Saturday, July 15, 2017

South Uist: Flora and Bonnie Prince Charlie

Today, we hope to visit Flora McDonald’s grave in South Uist, on the far North section of the island. Flora was the young woman who saved the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of the Jacobite rebellion from being English by helping him escape to Skye in 1746.

It is said that Flora was buried wrapped in the sheet that the prince slept on.

Dunvegan castle is on the way to her grave, and I learned that during their escape, Flora and Bonnie Prince Charlie rowed past it on their way. How deliciously romantic!

At Flora McDonald's Grave in Kilmuir: The grave yard is a lard square area, the mossy green hills rising like funny bumps all over it, with headstones covered in green plants probably blown in from the sea which the graveyard overlooks.

Flora's grave is a large white celtic cross that stands tall above the others. I imagine she enjoys looking out over her beloved coastline of Skye on stormy nights. There are lovely sentiments engraved on the stone which was replaced by her descendants in the 1950s.

The engraving reads "Flora McDonald, Preserver of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Her name will be mentioned in history and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour."

Flora is an inspiration to me, a woman who was brave enough to take the fate of a wanted man into her own hands is a testament to her bravery and self-sacrifice. She was eventually arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London, and later released by an English prince.

Every stone bears a name similar to those around it, which shows how the families married etc.

The sun was setting over the water as we left, and it was breathtaking. I came a long, long way to see the island and it was well worth the trip. Skye is a magical place full of nooks and crannies and stuffed with fantastic history, both bloody and glorious. I will have to return someday and discover the rest of her jewels, hidden in the fairy kingdoms that occupy the rocky crags.

It is hard for me to believe these people were actually real. So much happened and set off so many events that changed history. Each figure is important to the story of man and how he lives and moves on the earth, what makes him tick, etc.

Just like the brave Flora, the Scots are fierce, loud, loveable, and hospitable. They never turn away a stranger and are always eager to welcome those interested into their history and culture.

In regard to Caroline and her family, I feel more loved by them now than I ever have before. We’ve grown older and closer. More time together has helped solidify our relationship. We are more comfortable now and have reached the point, I think, that when I leave we will miss each other.

Today, on July 15th, 2017, I know the previous paragraph's sentiments are true. The day we were forced to part ways in London, I had called a cab and as Caroline helped me put my suitcase into the trunk, we both became emotional. I hugged her several times and said “It won’t be long until we are together again!” I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to leave her after such a lovely month spent together. It was awful watching her walk away as the cab pulled out into traffic, whisking me away to Gatwick to get on a plane and go back home.

Goodbyes are never easy.

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