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Follow the path of Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard, toured the Highlands and North East Scotland

Robert Burns visited the Highlands and North East of Scotland in 1787.

During his 'Highland' tour he visited sites of interest such as Culloden Battlefield and castles in the area.

Burns was the guest of nobility and academics in the area, including a Laird and a Duchess.

Inspired by the places and people he encountered on the tour he penned songs and journal entries relating to the time he spent in the North of Scotland.


During his tour, Burns visited Gordon Castle where he was entertained by the Duchess of Gordon. Burns commemorated the visit in his song 'Castle Gordon' which ends:

'Life's poor day I'll musing rave

And find at night a sheltering cave,

Where waters flow and wild woods wave,

By bonie Castle Gordon.'

Culloden Moor
Robert Burns wrote of his visit to Culloden Moor in his journal

Robert Burns visited Culloden with William McNicol, he wrote in his journal 'Come over Culloden Muir - reflections on the field of battle', in reference to the final clash between the Jacobites and the British Government in the 1745 Jacobite Rising during the Battle of Culloden.

Burns visited Castle Grant, a Z-plan tower house dating from the 15th Century which was occupied by the Jacobites in both the 1715 and 1745 Risings.

Another castle Robert Burns visited in 1787 was Kilravock Castle, a 15th Century keep, to which has been added a long tall 17th Century block.


Robert Burns stayed a night with the naturalist and botanist James Brodie at Brodie House, near Nairn during his tour. Burns described Brodie as 'truly polite, but not just the Highland cordiality' in his journal.

General George Norman MacLeod of Dunvegan was the Laird of Dunvegan in Skye, and a Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire from 1790-1796. Burns referred to the General in 'Here's to them that's awa' as Chieftain MacLeod, a chieftain worth 'gowd' because of the man's wealth.

Dunvegan Castle, photo courtesy of Hugh MacLeod
Dunvegan castle, the seat of the MacLeods in Skye

Burns met James Chalmers during his tour of the Highlands. Chalmers was a printer and son of the founder of the Aberdeen Journal, D Chalmers. After his father's death James took over as editor of the journal.

Another acquaintance was 'Professor Gordon, a good-natured, jolly-looking professor' who Burns met in Aberdeen. Gordon was the author of a manuscript collection illustrating the history of King's College, Aberdeen. The manuscripts are still kept at Aberdeen University.

William Marshall of Fochabers composed the dance tune Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey. Burns used this music to pen the love song 'Of a' the airts the can can blow' and described Marshall as the 'first composer of the Strathspeys of the age.'



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