The blue links below connect to pages on the Undiscovered Scotland website that reproduce the complete text of chapters on the Isle of Coll in the journals of Martin Martin (1703),
Samuel Johnson (1775)
and James Boswell (1786).
Martin Martin (1703).
A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland
Martin Martin was born into a well-to-do Isle of Skye family about 1655-1660, and in 1681 graduated M.A. from the University of Edinburgh. In the 1690s he travelled extensively in the Western Isles of Scotland and with John Adair mapped the Hebrides. He entered Leiden University in 1710, graduating as M.D., and afterwards resided in London where he died in 1719. He is best known for his classic work,
A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland,
published in 1703, which inspired later writers and travellers such as Samuel Johnson and James Boswell.
Samuel Johnson (1775).
A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was one of England's most famous literary figures. In the summer of 1773 he and his friend James Boswell toured the Highlands and Inner Hebrides of Scotland, using Martin Martin's 1703 description as their guidebook. Johnson's account of their travels,
A Jouney to the Western Isles of Scotland,
published two years later in 1775, is believed to have been written largely from memory.
James Boswell (1786).
The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish lawyer, diarist and biographer, met Samuel Johnson in London in 1763 and the pair became close friends. Boswell's account of their 1773 tour through the Highlands and Inner Hebrides, published 13 years later in 1786 as a prelude to his celebrated major work,
Life of Johnson,
was written with the aid of lengthy notes he had made at the time.