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Gaelic: Port Rìgh
2007-07-06 GreatBriain Portree.jpg
Portree Harbour
Island: Isle of Skye
Grid reference: NG483454
Location: 57°24’43"N, 6°11’22"W
Population: 2,491  (2005 est.)
Post town: Portree
Postcode: IV51
Dialling code: 01478
Local Government
Council: Highland
Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Website: skye.co.uk

Portree is the largest town on Skye, an island of Inverness-shire in the Inner Hebrides. The town is on the sea, a sheltered harbour on Loch Portree in the Sound of Raasay. Close by the fishing harbour is a fine town square around which the town finds its centre.

Portree is considered the capital of the island and is the location for its only secondary school, Portree High School. It is unchallenged for this title unless by Dunvegan Castle away over the mountains on Loch Dunvegan, the seat of the Chief of the Clan Macleod.

Portree has a harbour, fringed by cliffs, with a pier designed by Thomas Telford.[1] Attractions in the town include the Àros centre which celebrate the island's Gaelic heritage. The town also serves as a centre for tourists exploring the island.[2]

The Royal Hotel is the site of MacNab's Inn, the last meeting place of Flora MacDonald and the Young Pretender ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") in 1746.[3]

Portree is also home to the Isle of Skye's shinty club, Skye Camanachd.[4]

Around 939 (37.72%) of the population can speak Scottish Gaelic.

Name of the town

The current name, Port Rìgh translates as 'king's harbour', possibly from a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540. However other have doubted this etymology, since King James did not arrive in peace but to subdue the Lord of the Isles, though such would be all the more reason perhaps to honour his enforced welcome and the name is plain enough. An older name, it is believed, was Port Ruighe(adh), 'slope harbour'.[5]

Before the sixteenth century the town's name was Kiltaraglen ('the church of St Talarican') from Gaelic Cill Targhlain.

Map of Skye showing Portree


  1. "Portree" Portree Regeneration
  2. "Portree" Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved on 15 September 2007.
  3. Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate. Pages 173-4
  4. "Skye Camanachd" skyecamanachd.com. Retrieved 26 September 2007.
  5. Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames" (pdf). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/language/gaelic/pdfs/placenamesP-Z.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
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