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Rob Roy

While I was in Scotland, my hosts, Richard and Gill, and I watched Rob Roy, all of us for the first time, though they live only a mile or so from Rob Roy's grave in the churchyard in the village of Balquhidder.

Rob Roy
Their opinion of it was that it wasn't at all historically accurate, but that it nonetheless did a good job of portraying the kind of man they thought Rob Roy to be, and the times he lived in. They also felt it was far better than that other film of Scotland, Braveheart. When I asked why, they talked about how Braveheart perpetuated every cliché about the Scots. The next night, neighbors of theirs visited for dinner -- people who live in a house built on the site of a house once owned by Rob Roy himself. When they heard what we had watched the night before, the husband said, "Good film, that. Much better than Braveheart." Apparently that's a sentiment of Scots, of Highlanders, or perhaps just of the residents of Balquhidder.

I had visited Rob Roy's grave earlier in the week, but having seen the movie, I stopped by it once again during a hike the last morning of my stay. It was early and there was no one out -- Balquhidder is a sleepy village at the best of times, doubly so before breakfast.

Robert Roy MacGregor

I stood in front of his grave and said aloud, "If you were half the man I saw in that movie, I salute you," then did so. It seemed the right thing to do.

While doing research for this entry, I found a poem by William Wordsworth, "Rob Roy's Grave", which I hadn't known of before. The poem opens with these lines:

A FAMOUS man is Robin Hood,
The English ballad-singer's joy!
And Scotland has a thief as good,
An outlaw of as daring mood;
She has her brave ROB ROY!
Then clear the weeds from off his Grave,
And let us chant a passing stave,
In honour of that Hero brave!

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