Orkney ba game; Gaelic place names in Strathtummel; Rob Roy anecdotes; Our Goodman, a collection of songs in Gaelic and English; Peter Hall appreciation and song; reviews. 64 pp.

54/55 Double issue: Harvesting and farming in the Lothians, Glen Isla and Easter Ross; Norman MacDonald, biographical notes; Gaelic songs and tales; traveller tale from Betsy Whyte; CD and book reviews etc. 108 pp.

56 Jimmy Williamson, son of Duncan Williamson (Tocher 33), also a traditional storyteller, song writer and musician; Gaelic story and lament from South Uist; Shetland rhymes and story; Edinburgh reminiscences; CD and book reviews. 48 pp.

Back issues which are out of print

Individual items can be photocopied (20p per page, minimum cost £1)

1 Miscellany, from Shetland to Galloway: with ballads, tales and anecdotes of pipers etc and Gaelic songs, four from Mrs Annie Arnott, Skye. 32 pp.

3 Alasdair Boyd, Gaelic singer, South Uist/Oban. More gaugers; witches and evil eye; shipwreck song; bothy ballads; Halloween lore; nonsense tale etc. 32 pp.

4 Miscellany: parallels to two Grimms Fairy Tales in Scots and Gaelic; comic ballads, lullabies etc; Christmas tales, songs and lore. 32 pp.

5 Ethel Findlater, Orkney singer; Burkers and Resurrectionists: two Gaelic versions of tale AT 922; Kintail historical tradition with song; Border bothy song etc. 36 pp.

6 Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen singer and story teller; stocktaking rhymes; second sight stories; songs from Aberdeenshire, Harris and Barra. 32 pp.

7 Nan MacKinnon, Gaelic singer, Vatersay; folk tales from North and South Uist; Halloween and Michaelmas customs and recipes. 32pp.

8 Brucie Henderson, Aberdeen singer and storyteller; ghoulies and ghosties; seals and seal-folk; hunting the wren and other Christmas and New Year songs and lore. 36pp.

9 William Ferguson, Morvern Gaelic storyteller; tales and a ballad of parents who murdered their sons; Islay shipwreck; Rumpelstiltskin in Gaelic etc. 36 pp.

10 In memory of Hugh MacKinnon, Eigg local historical traditions and Gaelic songs. 44 pp.

12 Jimmy MacBeath, bothy singer; tall tales; fiddle tune from fairies; New Year rhymes and customs etc. 40pp.

13 In memory of Annie and Calum Johnston, Barra; 17 Gaelic songs, four folktales and comments on life and music. 48pp.

15 Davie Stewart, traveller singer; tales with sung rhymes, Gaelic and Scots; how tea, bread and bacon first came; Eigg shipwreck etc. 40pp.

16 Clearances, evictions and emigration; Peter Morrison, storyteller and bard from Grimsay, Uist; songs on the Rigs of London Town and a Cairngorm tragedy. 44pp.

17 More lairds and factors; rhymes for small bairns; Ned Maddrell, last native speaker of Manx; tale AT 325; Mull song, toasts etc. Notes and Queries. 40pp.

18 Donald Sinclair, Tiree tradition-bearer; Fife nurses tale AT 328; songs, childhood memories, dyeing etc. 40pp

19 Jamesie Laurenson, oral historian of Fetlar; fishing memories; three Child ballads; cures and other lore. 40pp.

20 Ceit An Tailleir (Mrs K Dix), Berneray story-teller and bard; fishing methods, customs, songs etc; 3 versions of Child 2; New Year songs etc. 44pp.

21 The Stewarts of Blair, singers and storytellers in travelling family; fishing tragedy, comedy and hardship; Arran tradition, customs etc. 44pp.

22 Margaret Mackay, Gaelic singer from Harris; Greenland memories of whales, bears etc. tales of lairdsfools; Child 188; charms etc. 40pp.

23 Bessie Whyte, Perthshire traveller; tales, riddles, Scots and Gaelic songs; Sutherland fishing; seasonal customs etc. 40pp.

24 Donald Morrison, oral historian and Gaelic singer from Mull; Christmas and New Year tales and customs from Fetlar to Airdrie; mouth music from Carrick etc. 44pp

25 Duncan MacDonald (1882-1954), South Uist storyteller; Willie Scott, Border shepherd singer of 80; new review section with discographies etc. 64pp.

26 Jock Dass, John George Halcro, James Henderson, South Ronaldsay, songs, tales, traditions, fairies and fairy music; Strathglass piping tradition, reviews etc. 64pp

27 Mrs Kate MacDonald (Bean Eairdsidh Raghaill 1897-1977), South Uist singer; way with fairies, bothy ballad, fiddle tunes reviews etc. 72pp.

28 A host of fairies (from Unst to Kintyre); ploys and pastimes, East Sutherland fishing songs, place-names, discography, book and record reviews etc. 72pp.

29 Alasdair Stewart, Brian the Gaelic traveller storyteller; the press-gang traditions; Perthshire ballad; place-names; reviews etc 72pp.

30 Tom Tulloch, North Yell, Shetland, tales and memories; betrothal customs; songs etc. 72pp.

31 Willie Mitchell, Campbeltown, singer and songwriter; tales AT 551, 327, 1187 from travellers and South Uist; Whalsay and Barra music; legends etc 68pp.

32 Hector Kennedy, Tiree tradition-bearer; local history and Gaelic songs; The Goloshans; Jeannie Robertson reminiscences; tales; place-names; discography etc. 72pp.

33 Traveller number: Duncan Williamson, Argyll-born traveller; long and short stories; ballad; Jeannie Robertson on her parents; place-names, review etc. 72pp.

34 All features: Calum Johnston, Barra; Jock Cameron, Lowland miner; Donald McColl, Ardnamurchan bard; Andrew Hunter, Shetland; songs; tunes; legends. 68pp.

35 William Matheson, Gaelic scholar and singer; 30 songs, wide ranging with classic Gaelic ballad; historical traditions; Gaelic reviews, discography etc. 76pp.

36/37 Decennial double issue: John Strachan, Aberdeenshire farmer and singer; songs, tales, traditions etc from all over Scotland; many photographs. 112pp.

38 Nan MacKinnon, Vatersay, singer and storyteller (supplement to Tocher 7); Mick McFall, Clydeside tales; piping tradition etc. 80pp.

39 Calum MacLean: in memory of the Schools first fieldworker; tributes; songs; tales; instrumental music from all over Scotland recorded from his informants. 88pp.

40 Stanley Robertson, Aberdeen traveller, storyteller and singer; tales, ballads; Fairs and Feeing Markets; oral history; reviews of fiddle books etc. 88pp.

42 Scots overseas: memories and family histories of emigrants to Canada and Australia; relevant reviews and bibliography and place-name article. 84 pp.

58 Tocher 58, focuses on witches and contains tributes to Hamish Henderson (with a special feature on piping), Ailie Munro, Basil Megaw and Alan Lomax.