You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

So Many Partings (clip 1)

Scenes of farewell and of the old ways of life, set to traditional songs reflecting emigration

  • Print All


Grampian Television documentary about emigration in the 1960s. A steamer funnel blows, and crowds say goodbye to departing passengers on the quayside. There are shots of the passenger liner and waving passengers, and the launch takes the passengers out to the steamer waiting in the dock. They board, and the ship weighs anchor. There are emotional shots of people watching the shore recede as the ship sails away, waving corn fields, and wild cotton blowing in the wind. There are landscape shots of lochs, hills and forests. A waterfall tumbles down the rocks, and birds preen near the water. We see blossom, and flowers, and the sunlight catching moving water. A close-up of a woman in thought, shots of a craggy coast, of small coastal houses and the shore with breaking waves; an abandoned boat hulked on the beach. A young boy sits on the cliff, watching the ocean. Horses draw a plough across a field, guided by an elderly farmer. We see the plough cut the soil. The farmer lifts stacks of straw into a cart pulled by another horse and takes it to the ricks.

Questions & Activities


  • Why do you think they are leaving and where are they going?
  • What expectations do they have?
  • What promises does a republic make to its citizens and a kingdom make to its subjects?
  • How does the ship's horn make you feel?
  • Do you think they have changed the sound to make you feel this way?
  • Do you think it is more emotional to leave by boat or plane?
  • Do the words contradict the images in any way?


International Education / Global Citizenship: The film shows scenes that could be Canada, Switzerland or Norway. Discuss the concept of motherland, homeland and nationality. Discuss what it means to be Scottish, European or African. Are Scots inward looking or outward looking, even when we go abroad?

Graphic Communication: Using this clip as a starting point, research the post-agricultural romanticism that swept popular European art at the close of the 19th and early 20th Century.

English / Music: This clip features the Robert Burns song 'Of All the Airts.'€ Use this clip to discuss whether this poem sentimentalises the old agricultural ways, or is a middle-class nineteen sixties treatment of Burns. Compare and contrast this with modern folk versions of Burns that claim to go back to the roots in the enlightenment collection The Scots Musical Museum.

Clearances (primary): Discuss the emotions shown in the film as well as the sentimentalisation of emigration and exile.

Moving Image Education: Watch the film without the sound and try to work out what the film is about. Then watch the film again with sound and ask whether there the words contradict the images in any way.

Discussion exercise: What are the pros and cons of living in Scotland historically and now? Many people are desperate to leave, but there are also many who want to come here. What are the push and pull factors? This could also be used as the starting point for an essay.

Creative writing: Pick one of the people on the boat or on the shore and write a story showing why they are there and how they are feeling.

English: Analyse the poetic narration that opens the film. Make up your own poem that either explains why people should come to Scotland or why they should stay.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-137-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of Scottish Television
Project Ref 0806
Date 1966
Genre TV Documentary
School Subject Social Studies, History, Geography, Music, English
Subject Matter Media, Emigration, Immigrants and Exiles, Free at Last, Journeys, Life in the Sixties, International
Who Edward Joffe (director), Grampian Television (production company)
Where Greenock
Event Emigration
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 8:32
Film Length 26:50
References Alan Spence 'Sailmaker'.  
© Archive film content and stills licensed by National Library of Scotland and other rights holders. Other Website Content Copyright Creative Scotland.
All Rights Reserved.
Creative Scotland, The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU