Peter’s Peerie Boat jig

By Tom Anderson

Also known as Pete’s Peerie Boat, Peter Peerie’s Boat, Trip To Tomintoul.

There are 9 recordings of this tune.

Peter’s Peerie Boat has been added to 2 tune sets.

Peter's Peerie Boat has been added to 40 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Peter's Peerie Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2d D2D|EFG ABc|d2d Bed|cAA ABc|
d2d D2D|EFG ABc|d2d AGE|FDD D2A:|
|:d2d f2d|c2c e2c|B2B dcB|A3 F2F|
GFG BAG|F2A d2z|E2G B2z|C2E A2z|
dcd fed|cBc edc|B2B dcB|A3 F2F|
GFG BAG|F2A a2g|fed Adc|d3 D3:|
X: 2
T: Peter's Peerie Boat
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|d2 d D2 D|EFG ABc|dcd Bed|cBc ABc|d2 d D2 D|EFG ABc|
d2 A GFE|FDD D2:|A|dcd fed|cBc edc|BAB dcB|A3 A2 F|
GFG BAG|F2 A d3|E2 G B3|C2 E A2 A|dcd fed|cBc edc|BAB dcB|
A3 A2 F|GFG BAG|F2 A H a2 g|fed Adc|(d3 d2):|

Twelve comments

Peter’s Peerie Boat (jig)

I came across this delightful little jig recently in a workshop. I believe it was composed by Tom Anderson. It is unusual in that it is one of the few tunes I didn’t have any problems in learning! I think it would be an ideal tune for a children’s workshop. The first 4 bars in part 2 remind me of a children’s song - “Nellie the Elephant”(?).
Someone in the workshop suggested the effective little rests in bars 6-8 of part 2.

Peter Peerie Boat

Yes,its a good Shetland jig.
Noel Jackson
Angels of the North

You can find a version of this played on “Straight from the Fingers” by the Bursledon Village Band. (WGS 301 CD). It’s paired with “The Piper’s Poodle”.

Peter Peerie’s Boat

@Trevor - this is a tune that I’ve known for years - although I haven’t played it recently.

I’m fairly certain that “Peter Peerie’s Boat” the correct title of it - particulary as when I submitted the latter as an “alt title”, it threw up three recordings!


Sorry - my mistake - just one additional recording (Alistair Anderson).

So I guess that either title might be correct.

Peerie = small (peedie in Orkney). I’ve not come across anyone with the surname “Peerie” - but “Pirie” is common up north. Anyway, it is a Tam Anderson tune, apparently written about a particular boat Peter Leith, a member of his band, was selling.

Thanks for setting the record straight, Weejie. I stand corrected,

The Alistair Anderson recording (submitted by member Nikita Pfister) is available from this Internet supplier:

… and in the track list it does say: “Peter’s Peerie Boat”

So it rather looks like Nikita made a typo when submitting the recording. At least I wasn’t the only one to get it wrong!

Interesting article in the Internet version of the Caledonian Mercury on the meaning of the word “Peerie”:

A second Scots meaning of “peerie” is given as “a child’s spinning top”

I suppose that a small boat on a rough sea could be likened to a spinning top - although that seems less likely.

But - either way - Peter’s Peerie Boat it is!

We were having a conversation in a Norwegian language class about the origin of the Orcadian variant “peedie”. A Danish friend of mine had suggested previously that it might be linked to the word “bitte” - which is generally used alongside “liten” [norsk] or “lille” [dansk] to describe something extra small. The pronunciation in Danish is close to “bidda”. It certainly became food for thought. “Peerie” as a variant makes it a little more questionable, but doesn’t write it off.


This is something that has passed over into general use in English, but which we just take for granted, as in names ~ Mick-ie, Sall-ie, Jul-ie, Dann-ie, etc… Meaning ‘small’…

Sehr gut, Ceolchen…..

Peter’s Peerie Boat, X:2

This differs a bit from X:1 - more notes. In Orkney the word “peedie” means “little” and “peerie” is the
Shetland equivalent. I used to be puzzled by the Peerie Sea (or Peedie Sea) which is a piece of sea that flows
into the town of Kirkwall, Orkney and at one time almost reached the Cathedral, why did it have the Shetland
word for small - though maybe ‘peerie’ was once normal in Orkney too? Some say ‘peedie’ and ‘peerie’ derive
from French “petit” (small). I don’t know why Orkney/Shetland didn’t really adopt the useful Scottish “wee”!!
An enjoyable tune which is well worth learning.

Re: Peter’s Peerie Boat

Composed by Tom Anderson.