The next day Colin and I drove down to Portree again where we walked along the harbour, looked at a couple of craft exhibitions (one a Tibetan one), and called at a bookshop where the owner spoke Gaelic. The phone rang while he was taking my sale, and when he answered it he told the caller he was busy and to phone him back – or was it that he would phone back? I got the gist of those wee Gaelic snippets anyway! Next door was a craft supplies shop – nice place, and I bought some wool and a crochet hook! Don’t ask! (I’ve no idea really!)
You can see that Portree is built mainly on top of a cliff and that the harbour is round the bottom of it. It’s a nice little town. Portree means King’s port. No idea which king gave it its name! If in doubt, look it up! Here’s what it says on Wikipedia.
“The current name, Port Rìgh translates as 'king's harbour', possibly from a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540. However this etymology has been contested, since James did not arrive in peaceful times. The older name appears to have been Port Ruighe(adh), 'slope harbour'. Prior to the sixteenth century the settlement's name was Kiltaraglen ('the church of St. Talarican') from Gaelic Cill Targhlain.”
This is a bit of a battered old road sign of the kind you often find on the access to a pier, obviously warning drivers to beware of driving too far onto the pier and ending up going over the edge. You will probably have heard the Scottish Jacobite song – Over the sea to Skye, which tells of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s exploits in 1745/6. Well, years ago my sister named this road sign “Over the Sky to Sea”! You’ll see this one on the top right photo, between the white van and the piper, a young lass busking and entertaining the visitors.
Onward, out of Portree heading south, we stopped to look at the old bridge at Sligachan and the mountains – Sgurr nan Gillean again – me ending up paddling in the river while Colin looked for some nice stones to take back to Yorkshire.
The car ferry to the isle of Raasay had just left Sconser as we passed, so we watched its progress across the water before turning on to a narrow single track road that followed the coastline round in a loop, and was once the main road. A new (1930s?) road now cuts across the hillside, leaving the little road to peace and tranquillity, and the chance to drive slowly, stopping for photographs – this view, below left, of part of northern Skye was fantastic… the light quite exquisite! - or to take a walk down to the shore, for Colin to continue his stone hunt!
While he hunted, I wandered around taking photos of wild flowers, brambles, wild roses, stonecrop, sea thrift……..
and watched the sea….
Completing the loop we turned back onto the road north, returning to Edinbane by way of Dunvegan. The castle and grounds had just closed for the afternoon by the time we got there, and no amount of persuasion was going to change the ticket seller’s mind about letting us take a quick photo of the castle from the grounds! However she did direct us a mile or so up the road where we’d get a good view back at it – and we did! Dunvegan Castle is the home of the chief of the MacLeod clan, and it houses several items said to be connected with the fairy folk – the wee folk! The legends surrounding these and other heirlooms are really interesting.
No time to go to the Coral Beach just that little bit further on, but I resolved to see it the next day. We turned eastwards again and were soon back at the cottage to exchange stories of our day with Mark and Ian, who had climbed Glamaig the peak next to the Sligachan hotel, and Janet and Peter who had cycled and walked in Waternish!
After tea we had a trip down to the local hotel for an evening of fiddle and accordian music. Very busy, so we didn’t stay long …. besides, everyone of us was ready for bed, after an energetic day – or simply a lot of sea air!
Talk again soon.