The Skye Boat Song

Album: various (1875)
Play Video


  • "The Skye Boat Song" is one of the most famous of all Scottish folk songs. Like "Will Yae Ne'er Come Back Again?" it was inspired by the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie after the Battle of Cullloden in June 1746 with the assistance of Flora MacDonald. Dressed in drag, Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled from Uist to the Isle of Skye and thence to France. The original lyrics were written by Sir Harold Boulton; the melody is a traditional air. The author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an alternative set of lyrics, which are probably better known.

    The song has been extremely widely recorded, not only by Scottish artists; Roger Whitaker whistled it in German! Instrumental versions have been equally popular over the years. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Roger Whittaker and Des O'Connor recorded a duet version, which peaked at #10 on the UK singles chart in 1986. Their rendition combined O'Connor's vocals with Whittaker's whistling version, which had been part of his repertoire since the mid-1970s.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

Glen Burtnik

Glen BurtnikSongwriter Interviews

On Glen's résumé: hit songwriter, Facebook dominator, and member of Styx.

Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.