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You Take the High Road (clip)

A film about Scottish identity

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The fishing and farming villages of the East coast and the scenery of the West coast are used as a backdrop for traditional Scottish airs and tunes. The film features shots of Crail harbour with fishing boats; a catch of fresh crabs; Pittenweem harbour with fishermen mending nets; boats coming into the harbour; a catch of fish being unloaded from boat and fresh fish in boxes at fish market; fish being weighed; children picking up live crayfish from boxes; fish auction; whiting being hung on racks for smoking; young fisherman leaving his boat and meeting girlfriend (music: Webers' arrangement of "Robin is My Only Joy"); St Monance Church and shots inside church showing congregation; shots of mountain scenery, a family cycling on highland road (music: "Highland Laddie" arranged by Beethoven); highland landscape; shot of a gamekeeper carrying a gun and and dead rabbits over his shoulder.

Questions & Activities


  • Where does the narrator change his accent? Why might he do this and what effect does it have?
  • The sound for this film was recorded separately from the image, how can you tell?
  • Where do you think the film is set?
  • The narrator says 'everybody goes to worship on the Sabbeth'? Why do you think religion is so important to the community in the film?


Modern Studies / PSD: What does the narrator say is important to Scottish Identity? Do you agree? Create your own film/multimedia essay/photostory/song illustrating your own list.

History: The narrator talks about the important 'influence of the Auld Alliance with France', what does this mean?

English / Modern Studies: Make a list of poems, songs, films, tv shows, books, places and people which show what Scotland means to you.

Music: Find a different arrangement of 'Highland Laddie' from the Beethoven one in the film and compare them.

Music: What examples can you find of traditional songs being reinterpreted?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-333-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 3265
Date 1959
Genre Documentary
School Subject Music, Modern Studies, English, History, Social Studies, Media Studies
Subject Matter PSD
Who Hans G Casparius (director), Music in Miniature Films Ltd (production company)
Where Crail, Ericht Loch, Iona Abbey, Mull, Pittenweem, Tobermory
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 7:23
Film Length 17:45