Crusoe’s Footsteps

Point 10



Distance (m)


# Steps


Point 10

Alexander Selkirk, who was thought to be the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s character Robinson Crusoe was born in in 1676 in Lower Largo. He grew up here but was considered to be badly behaved and was brought before the Church Session to be chastised and told to mend his ways. He left Largo at 19 to train in seamanship and subsequently travelled to the South Seas as a Privateer, taking possession of Spanish ships in the name of the King. 

On the ship the Cinque Ports’ Alexander sailed as Sailing Master under Captain Stradling, but the ship became unseaworthy and having fallen out with the captain Alexander asked to be put ashore on one of the uninhabited islands of Juan Fernandez off Chile. He was left abandoned on the island for four years and four months, during which time he lived off goat meat and fish. He was eventually rescued by Captain Woodes Rogers. He returned to Largo after a few years but didn’t settle and returned to sea. 

Selkirk joined the Navy in 1717 and unfortunately died aged 47 having caught yellow fever off the Gold Coast in Africa and was buried at sea. His parents grave can be seen in the Largo Church yard in Upper Largo. The headstone is surrounded with shells. 

Weaver's Cottages
There are several similar cottages in the area which were the homes of weavers who lived and worked from home with the looms going constantly. The sounds of the loom’s shuttle moving back and forth came from many a house. Apparently, the children would come home from school at lunchtime and take over the loom to let their father get his lunch.
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