The new flag of Skye, created by 9 year old Calum Alasdair Munro
from Kilmuir, was revealed
at Portree’s Nicolson Memorial, on August 24th 2020, by the winning designer
The design symbolises the island’s shared Norse and Celtic heritage. In the canton is a gold birlinn, a typical local vessel, whose five oars represent the five wings of Skye pulling together. Calum ’s original design was green and gold, but the flag short-listing panel made the decision to change the colours and use blue to reflect what was by some distance the most popular colour chosen by entrants. The youngster,
who has a passion for collecting flags, said he drew his inspiration from the island’s history and heritage.
“I thought about the Celtic Heritage, the Viking heritage and the history of Flora MacDonald. In my flag, in the Birlinn, there are five oars representing Trotternish, Waternish, Duirinish, Minginish and Sleat. I thought about yellow for the MacLeods and Blue for the MacDonalds or the MacKinnons.”
Calum was entrusted with raising the flag after being sworn to secrecy ahead of the unfurling.
He said: “I was feeling very happy, but I haven’t told any of my friends in school. “I have just told Granny. She was very happy.”
The office of the Lord Lyon, which is the body responsible for recording and protecting all heraldry, flags and national symbols in Scotland, was petitioned to register the idea following initial meetings involving the West Highland Free Press, Highland Council ward members and tourism promoters, Skye Connect. A steering group to take forward the process involved representatives from local schools, volunteer, community and heritage groups.
As the competition was being established Skye councillor John Finlayson said: “I have had lots of positive feedback about the plans for a flag for Skye and I am delighted we have made such good progress with the idea. I am excited to see what designs will come forward, and having a competition that encourages people of all ages to submit their designs is absolutely the right thing to do.” a flag for Skye and I am delighted we have made such good progress with the idea. I am excited to see what designs will come forward, and having a competition that encourages people of all ages to submit their designs is absolutely the right thing to do.” Councillor John Finlayson said: “I have had lots of positive feedback about the plans for a flag for Skye and I am delighted we have made such good progress with the idea. I am excited to see what designs will come forward, and having a competition that encourages people of all ages to submit their designs is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Philip Tibbetts, seen standing here
, honorary vexillologist with the Court of the Lord Lyon, stated “It is fantastic to see Skye become the latest community start the journey of developing its own flag to fly proudly alongside the Saltire. Given Skye’s iconic nature, the potential for both the design and subsequent usage of a flag for the island is incredible. “Following the formal approach to the Lyon Court work can now begin to plan the timings and details.”
On the 31st January 2020 the Lord Lyon, Dr Joseph John Morrow, fourth from left, below
and six judges met in Portree
to short-list the six competition finalists
from the 369 entries which came mainly from Skye but also from India, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, USA and France. Over 200 Skye school pupils submitted designs, in what proved to be the most popular Scottish community flag design competition ever held. The finalists were revealed in the second week of February with voting set to take place until the 29th of February.
Stanley Bird from Edinburgh came up with this design. It takes inspiration from the sea, while the wing motif is stylised as a representation of the island, and recognises the reputed origins of the Skye name as the winged isle.
This design merges two entries sent in by Broadford primary pupils Alex McKinstray and Roslyn MacPherson. The blue is chosen to represent the sea with the white representing peace – and the peaceful nature of the island. A winged motif is also included.
Rory Flyn from Sleat’s entry is a distinctive take on a traditional Nordic cross. The blue and white pattern is likened to the warp and weft of weaving and represents the spirit of clans and community. The colours take their inspiration from Skye Camanachd.
The winning submission – see above.
Kyle Arnot from Glasgow’s design is again influenced by landscape – the dark mountains of the Cuillin, the white mist of the ‘misty isle’ and a Skye blue sky.
Elgol Primary School pupils Isabel Adams and Bethany Macintosh came up with this simple, but striking design which represents an iconic Skye landscape – the Black Cuillin and Red Hills on a blue and white background.
Commenting on the winning design, Philip Tibbets, declared,
“The design not only meets heraldic best practice but puts a unique and new spin on a traditional style – and in so doing combines the Scottish, Gàidhlig and Norse heritage of Skye.”
editor of the West Highland Free Press, said he is delighted with the result and the high level of local engagement.
“It is a tremendous design but the other thing that struck people is what it meant. It pulls together so many elements of Skye. There are notes to Christianity, there are notes to our Celtic heritage, to our Nordic heritage, to the Clans. And also, the colours themselves reflects Skye as a jewel of Scotland. We thought it was important, right from the outset, to engage as many people locally as we could. The people who came up with the idea and launched the competition were from Skye, the vast majority of the entries came from Skye, the voting was from people on Skye or associated with Skye and we have a local winner as well. People may like or dislike the flag but I don’t think anyone can argue against the process of finding the design.”
The flag is seen here
in front of the Skye Bridge, lower right of the image and flies below
at the Flodigarry Hotel on the island.
On August 31st 2020, the flag featured on the vessel
of The Bristol Gulls, all female rowing crew,
as they circumnavigated Skye
in training for the Talisker Challenge, Atlantic race, later in the year. The flag flies below
across the World, against the blue New Zealand sky, in Mazengarb Park, Paraparmau, north of Wellington.