National Gazetteer, 1868


Portree - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"PORTREE, (or Port A Roi), a parish in the Isle of Skye, county Inverness, Scotland, 12½ 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."

"RASAY, (or Raasay), an island in the parish of Portree, county Inverness, Scotland. It is situated on the E. side of Skye, from which it is divided by Rasay Sound, about 4 miles in width. It extends about 14 miles in length, with an extreme breadth of 3 miles. The surface is hilly, the greatest altitude being at Dunlan Mountain, which rises 1,500 feet above sea level. The prevailing rocks are gneiss, porphyry, oolite, and sandstone. The E. side of the southern district is interspersed with arable lands and farm dwellings, but the rest of the island is chiefly pasture and moorland. Rasay House has been the seat of the Macleod family for a considerable period. Broichel Castle is of great antiquity, and formerly belonged to a person designated "John the Strong," ancestor of the above-named family; it is situated in a small bay on the E. coast, and its approach is steep and difficult."

"RONA, an island, one of the Hebrides, in the parish of Portree, county Inverness, Scotland. It extends about 5 miles in length, and nearly 1 mile in breadth. The surface is irregular and barren. It is situated at the northern extremity of Raasay, from which it is separated by a strait just passable for vessels. The prevailing rocks are gneiss. A small portion of arable land surrounds the scattered village, that lies at the bottom of a bay, about 6 miles E. of Skye. In 1856 a lighthouse was constructed upon this island."

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