Solo Scottish step dance know from oral tradition from South Uist where it was originally taught by Ewan MacLachlan in the mid-nineteenth century and from Angus and Fife.
William Adamson – of Kingskettle, Fife
John MacMillan – of South Uist
Donald (Roidein) MacDonald – of South Uist
Archie MacPherson – of South Uist
John MacLeod – of Eochar, South Uist
James Neill of Forfar, Angus
Firstly dealing with the dance from South Uist, the most complete notation for the dance was obtained from:
Angus John MacLellan who had learned from his father who in turn had the dance from Ewan MacLachlan – 8 steps – see an interview by Frank Rhodes with him on 28/4/1955 and his MS notes of the dance.
Roderick MacPherson who had learned to dance from his father, who in turn had learned from Ewan MacLachlan, and his mother who learned in Eochar – 10 steps – see an interview by Frank Rhodes with him on 29/4/1955.
A collated notation, in Tom Flett’s handwriting, from these two informants is available, although undated and effectively unattributed (although steps marked “A.J.” are clearly from Angus John MacLellan and those marked “R” from Roderick MacPherson).
Further steps were collected from:
Fearchar MacNeil who had learned to dance from his grandfather Neil Buchanan who in turn learned from a dancing master named Ronald Morrison – 6 steps -collected by Tom Flett in the 1950s given in his undated and unattributed original fieldwork notes.
John MacLeod who had learned the dance from Archie MacPherson and was able to demonstrate 8 steps – see from an interview by Tom Flett with John MacLeod on 12/4/1953 and a notation by Tom Flett undated and unattributed but believed to be from this source (“Jack” is believed to be Jack Maconachie). Jack McConachie published a version in his 1950s Letter Service Series as collected from John MacLeod .
Descriptions of both versions are published in Flett, J.F. & T.M., Traditional Step Dancing in Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Cultural Press. 1996, 72-76, 135-135.
A third version was is known from William Adamson of Fife. He taught the dance to juveniles, boys and girls, normally seven steps, one in quick time. A full notation is available, derived from an interviews by Tom Flett with William Adamson on 8/9/1956.