Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Flora MacDonald Memorial, Kilmuir, Isle of Skye

This evening, I am posting images of tangible connections on the Isle of Skye, Scotland with Flora MacDonald (1722-1790). A summary of Flora’s adventurous life is provided below.

  • Born on South Uist, Outer Hebrides.
  • Assisted Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape after his defeat at Culloden in 1746. The Prince was disguised as a maid. As punishment Flora was held in Dunstaffnage Castle, near Oban and then the Tower of London but released in 1747 and returned to Scotland.
  • Married Allan MacDonald in 1750. The image below is of Flodigarry Cottage Isle of Skye the original core of which was the marital home of Flora and Allan between 1751 and 1764.The building is largely 19th century, refurbished late 20th century.

Flora MacDonald’s Cottage , Flodigarry, Skye

  • Emigrated to North Carolina with husband and eldest children in 1774. Allan sided with British loyalists during independence struggle and was captured at Battle of Moore’s Creek. The MacDonalds’ plantation was destroyed by revolutionaries.
  • Returned to Scotland and Dunvegan Castle, Skye in 1779.
  • Husband, Allan returned to Scotland in 1783.
  • Flora died March 5th 1790 and was buried at Kilmuir.The burial site faces seawards, towards Flora’s home of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Kilmuir  Graveyard is located on the northern tip of the Isle of Skye, in the Trotternish region, between Uig and Duntulm. It is accessed along the same track as the outdoor Skye Museum of Island Life.

John Knox House, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on John Knox and the house associated with him on the Royal Mile (43-45 High Street) in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.

John Knox (1513-1572) was a zealous leader of the Reformation which saw Scotland switch from the Roman Catholic religion to Protestant in 1560. He was a powerful preacher and a key influence on the abdication of the (Catholic) Mary, Queen of Scots in 1567.

The link between Knox and the eponymous house on the Royal Mile is tenuous but has helped to preserve the building when its contemporaries were demolished. Knox resided at the house for a short spell during the siege of Edinburgh Castle (1571-73) and he may have died there. By the 1800s the house had become run down and was rescued for posterity via a purchase in 1850 by the Church of Scotland.

Most of the house dates from the mid 1500s with parts going back to the 1470s. It is built over three floors with walls one metre thick. It is closely associated with James Mossman, a Catholic loyalist who was executed for his loyalty to Mary, Queen of Scots.

Today, the house is a popular visitor attraction offering an insight into 16th century high status housing with huge tiled fireplaces, painted ceilings and oak panelling. During its long life the house has not always been a single residential dwelling but was split into units for artisans and trades people.

Fireplace interior.

Ancient Ceiling Decoration

Interior ceiling decoration.

PS Waverley on River Clyde.

This evening, I am reporting on today’s small group hike along the banks of the River Clyde near Erskine , N.W. of Glasgow in the West of Scotland.

The route entailed a walk upstream to Newshot Island Nature Reserve, then a short loop through woodlands, then downstream, past the former slipway of the Erskine Ferry to a point  directly underneath the Erskine Bridge. Distance covered was about four miles.

Erskine Bridge

Along the route the group encountered:

  • Erskine Road Bridge. This 4336 feet (1321m) long structure was built to replace a ferry crossing during 1967-71. The design is categorised as cable-stayed box girder. It carries high volumes of traffic and, on a macabre note, is popular with persons wishing to end their lives by suicide.
  • A giant cantilever crane, known as the Titan Crane, which dates from 1907 and is an important link with Glasgow’s shipbuilding past.
  • Historic Paddle Steamer PS Waverley which dates from 1946.
  • Seasonal flora.
  • Haymaking in process.


Summer flora

Group photograph under Erskine Bridge

Lunch Stop

Hiking in the shadows

River Clyde and Erskine Bridge

Hiking group alongside River Clyde.

River Clyde and Titan Crane

As will be evident from images herein, weather was benign with sunshine.