“The Skye Boat Song” is a traditional Scottish air, often sung as a lullaby or waltz. The lyrics tell of the journey of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” (Charles Edward Stuart) from Benbecula to the Aisle of Skye, as he evaded capture by government troops after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. To this day, “over the sea to Skye” is a popular line used in tourism.
This traditional melody is often played by pipers (bagpipers, that is), pipe bands, whistlers, and harpers of many musical skill levels. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote alternate lyrics around 1885, as he didn’t think the journey of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” fit this calming melody. I tend to agree, but since I’m not singing here, I hope you enjoy this lovely melody played on lyre!