> Folk Music > Songs > It’s Lonely in the Bothy

It’s Lonely in the Bothy

[ Roud 23396 ; Charlie Allan]

Charlie Allan sang his own composition It’s Lonely in the Bothy in 1980 as the title track of his album It’s Lonely in the Bothy. This track was also included in 2009 on the Sleepytown anthology The Bothy Songs and Ballads of North East Scotland Vol. 4. Allan noted on The Best of Chalie Allan:

I based this song on the life of a great farm worker, Gordon Paterson, who was grieve and head cattleman at Little Ardo in the 1970s, and lived in the bothy photographed on the front cover of this CD. It tells of the loneliness of life for a single man on modern farms. The song might have been called “The last man in the bothy”. This is Gordon’s song.

The Sair Heidies sang It’s Lonely in the Bothy in 1984 on the Springthyme album Bothy Greats.

Tam Reid sang It’s Lonely in the Bothy on the 2007 Ross live album Tam Reid’s Ceilidh.

Jim and Susie Malcolm sang Lonely in the Bothy on their 2019 CD The Berries. Susie Malcolm noted:

When Charlie Allan, my dad, was growing up at Little Ardo farm in Aberdeenshire, the bothy, housing the unmarried men on the farm, was a lively place. On summer evenings there were games and athletics, and in winter, songs by the fire. Little Ardo could field a football team. One generation later, when I was growing up there, the whole farm could be run by Charlie and his one employee, the remarkable Gordon Paterson. As showmen Gordon and Charlie were hard to beat for a few years with their pedigree Simmental bulls. When the shows were over, dad would come home to our busy family farmhouse and Gordon to his wooden bothy, by then a lonely place. Charlie said he woke up one day with this tune complete in his head and only needed to write it down, though as he could barely read or write music that was more challenging than it sounds. Jim and I consider it to be his greatest hit. My brother Jay is now the landlord of “Waldie’s Public Hoose”, which is actually the Ythanview Hotel in Methlick.


Charlie Allan sings It’s Lonely in the Bothy

Oh fan I gaed hame tae Ardo
Well the boss hadna a clue
He couldna back a tractor cairt
And there wis no way he could ploo
Therefore I got aa the wirk tae dae
And that suited me jist fine
And I bade in the little timber bothy.

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh the cauld wins they blaw in aneth
My timber bothy door
An the moosies they jouk in an oot
The knotholes in the floor
But that’s nae the warst o bein here
Discomforts I can thole
It’s lonely at nicht in the bothy.

Oh I sort the mannie’s funcy bulls
An pit them oot for Perth
An I ken that I’m the best showman
That ever walked the earth
Bit fan aa the judgin’s ower
An fan aa the silver’s won
It’s back tae my little timber bothy.

Well noo, I’ve nae wife tae tie me doon
So I’m aye on the loose
An nearly every nicht I’m doon
At Waldie’s public hoose
But you canna blame a man
For takin comforts where he can
For it’s lonely at nicht in the bothy.