Memorial for Flora Swire

I had driven past St John’s Chapel at Caroy (NG305437) many times before I realised what an interesting ruin it is. Many hundreds of visitors to Skye drive past without stopping too - and that is a pity. It is right next to the road that runs between Sligachan and Dunvegan, and parking is easy. Do take a few minutes to explore it if you can. Although the chapel itself has not been used for a century or so, the churchyard is very much still in use for burials and deserves to be respected.

In the grounds of the chapel can be found evidence of one of the connections between Skye and Dr Jim Swire's family. His ancestors lived at Orbost House, where his mother, Otta Swire, wrote the book “Skye, the Island and its Legends”. You may well have heard of Dr Swire as a leading campaigner for justice in the case of the 1988 Lockerbie plane crash tragedy. On December 21st that year, Dr Swire's 24-year-old daughter Flora set off for the USA to spend Christmas with her American boyfriend. She was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103. She died when the plane was blown out of the sky that night, alongside 242 other passengers, sixteen flight crew and eleven residents of Lockerbie.

Flora MacDonald Margaret Swire was a direct descendant of the more famous Flora MacDonald. She is commemorated quietly by a moving and low-profile memorial among the headstones.