The Skye Boat Song” is a modern Scottish song which has entered into the folk canon in recent times.
It can be played as a waltz, recalling the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
The text of the song gives an account of how Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving maid, escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite rising of 1745, with the aid of Flora MacDonald. The song draws on the motifs of Jacobitism although it was composed nearly a century and a half after the episode it describes.It is often supposed that it describes Charles’s flight from the mainland, but this is unhistorical. The only time Charles was in Skye was when he left Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides to avoid the increasingly thorough Government searches.