Friday 12th February – Happy Birthday Cam

Portree Travel Blog

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We awoke early with presents, keen to make the most of the day. We headed down for a full English breakfast. Sadly this was the only blight in an otherwise fantastic trip. The food took a while to come but nonetheless proved ideal for a day of exploring. We started our trip by heading to the North West of the Island towards Macleod’s tables. These were large hills with a plateau like flat surface at their peak. At this point we had an interesting interaction with the dominant population of the island – sheep. My attempts to communicate were rejected and they insisted in baaahing me in the opposite direction! The drive was delightful with crisp clear skies and barely a car on the road; it felt like we had the island to ourselves. There were substantial drives between sites on this sparsely populated region of the country. The economy seemed heavily dependent on sheep farming alongside fishing and to a lesser extent tourism.

The West of the Island is relatively unpopulated so we headed back East to the main areas of Skye. We continued on towards Uig which is a fishing town on the northwest peak of the island. We parked at the ferry port and had a look round the locally produced pottery store, which seemed to be the only place open. We went for a walk down the pier and Kae noticed a bird eating a starfish a rather amusing moment! Satisfied we had seen everything this little town offered we continued on. A long drive on winding coastal roads offered plenty of photo opportunities and the one sight we were looking for never seemed to appear – an ancient fort. The roads were often partially blocked by sheep so low speeds were essential. On our route to the Old Man of Storr we came to a pleasant hill walk known as Flora Macdonald’s walk. This walk was created to provide memorial to Flora Macdonald (1722-90) a prominent Jacobite known for her daring rescue of Bonnie Prince Charlie. She went on fight for the British American War of Independence after emigrating to North Carolina before their defeat saw her return to the family residence at Dunvegan castle. Coincidentally we visited this castle on our trip but it had been closed to visitors for winter renovations. We then headed for Portree the main town on the island but not before visiting the old man of Storr. This was an oval shaped rock that appeared like a rugby ball teed up on a kicking tee looking out to the water towards Raasay Island.

The Storr is a prime example of the Trotternish landslip, the longest such feature in Great Britain. One of the most famous of these is known as the Old Man of Storr. A well constructed path heads up through an area of forestry, with glimpses of the scenery beyond. After about 1 mile we emerged from the trees, into a spectacular, almost lunar, landscape. The area in front of the cliffs of the Storr is known as the Sanctuary. This has a number of weirdly shaped rock pinnacles, the remnants of ancient landslips. As it had been quite snowy this part of the walk 9shall we say climb) had a range of obstacles from mudslides, to slippery rocks, iced ponds and snow itself. But I made it most of the way to the top, almost without falling.

Last stop for the day is Portree the main town of Skye (population 2491). It also houses the only primary school and around 40% of the population speaks Gaelic. The name Portree in fact translates as ‘Kings Harbour’ many believe this comes from James V in 1540. It is a picturesque little town Portree has a harbour, fringed by cliffs, with a pier designed by Thomas Telford. The town also serves as a centre for tourists exploring the island. We arrived here and found a parking space and decided to take a stroll through the town. At this point it was late afternoon and after a day walking hills and exploring we were quite tired. First stop was a café for some soups and sandwiches. The food was delightful and washed down with some hot chocolate to get our sugar levels back to proper levels again. We then had a walk round the shops of the town but not too much was open. We went to the few tourist shops and I came away with a locally made coaster composed of 500 million yr old stone (apparently!). There were advertised boat trips to the nearby islands so we noted the number and kept it in mind for the next day. We headed back to our hotel by about 4pm and had a rest in our room before dinner at our hotel to relax!
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photo by: signedcutie