While A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio might be used to filming on exotic islands in far-flung destinations, he’d perhaps be equally at home on the Isle of Skye.
The Hollywood heart-throb made a surprise appearance at COP26 in Glasgow, but his connection with Scotland runs deeper than a climate conference.
Leo is no stranger to a cause, having long supported conservation charities and projects, but is his campaigning spirit inspired by his Scottish godfather?
The star’s spiritual guardian is none other than kooky campaigner Robbie the Pict.
Who is Robbie the Pict?
As far as godfatherly guidance goes, it doesn’t get much more outspoken and eccentric than Robbie the Pict.
And when it comes to campaigning, Robbie knows a thing or two about successfully taking on governments and big business.
The outlandish activist is best known for his David and Goliath plight to abolish tolls on the Skye Road Bridge in the mid-1990s.
But his sense of justice for Scotland dates back decades.
Born Brian Robertson in 1948, Robbie has been a lifelong advocate for Scottish Independence, and in the 1970s, founded the Pictish Free State.
Robbie established the micronation state on the Isle of Skye in 1977 to promote the knowledge of Pictish culture.
The former University of Aberdeen student legally changed his name by deed poll to Robbie the Pict in 1984 to further his cause.
In 1988, he spoke out against the controversial poll tax which was introduced in Scotland before England.
Speaking to the Press and Journal, he encouraged other Highland residents to take a stance against the taxation introduced by the Thatcher government, saying: “I am offering a public challenge to the poll tax register – come and get me.”
As well as seeking to free Scotland from Westminster rule, Robbie also called for the return of the Stone of Destiny – also known as the Stone of Scone – to Scotland.
The stone had been removed from Scotland in 1296 during the First Scottish War of Independence and installed in Westminster Abbey.
Robbie’s petitioning included offering a £250,000 reward for its return, writing to the Queen and attempting to raise court actions for its reinstatement in Scotland.
In 1996, then Prime Minister John Major announced the stone would indeed be relocated back to Scotland and an official handover took place on November 15.
But undoubtedly, Robbie’s biggest triumph was his role in successfully having the controversial Skye Road Bridge tolls abolished.
A fee of £5.20 per car each way was introduced in 1995 and it was dubbed the most expensive road toll in Europe.
It was a campaign that Robbie adopted with gusto, and although dismissed by many as a “rabble-rouser”, it was a campaign that made him a minor celebrity.
He fiercely fought to prove the tolls were imposed unlawfully due to incomplete paperwork.
Eventually in 2004, the charge was abolished when the Scottish Executive bought the bridge from its US owners.
How did the ‘King of the Picts’ become Leo’s godfather?
But how did this Scottish household name ever cross paths with a Hollywood legend?
In the 1970s, Robbie spent time working for a publisher in America where he became friendly with a writer and editor called George DiCaprio.
The pair bonded over tales of their ancestry; George’s Italian roots and Robbie’s Celtic connections.
They also shared a similar sense of humour, and when baby Leonardo came along in 1974, Robbie was asked to be godfather.
Reflecting on the role, Robbie, who is now in his 70s, said he was “very flattered” and “humbled”.
He added: “Leonardo’s father, George, published some comics through the company I was involved in, called Last Gasp.
“I struck up a friendship with him and stayed with him and his wife, Irmelin, at their home in Los Angeles.
“George wanted a godfather for Leonardo, who was just a few months old.
“He thought it would be great for him to have a Scottish godfather to look after Leo’s spiritual welfare and I was honoured to accept.”
Speaking fondly of his friend Robbie, George said that he is a “colourful character” who “used to come down here to Los Angeles and spend time with me, Leo and the family”.
Robbie hasn’t seen the Titanic star since childhood, but he still follows his progress from afar and has taken a keen interest in his stratospheric rise to fame.
In 2002, Robbie joked: “If Leonardo wants to come to Skye and discuss the meaning of life with me then he is very welcome. He could provide publicity for the campaign to remove the tolls.”
Although Leo has been to Scotland before his Cop26 appearance, it’s not clear if he has ever set foot on Skye.
But there is no doubt he would be made most welcome in the Pictish Free State.
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