In 2016 the people of Kinlochleven heard the news that refugees fleeing the horror of the war in Syria were to be resettled in their village. From the first public meeting the willingness to warmly welcome and help the families  was so visible. This song is a tribute to the people of Kinlochleven who have done so much to keep the tradition of the Highland welcome going when some fellow human beings who had lost everything needed a place of peace to rebuild their lives. The chorus is an epigram by Robert Burns written after his visit to the Highlands, while one of the refugees shares in Arabic his thoughts as their bus entered the village the evening they arrived. 

THE HIGHLAND WELCOME

Hear them drive down into the glen
with silent stories of their grief
The earth is big and squeezing them
But there is space for some belief
In hope, rest and relief.


The children left an empty chair
In a school where they used to learn
About the mountains humans share
And rivers flowing through their dreams
Now dried with no return.


But in this land of simple life and dreams
The waters rise and fall in sleepy streams
And songs of yesteryear
Bring words to break up fear.

 

( chorus ).

When Death’s dark stream I ferry o’er
A time that surely shall come.
In Heaven itself I will ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome.


Frow warscape to landscape they fly
And this now must be the last sky
Here we can stop to sing and cry
And find the time for tears to dry
And live before we die.


But in this land of simple life and dreams
The waters rise and fall in sleepy streams
And songs of yesteryear
Descend to break up fear.


(chorus)
When Death’s dark stream I ferry o’er
A time that surely shall come.
In Heaven itself I will ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome.


Here there will be no empty chair
In the school they will sit and learn
Of hills and mountains that we share
And white burns flowing through our dreams,
A peace of no return.

 

(chorus)
When Death’s dark stream I ferry o’er
A time that surely shall come.
In Heaven itself I will ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome.