Portree, actually Port Righ in Gaelic, which I will never shut up about because I am my mother’s son, is the largest town on the island of Skye. We woke up when we were damn good and ready, cooked some breakfast in the place, and took a stroll down the hill to the town center to get our bearings on the town we would be staying in for the next several days.
We started by, well…I started by getting an espresso thank you very much…but we started by town’s harbor, and walking down another slope to a row of multi-colored houses that flank the bay. Mostly we were scouting for potential future dinner options, but the scenery was nice and the kids liked looking at the boats. L in particular took a liking to the orange boat which, I found out later, is a coast gaurd (ish) vessel permanently stationed here.
Our real destination was something called The Lump; a large hill on the southern side of the bay that has a park on top of it and a few green spaces so the locals can have some feels. After walking all the way down the line of colored houses, expecting the road to curve up to said Lump, we realized that it did not. Up some steps, and up an incline, we found the spot and explored the woods a bit.
The highlight of the The Lump was the Apothecary Tower which was a small structure (known as a Folly…i think…there was one in Dingle, Ireland too) that let ships know that the town had medical supplies. These days, it appears to be more about give the local youth a place to drink beers, smash glass bottles, and scribble about who’s shagging who (hint: it seems like everyone is shagging everyone…well everyone except Ewan…).
So yeah, unfortunately is was pretty trashed around the tower, and probably wasn’t the most…erm sanitary…of places, but it looked and we did climb to the top of it (keeping our hands to ourselves thank you). Since the weather is so good you could actually see all the way to a rock formation called the Old Man of Storr, about 7 miles north. We’ll be attempting to get closer to that guy tomorrow.
Back in town we jumped into a take-away seafood joint next to the Royal Hotel (which, at least, used to be called Well Plaid) and ordered some smoked salmon and steamed mussels. The salmon, we would learn is actually caught out in the bay. L was starting to be special so I took her (under my arm and kicking) back up to the cottage and knocked out some mac ‘n’ cheese and hotdogs for her (thanks grocery store) and R, who got back with Erin around the time it was ready. R ended up eating half the salmon instead and I can’t blame him because once you got over the face that it was served cold…on purpose…it was really good. The mussels were great too.
L went down for a nap so Erin and I had some beer in the garden while R played. Eventually, he learned what Dandelions were and how their seeds disperse in little “parachute guys” so we routed out every last one we could find in our yard, and then started snatching them from the neighbors, in an effort free the little seeds from their holding pens. In a few weeks our eradication efforts will have a different effect I’m afraid.
We eventually made some sandwiches and took a short drive past the Scorrybreac hotel to the Scorrybreac Trail. It’s an easy hike along the northern side of the bay, and around to the Western shore of the Sound of Raasay (thats Raasay…not Ramsay…I’m obsessed with Gorden Ramsay so I’ve confused this at least twice). The trail was quite pretty and we managed to get about about a mile of it done without the kids freaking out (which is a new record). The track was only treacherous in a few spots (some opportunity to tumble down to some rocks) but provided us the first opportunity to get down to the water, which R had been begging to do all day. Eventually we set down in the shade of the mountain to have our picnic, take in the sites, and bribe our daughter, who had been treating the trail as a runway with the way she was strutting, into eating. The trail itself is dotted with little monuments to members of the Neacail Clan, or MacNeacail’s or Nichols or Neacailsons or Nicholsons. If you’ve ever met someone with the last name Nichols or Nicholson, chances are they have heritage right here.
We headed back up the place and hung out until the kids passed out. Tomorrow we will be driving a ring around Skye.