The Leaving of Berneray is a Gaelic song that has been superbly recorded by Karen Matheson and the band Capercaillie. It is the inspiration behind a movie created by Julian Paren to publicize Berneray Hostel and the beautiful island surrounding it.
In the words of John Humphries, Trustee of the Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust, in his daily blog for April 23 2014.
“The Gatliff Hostel on Berneray provides a place of destination on an island of inspiration. May I suggest that you make a cup of tea (at home or work, if you are not at the hostel), sit in front of this screen, click the button here and settle down for just under ten minutes to see, hear and experience something of this accessible and stimulating accommodation in its setting of an idyllic environment. The YouTube creation of Julian Paren will transport you from the building to the beach and beyond.”
Here is the song in Gaelic and a translation into English by Murdo MacLeod
On chuir mi mo chùl ri stùcan eilean as bòidhch’
Gu bheil mi gun sunnd fo thùrs’ ‘s mo chridhe fo leòn
Nuair thig na mo chuimhn’ na glinn san robh mi o m’ òig
Far an iarrainn bhi tàmh gach là cho fad ‘s bhithinn beò
Bheir sùil air mun cuairt ‘s a bhruaichean uile ‘s iad làn
Seamarag is neòinean, sòbhrag bhuidhe ann a fàs
Smeòrach nan geug air sgèith a’caithream gu h-àrd
Cò chunnaic e riamh nach iarradh ann a bhi tàmh
Bha’m pailteas ann riamh den bhiadh ‘s cha bhitheadh oirrn èis
Bha iasg ann is feòil ‘s gach seòrs’ air an cuireadh tù feum
Tha lus ann a fàs bheir slàint’ a dh’iomadach crèuchd
Ann an eilean beag Bheàntraigh ‘s àille leam tha fon ghrèin
Translated from the Gaelic by Murdo Macleod
The Leaving of Berneray
Since I bade farewell to the beautiful hillocky isle
I am weighed down with sorrow and my heart is heavy
Recalling the glens of my childhood
Where I would wish to live for the rest of my days
Take a look around and see its bountiful banks
Where clover, daisy, and yellow primrose grow
The thrush from the bough, on the wing, sings high above
On seeing it the who wouldn’t wish to live there.
Food was always plentiful and we were never in need
There was fish and meat and everything you required
Flowers grow there which can cure many ailments
On the small island of Bernera the most beautiful place to me under the sun.