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

Back issues

Back issues are available. See below for listing and prices.

Gift subscriptions

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: scottish.studies.archives@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: £5 per issue including postage and packing

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.

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

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

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

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.