The name of Portree, which is Skye's main town, derives from the gaelic Port-an-Righ , or "King's Port", a throwback to a visit by King James V in 1540 aimed at drumming up support from the island's clans. Royal visits have been a theme for Portree over the years. In 1746 Bonne Prince Charlie showed up, having been transported "over the sea to Skye", as the famous song goes, by Flora MacDonald. The Prince took his leave from Flora in what was then known as MacNab's Inn, which has since been transformed into the Royal Hotel. A couple of centuries later the town hosted a visit by our own Queen Elizabeth during her tour of the Western Isles in 1956. The British Pathe website has footage taken during the visit.
Portree's harbour is lined with attractive buildings and set in a picturesque bay backed by hilly scenery, including a piece of land called "The Lump" where public hangings used to take place. The harbour was built in the 18th century when Sir James MacDonald decided to develop the town as a fishing port. The following century steamers began calling here, including a weekly service from Glasgow to Stornoway. There is plenty of accommodation in the town, and diversions for visitors include a range of shops and, on the outskirts of town, Skye's main Heritage Centre, Aros, with a range of displays including a Sea Eagle Exhibition. Boat trips are available for those wanting a chance to see real sea eagles, as well as a variety of other wildlife.
What's on in Portree and surrounding area.
Map of the area.
© 2007 Anonymous, via Wikimedia Commons