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.

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