Skye Boat Song

Lyrics and music Sir Harold Boulton and Lady Anne Wilson

Performed by Marc Gunn
From CD: Scottish Songs of Drinking & Rebellion

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.

Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden‘s field.

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.


Nathan Deese provides the gorgeous background harmonies and bass for the song.


I first heard this song by Bill Masino of 3 Pints Gone. It was a truly rousing song that struck a chord with my Scottish heart. It's just sad it took me over ten years to record.

The story of how Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped the Isle of Skye dressed as a serving girl, following his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, this song has gone down as a historical favourite in Scotland. Written and composed by Sir Harold Boulton and Lady Anne Wilson in 1884, this song has been re-recorded and played in countless films, plays, and pub performances ever since.

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