attractions & activities on the isle of skye
Portree is the main town on Skye. Its name comes from the Gaelic Port-an-Righ, which translates as "King's Port" and dates to a visit by King James V, plus a fleet of warships, in 1540, to persuade the island clans to support him. The centre of life in Portree has to be its harbour. This is in a superb natural setting, being surrounded by high ground and cliffs. The peninsula to the south is unflatteringly knows as "The Lump", and once provided a spectacular setting for public hangings on the island. Today the harbour continues to be used by fishing boats, but is also home to other vessels, from pleasure craft to the lifeboat
Portree is a bustling port and a thriving cultural centre, and was also the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie spent his last days in Scotland. Among the attractions of Portree is the Aros Centre which incorporates an exhibition capturing the drama of Skye's history. The centre is also the access point for walks in Portree Forest. Portree is awash with interesting shops and a wide choice of eating places, particularly specialist seafoood restaurants which serve freshly landed local fish and seafood.
The main focus of Portree is Somerled Square, home to the war memorial, some car parking, and most of the bus stops in the town. Much of the shopping is to be found in the roads leading from Somerled Square towards the harbour: and Wentworth Street offers a range of those "interesting but not essential" shops that make any visit worthwhile.
North of Portree is the spectacular scenery of the Trotternish Ridge - wild country dominated by weird and wonderful rock formations such as the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and the truly extraordinary pinnacles of the Quiraing. Truelly worth a vist.
True romantics pack their bags and head for Skye and Lochalsh. However, so do a host of enthusiastic climbers, walkers, cyclists, sailors, sightseers, anglers and clan history buffs. Commanding mountains beckon those with a passion for heights at their most dramatic - the jagged Cuillin ridge on Skye and the fearsome Five Sisters of Kintail - offer serious challenges to walkers and climbers alike. From high peaks to deep sounds, Skye's stunning scenery is unrelenting, no more so than at the Quirang on the Trotternish peninsula.
The influence of the sea is also never far away (you are never more than 11 miles from sea) with sea fishing and a wide range of other watersports available on Skye, (including diving and kayaking) Wildlife cruises sail from various locations from which you might be able to spot seals, lovable otters, great golden eagles or even rare and mighty sea eagles.