1746 saw the final, ignominious defeat of the Jacobite cause at the battle of Culloden. Prince Charles Edward Stuart has come to be seen as by turns a tragic, heroic, pathetic and comic figure, and this monologue does absolutely nothing to dispel any of these. As with a number of my compositions, it brings in the mountaineering fraternity; and it will in fact be more meaningful to anyone who has spent time on the Isle of Skye.
Glenbrittle, Broadford, and “Sliggy Can” will be instantly recognisable. This last, of course, is the Sligachan Inn, where Mike Barnacle and I, with two companions, once repaired after getting thoroughly soaked on an ascent of Marsco. We were in the mood for a ceilidh; I had the guitar with me; and so we just started one ourselves. As we quite often did in those days.... But that’s another story.
The boatman who figures towards the end of the piece needs no explanation to those who frequent the Scottish isles. Every tale needs a dastardly villain. And the bit where he calculates the fare should be accompanied by a little piece of mime to represent the deployment of a pocket calculator.