A PAIR of new walking tours in Edinburgh have been launched to guide people through a key period of Scottish history. 

Yaldi Tours has launched The Rebels Footsteps and La Belle Rebelle with both available every day in the capital.

The former focuses on the Jacobite risings while the latter looks at famous women throughout Scotland’s history who have “rebelled against the trends of the day”.

The Rebels Footsteps

Justin Davis of Yaldi Tours explained to The National that he “wanted to go big” with this project, to do something “different and eye-catching”.

This tour, which takes place daily at 2pm, retraces the steps of the Jacobite risings, exploring the role of Edinburgh in a crucial period of Scotland’s history.

The National:

It’s a hands-on experience that sees guides dressed in accurate period clothing.

“Believe it or not, the Jacobites used to be my weakest subject in Scottish history. I was asked a question I didn’t know the answer to and it shamed me into picking up a book”, Davis said.

“I think the 18th century in general is an exciting time. You’ve got pirates, the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the atrocities of the slave trade so it was all very interesting.

“I feel the Jacobite rising was our attempt at the American revolution. Ours failed and theirs didn’t and I think there’s something interesting about that – why did it fail and what happened after Culloden?

READ MORE: Inverness Museum labels Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobites a 'cult'

“I’ve always been a big kid at heart, I like the weaponry and firearms and it drew me into this funnelled approach to finding out more and to build up an experience that fully immersed people into Scottish history.”

Tour highlights

Among one of the many key figures explored on the tour is John Mackenzie, whose official title was Lord MacLeod – a central figure in some key battles of the period.

“He’s an incredible guy but it feels like he’s barely known”, Davis said.

Born in Skye and educated at Edinburgh University, Mackenzie originally served with the British army, he eventually marched for Bonnie Prince Charlie.

During the battle of Prestonpans in 1745, when the Jacobite forces found themselves heavily outnumbered and their lines broken, he waved his sword and called on his men to hold their ground and not give an inch.

Davis explained: “He was only 18 at the time. He distinguished himself again at the Battle of Falkirk Muir a year later.

“The redcoat artillery was causing devastating damage so he gathered a small contingent of his best men and charged ahead to overpower the British gunners and turn their own artillery on them.”

People on the tour will be able to visit his grave.

Davis added: “He continued to serve Scotland’s interest in Parliament until his death in 1789 including fighting against things like the banning of the Gaelic language.

“He’s a hero. He’s my hero.”

La Belle Rebelle

As well as focusing on the Jacobite rebellion itself, Davis explains he also wanted to have something to focus on women who rebelled against what was expected of them in the 18th century.

Named after the famous Jacobite military leader Anne Mackintosh, it turns the focus onto women who are too often written out of history.

“It’s in keeping with the rebel idea as a whole by focusing on women who went against normal trends.

"It's time their voices were heard again.”

The National:

Part of the tour includes a focus on a variety of inventors including Sheila Scott – an aviator who in 1967 became the first woman to fly around the world via the North Pole.

Also on the list is Elizabeth Blackwell Anderson – a Scottish physician who invented the medical thermometer.

Davis added: “Obviously it’s important that women voice this tour. The people we have on it are doing a great job.

“They all did their own background research and really padded everything out into their own words.”

Anyone wishing to take part in the tour should visit Yaldi Tours website HERE or find them outside the iCentre on the Royal Mile.