39650: Flight of a Prince

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s visit to the Islands

Following the defeat of his army at Culloden on the 16 April, 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled north. On the 30th April, he landed at Eilean Glas, Scalpay with some followers, having been blown off course by a storm while on his way from Skye to Eriskay. His companions were Colonel O’Sulliven, Captain O’Neil and Allan Macdonald. The boat in which they crossed the Minch was supplied by Angus of Borradale, Isle of Skye and had been acquired for the Prince by the man who was to become his guide in the Western Isles, Donald Macleod of Guatergill, Skye.

The Prince remained in Scalpay for four days with the tacksman, Donald Campbell while his guide, Donald, sailed on to Stornoway to try and get a ship that would take the Prince back to France. During their stay in Scalpay, the fugitives passed themselves as the crew of a merchant ship wrecked off Tiree who were trying to return to their home port of Orkney.

On the 4th of May, the Prince left Scalpay with three companions and sailed up Loch Seaforth, landing ner the head of the Loch, with the intention of heading for Stornoway to make contact with his guide, Donald Macleod, who he hoped, had hired a ship. On hearing that the Prince was heading for Stornoway, the Rev Aulay Macaulay of Harris, together with his son, the Rev John Macaulay of South Uist (both strict Hanoverians who feared that victory for the Prince would lead to the spread of the Catholic faith in the Islands and both hugely interested in the rewards and favours his capture would bring) transmitted the information to the Rev Colin Mackenzie, the minister of Lochs, who was instructed to arrange with Lord Seaforth for the Prince’s capture as soon as he landed on shore.

Despite the wishes of his southern counterparts and the lure of a 30,000 reward, the Rev Mackenzie seems to have taken no action.

The Prince stayed at the house of Lady Kildeen on Arnish Moor where he was met by his guide who informed him that no boat was available in Stornoway. He subsequently moved to Eilean Lubhart off Lemreway and onwards to Uist.

Kinloch Historical Society

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