Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Browsing Posts published in November, 2009

This afternoon, I am focusing on the capital of the Isle of Skye.

I visit Portree a number of times each year in context of my Scotland tours for small groups and occasionally overnight in the town.

Portree is situated some 30/40 miles north of the Skye Bridge, about two thirds up the eastern coast of the island. It is a bustling little town heavily geared to the tourist industry and also acts as the administrative centre for the island.

The town was originally called Kiltaraglen and renamed following the visit of King James V in 1540. The name Portree is a derivative of the Gaelic ‘Port an Righ’ or the King’s Harbour.

At peak season the town centre heaves with visitors and parking can be tricky. However, the town is well endowed with shops and eating facilities. Down at the harbour there is a good, value for money, fish and chip shop and a string of colourful properties similar to the front at Tobermory on Mull. For folks trying to connect with their Skye ancestors the harbour was the embarkation point for locals displaced under the infamous Highland Clearances and effectively deported to North America and Australasia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Portree has the usual complement of tacky tourist venues but is a good base or stopping point for a tour of central Skye which can include the Cuillin Hills, Glen Varragill, the Old Man of Storr, the Braes (site of rebellion by displaced crofters) and the River Snizort.

I will post some images and video clips shortly.

Read more on Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland…

This evening, I am returning to the theme of Alexander Greek Thomson architecture as manifested in 1-10 Moray Place, Strathbungo, Glasgow.

Just by way of a brief recap, Greek Thomson lived 1817-1875 and is a candidate for the greatest mind in Scottish architecture. Thomson believed that the architecture of ancient Greece could be the basis of truly modern architecture.

Moray Place is a terrace of ten small houses, yet the composition has an astoshing monumentality. Repetition is a key feature. The ground floor windows and doors are evenly spaced and exactly the same size while an unbroken run of 52 square columns on the first floor links the two projecting end houses. The American historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock opined that Moray Place was “the finest of all Grecian terraces”.

Greek Thomson lived and died at No 1 Moray Place.

The Moray Place terrace may have been the inspiration behind Thomson’s comment “….all who have studied works of art must have been struck by the mysterious power of the horizontal element in carrying the mind away into space, and into speculations upon infinity.”

Video clip to follow.

Read more on Moray Place Architecture, Glasgow, Scotland…

This afternoon, I am posting some information on the village of Broadford which acts as a ‘gateway’ between the gentler south of Skye and the more mountainous north.

I find Broadford a very useful stopover point after driving down from Inverness during my Scotland tours. There is a wide selection of lodgings for an overnight before setting off next day for a Isle of Skye tour which can take a full day and then return to Broadford to be well positioned for connection with ferry crossing to Mallaig on the mainland.

Read more on Broadford, Isle of Skye, Scotland…