"PORTREE, (or Port A Roi), a parish in the Isle of Skye, county Inverness, Scotland, 12 miles N. of Sconcer, its post town. It derives its name from the circumstance of James V. of Scotland, who visited the islands, anchoring in this port. The shores of the harbour are protected by rugged cliffs rising nearly perpendicularly on either side of the mouth of the harbour, which is large and has a quay regularly visited by Glasgow steamers. In the rocks are many large caves, particularly towards the N., where the hills rise to a great height. The parish, which was only a chapelry of Snizort till 1726, is about 19 miles in length by 13 in breadth. It includes the islands of Fladda, Rasay, and Rona, with Lochs Portree, Sligachan, and Inord on the coast, and several freshwater lakes inland, the largest of which are Lochs Fad and Leachan, the superfluous waters from which last are discharged over a precipice forming a cascade. The village is large and contains a court-house, gaol, two commercial banks, and a good inn. A considerable export trade is carried on in cattle and salmon. Near the village on the cliffs is an old castle, formerly the seat of the lairds of Rasay, and in other parts of the parish two ruined chapels, several Danish forts, earthworks, caves, &c. The surface is hilly, especially on the E. side of the island, where the coast is rugged, but in other parts it is diversified with valleys and plains. The most remarkable hill is Ait-Suidhe-Thuin, or Fingal's Seat. The soil is better adapted for pasture than tillage, but some spots are in good cultivation. The principal heritors are Lord Macdonald and the Macleods of Rasay, of which latter family was the celebrated Lady Flora Macdonald, who entertained Dr. Johnson at the family seat of Kingsborough. This parish is in the presbytery of Skye and synod of Glenelg, and in the patronage of the crown. The church was built shortly after the erection of the parish in 1726. There are also a Free church and four other places of worship. Large cattle fairs are held on the last Wednesdays in May and June, each continuing for four days."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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