Wild Moment: Iain Scally

Published: 14th March 2017

"Her broken body lay on deck, her spirit doomed to stay..." Iain Scally shares his dark, brooding, ballad of Sandwood Bay

Iain Scally has combined tales of shipwrecks and the ghost of Sandwood Bay, with a bit of maritime folklore provided by Jack Higgins, to come up with a full-blooded gothic folk song.

Hear Iain Scally's ballad of Sandwood Bay here

Sandwood Bay

Her spirit cannot leave the ship and mine can’t leave the shore
It's been that way for many a day and will be evermore
From now until eternity I'll hear the ocean roar
And I'll walk the way from Sandwood Bay on down to Oldshoremore

We sailed out west from La Rochelle into the Biscay Bay
Turned starboard north and on past Brest with fair winds making way
The barque Gold Dawn, my first command and right there by my side
To sail with me was Anne Marie, my new and blushing bride
We'd married just the day before and planned to spend some days
Walking by the riverside and through the leafy ways
But as we left the church I found a message there for me
I'd just received my first command and I must put to sea


My Anne Marie clung tight to me and would not let me be
She said I fear your leaving would be just too much for me
For I have dreamed it seemed so clear you stood on the sand
And I was oh so close to you but could not touch your hand
And so she sailed with me that day from France to Glasgow town
To drop off wine and pick up rope to take by Cape Wrath round
A cargo bound for Bergen Town on Norway's western shore
Then Rotterdam to pick up steel and head for home once more


With weather fine and southern winds and never far from land
The sails were full the rigging sang Cape Wrath was close at hand
We climbed the rigging just to see some dolphin at their play
All seemed so free we failed to see the sky turn leaden grey
Ne'er ever rose a storm so fast the sea was turned to Hell
The ship lurched Anne Marie's foot slipped and from the spar she fell
Her broken body lay on deck her spirit doomed to stay
Upon the ship for evermore where e'er the ship may lay


The brave Gold Dawn crashed on the rock, rushed shoreward on the wave
The mate, the men, the cook went down into that watery grave
As I was crushed against the cliff and life's blood ebbed away
I saw the Gold Dawn lying there, so close to Sandwood Bay
And now my spirit walks the shore, with Anne Marie so close
But we can't meet for never did a spirit water cross
I cannot find my resting place nor can my Anne Marie
And so we stay for ever more until eternity


Lyrics and music ©Iain Scally

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