Tune of the Day: The Heights of Dargai
The heights of Dargai are a promontory in India, the site in 1897 of a charge by massed Highlanders. A famous military anecdote has it that one of the Scots pipers continued to play to inspire his comrades, though shot through both legs.
According to some sources, the tune was composed as a retreat march by piper James Wallace. It is interesting to note that a “retreat march” is not necessarily a march-time tune which would be marched to. Instead, it was often played as part of the evening ritual in military camps as day duties gave way to night ones. It was not linked to the military maneuver of retreating from battle, but was linked to the idea of refuge and safety in the camp.