|Location||57° 24’ N 006° 11’ W||Anchorage Position||57° 24.80’ N 006° 09.60’ W, 57° 24.55’ N 006° 10.13’ W|
|Distance to Landing Stage||0.5 NM||Tidal range/movement||None discernible at anchorages|
|Town centre||0.8 km||Shuttle to town||Not required|
Portree, a natural harbour, is protected by the cliffs of Ben Tianavaig, offering a deep sheltered anchorage for cruise ships visiting the Isle of Skye. Wherever you go on the island, you will find the Gaelic language still thriving, giving Skye a distinctly different feel to mainland Scotland. Skye’s Gaelic name is “An t-Eilean Sgitheanach”.
Portree itself derives its name from the Gaelic “Port an Righ”, the King’s port, following the visit in 1540 of King James V, father of Mary Queen of Scots. A new pontoon at the harbour makes it easy for cruise passengers disembarking from ships’ tenders at the picturesque quayside. A short walk past a row of pretty pastel shaded houses, shops and bars takes you into the town centre. As the island’s capital, Portree offers everything you’d expect of a bustling Highland town, with a great selection of shops, restaurants and pubs.
Excursions from Portree include: Dunvegan Castle; Talisker Distillery; Skye Museum of Island Life; Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum of the Isles and the scenic Trotternish Peninsula.
David Seddon, Marine Superintendent, Highland Harbours, Lochinver, Sutherland, IV27 4LE
T: +44 (0)1349 781614 F: +44 (0)1571 844087
It should be noted that these details are not definitive but are intended to demonstrate the range of excursions and activities available to cruise passengers visiting Portree as part of a cruise. Please note that, in many cases and with prior arrangement, half day tours can be combined to create full day itineraries
Shore excursions are normally pre-booked onboard via the cruise line concerned. Cruise Scotland cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of this information and all details and tour descriptions should be checked with the cruise line concerned.
Dunvegan Castle, Skye’s most famous landmark, is a fortress stronghold in an idyllic lochside setting on the northwest of the island. The castle has been home to the MacLeods since the 13th Century and it is believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in Britain. Here you can get a taste of the rich inheritance of the Clan MacLeod, the great clan battles, legends, tragedies, murders most foul and great loves and romances. Amongst its treasures is the famed Fairy Flag, reputed to have magical powers. Dunvegan is located 22 miles from Portree making it an ideal half day excursion.
Talisker Distillery is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. It stands in an area of great natural beauty on the shore of Loch Harport, 18 miles from Portree, within sight of the rugged Cuillin Mountains. The distillery was founded in 1830 and produces a very distinctive 10 years old single malt whisky. Talisker’s soft, peaty, process water is drawn from 21 underground springs that rise from Cnoc nan Speirag (Hawk Hill) beside the distillery. As its name suggests, the hill is home to birds of prey, usually including peregrine falcons.
Trotternish is Skye’s most northerly peninsula and offers a circular tour of around 50 miles through breathtaking scenery. The Storr is an impressive mass of rock rising to a height of 2,385 feet. Right in front of it is an extraordinary basalt pinnacle, 165 feet high, known as “The Old Man of Storr” which can be seen for miles around. The Quiraing is possibly one of the most unexpected and exciting natural rock formations anywhere in the British Isles. The Skye Museum of Island Life is an open-air museum, which has preserved some of the “black houses” (thatched cottages) and workshops typical of a 19th Century crofting community. Approximately 30 miles north of Portree you can visit the croft houses where the family would have lived, the barn, weaver’s shop, smithy and the ceilidh house. Step through the doors and step back into history.
Armadale Castle was the principal home of the MacDonalds of Sleat from 1870. The Museum of the Isles will take you on a journey from the Lordship of the Isles through the Clans and Jacobite period to the story of the Highland Clearances. The magnificent gardens date back to the 17th Century and visitors can enjoy 40 acres of exotic trees, shrubs and flowers. Armadale sits at the south end of the island, some 45 miles from Portree in an area known as the “Garden of Skye”.
Eilean Donan Castle is recognised as one of the most iconic images of Scotland all over the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands. Although first inhabited around the 6th Century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th Century. Since then at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries. Approximately 45 miles from Portree the castle now has its own visitor centre with coffee shop, gift shop and toilets.