The Isle of Seil is linked to the Scottish mainland by an ancient stone humpbacked bridge, Clachan Bridge completed in 1793, which crosses the Clachan Sound, a narrow strip of tidal flowing into the Atlantic. Not surprisingly the bridge is more romantically known as ‘the bridge over the Atlantic’.
Next to the bridge nestle a small cluster of small houses including an eighteenth century inn, the Tigh an Truish or House of Trousers. This curious name dates back to the days of the Jacobite rebellion, the 1745 uprising and the ill-fated attempt by Charles Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, to regain the English throne. In the ensuing aftermath repressive measures were introduced with the Disarming Act. The bagpipes were branded an instrument of war and banned. Wearing of the tartan and traditional kilt were forbidden too, under imposed penalties of fines or even transportation to the colonies.
On the Isle of Seil, perhaps in part due to its remoteness in the days before the Clachan Bridge was built, many islanders are reputed to have continued wearing the kilt. However, when journeying to the mainland and on reaching the inn at the crossing point they are said to have swapped their apparel changing into trousers. On the return journey when setting foot on the island the islanders once more donned the kilt at the inn at the Tigh an Truish, the ‘House of Trousers’ to cock a snoop at their political masters.
The inn survives to this day and offers a warm welcome to kilt and trouser wearers alike!