Sixty-three year-old Dr Johnson and his thirty-two year-old friend (and future biographer) James Boswell visited Skye in 1773.
In his inimitable style, Johnson wrote up the ‘boys own’ tour, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, which first appeared in 1775. Boswell’s A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides appeared in 1785.
In between noting the depopulation of the Highlands, and the propensity of the Scots to drink whisky (skalk) before breakfast, Johnson met Flora MacDonald, famous for rescuing Bonnie Prince Charlie after the 1745 Rebellion. Written on her gravestone is the Johnsonian sentence (p. 150):
‘A name that will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour.’
[Samuel Johnson], A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1775.