This beautiful melody carries with it stirring musical traditions and a deeply moving Scottish history.
Preview the song
Composed in the late nineteenth century by singer Anne McCloud with words by Sir Harold Boulton, it is said she was inspired by a Gallic song she heard while being rowed across the Loch Coruisk. The words reflect, with great emotion, the flight of Bonnie Prince Charlie from the defeated Jacobite army in 1746, and a deep sympathy for all the men lost in battle.
People have long been drawn to ‘Skye Boat Song’ by the strength of its melody and the simplicity of its words. The song lilts and rocks rhythmically, its tune lulling and stirring. Its slow pulse sways almost like a waltz, each of the beats reflecting the boat rocking one way and then the other. The imagery evokes a bird calmly in flight, leading its precious cargo to safety. In this way, the song also has all the characteristics of a soothing lullaby. But its words, by contrast, are a reminder of the dangers left behind.
It comes as no surprise that we take you to the beautiful shores of the Isle of Skye to enjoy this song. The island has been described as a place of great peace and serenity – and a deep-rooted spirituality.
We invite you to listen closely to the words to fully experience the meaning of the song and the place.