410: Portree

OS Explorer map 410, Skye – Portree & Bracadale – I do not own this map, but have visited it before starting this blog. Visited for this post 29th March 2018.

My previous entry ended with the Dearest Progenitors and I getting onto the ferry across to Skye from North Uist.

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Mother Dearest on the ferry, looking happy and holding a cute little cow keyring!

We arrived at Uig at the northern end of Skye without incident, and drove into Portree for lunch. Portree is Skye’s largest settlement, yet despite having been to Skye several times before, driving past Portree each time, I’ve somehow never been there previously (except to stop at the large Co-op there, but that’s not in the centre). We parked up and had a wander around the shops, of which there was a very good selection.

Now, in Stornoway two days before, Mother Dearest had bought a cute little cow keyring in a jeweller’s, but was now in need of another, since my cousin Guacamole had been sent a picture and insisted she needed one too. It was here in Portree that that quest was completed, in a shop where Father Dearest bought himself a novelty ring that has an insert that he can spin when he needs to fiddle with something.

From certain points in the town one could see out over the houses to the water, which was very nice. I very much enjoyed the bookshop, where I bought the OS map of Sleat, the map area I’ll be posting about next! There was also a very large Gaelic section, and I was pleased to find occasional sentences in the childrens’ picture books that made sense to me…

We then needed to find somewhere for lunch. Now, we’d seen a pleasant-looking café on the square where we parked, so it was somewhat to my parents’ surprise that I pointed to a somewhat grottier- (but still pleasant-) looking one and suggested we go in. I later confessed it was because I had seen cheese and onion toasties on their menu and I wanted a cheese and onion toastie… (I got some onion rings too! [1])

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The square and bus stops in Portree, where we were parked

After lunch, Mother Dearest had to go into a shop, and I walked back to the car park in the square, and went and leant against the car while Father Dearest sat on a bench. Unfortunately, however, it transpired that the car I was leaning against wasn’t actually our hire car, but someone else’s car, and so I rapidly made my exit to the correct vehicle.  Father Dearest saw the whole thing and was highly amused.

Once reunited, we got back in our car and drove on down the A87 towards the mainland, as we’d be staying the next two nights at a hotel in Sleat, the south-eastern end of Skye. There were, as always, lots of lovely mountains to look, so of course we had to stop for a moment to take pictures.

Previous visits

So a trip that’s been mentioned several times before on this blog is when I came to Scotland in 2014 with my school friends Cabbage, Climbing Programmer and Joystick (See my Cuillin Hills, Inverness and North Uist posts). We arrived on Skye in the evening on the ferry from North Uist, and would be staying there three nights.

Now, on that trip we had made the poor decision (although that was admittedly my fault) not to pre-book campsites, and so upon arriving on Skye we drove madly about in search of somewhere to camp. We eventually settled at a place in Dunvegan, outside this map area, and very nice it was too, but that was actually the third campsite we tried. Of the previous two (I think), one was full and the other didn’t accept single-gender parties under 25,  in order to avoid stag parties and things I suppose. Now, I’m not sure exactly where those campsites were, but I’m fairly sure one of them was in this map area. I’m not certain, but I don’t think that on that trip we came back to this part of Skye, and so that rather feeble story is, I think, my only previous visit to this map area!

I have, of course, driven through here a lot of times on the A87 on the way to and from the Uig ferry, and have also stopped in the Portree Co-op (as described in my Cuillin Hills entry), but that’s directly on the driving route, so doesn’t count for a map according to The Rules.

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[1] I have strange opinions on onion rings, because I find cheap basic onion rings far superior to posh expensive ones. The cheap ones that have clearly come straight out of a packet in the freezer into the oven are just really nice, but the posh ones that have been battered and deep-fried in-house just tend to be oily and unpleasant. My absolute favourite onion rings used to be the ones sold at the Castle pub in Cambridge, a regular ASNChaunt; they were a happy medium, I think breadcrumbed rather than battered but still made there, it seemed, and were just really nice. I was a little devastated when the Castle stopped selling onion rings.

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