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Pirates arrr In Fife

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Pirates are thought to have been only in the Americas or the Caribbean but did you know some were Scottish? Have you heard of Captain Avery a 17th century pirate from Port Patrick, Glasgow or perhaps Captain William Kidd born in Dundee who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean? Fantasy or fiction you decide.

Pirates Only ©MDHarding

Pirates Arrr In Fife

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Pirates on Coastal Fife

After sailing the seven seas and discovering the tales of pirates, I was curious to discover more! I never dreamt I would discover Scottish pirates, until one moody day last year in rural coastal Fife.

We discovered this old graveyard with carved skulls and bones on many of the headstones. I was intrigued, to say the least. In times gone by these symbols were used to ward off grave robbers and innocent locals of untimely deaths caused by destroying and incurable diseases such as the plague, also known as the black death.

Many researchers of Templar and Masonic history have pointed out the links between this symbol and the one used by the Knights Templar on their ships. If we take into account the fact that the Templars had the world's biggest fleet in the 13th century, and that they were well known for acts that we would call today piracy, then there is no wonder.

The latter Knights of Malta were also well known for piracy and we find that these Maltese Knights were in fact the very same as the Templars having been formed or joined by the remnant of the dissolved Templars. These new Templars or Knights of Malta were accused on several occasions of piracy and henceforth we have tales of piracy on the high seas. There is a direct link therefore between the creation or use of the skull and crossbones by the Knights Templar and our modern-day idea of it being a symbol of piracy.

Following the purge of the Knights Templar, they and their ships disappeared from France. Some researchers believe they fled to Scotland where they were welcomed. Many gravestones in the west of Scotland from that period seem to be the first to in the country to bear a skull and crossbones.

Pirates In Fife ©MDHarding

Shipwrecked in Edinburgh

Did you hear that Captain Kidd's treasure may have been found off the coast of Madagascar? While wandering in Edinburgh we found this little treasure trove just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh - Shipwrecked.

Shipwrecked Limited, Edinburgh ©MDHarding


The Stevenson family saved many ships from becoming wrecks on the dangerous Scottish shores. The skilled engineers built over 80 lighthouses during 150 years. One of the most famous being Bell's Rock. Robert Louis Stevenson on the other hand inspired us with his book Treasure Island. Said to have been inspired by Black Mouth Cave near Bridge of Allan. Today marked by a bench with a carved skull and crossbones.

Discover the amazing story of a shipwrecked bottle of Wellpark Brewery stout that found its way back to Glasgow from Australia after 150 years!

Looking to escape to your own treasure island or perhaps your a big fan and would like to visit Bridge of Allan and the home of Robert Louis Stevenson in Edinburgh? There is a variety of accommodation to choose from but please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and arrr inspired. Happy Travels:) x

If you have are interested in reading more about pirates, don't miss Wayward Voyage! An incredible tale of an Irish lady pirate in the 18th century. Starting with her voyage from Ireland to the new lands of America and her pirate adventures around the Caribbean. This well-written book Includes sobering facts on colonial history, women's rights, heroism and more!

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