Comann Eachdraidh Ionadail Phortrigh


Portree Local History Society

Chair: I. G. MacDonald

Secretary: Marilyn Clarke
Treasurer: Rita Campbell

Our New Season
2008 - 2009
at Tigh na Sgire, Portree
7.30 p.m.

Programme of Meetings: 2008 - 2009

  • October 14, 2008
    High Pasture Cave and developments at Fiskavaig
    Stephen Birch

  • November 11, 2008
    MacLean family of Raasay.
    Iona MacDonald
  • December 9, 2008
    NB VENUE: Dunvegan Castle
    - The Castle, The Clan, The Homecoming
  • January 13, 2009
    All Creatures Great and Small- 50 Years as a Vet on Skye.
    D.J. Maclennan
  • February 10, 2009
    UHI History Department.
    Dr Jim Hunter
  • March 10, 2009
    St Maolrubha & St Columba.
    Norman Newton
  • April 14, 2009
    Col. Jock Collection and Museum of Isles Collection.
    Maggie MacDonald

Programme of Meetings: 2007 - 2008

October 9 - Ian Suddaby - The Excavation at Home Farm
November 13 - Dr Jeff Stone - St Kilda: Two Decades of Digging and Scraping
(in association with Aberdeen University Centre for Lifelong Learning )
December 11 - Dr Martin MacGregor - The Lordship of the Isles
January 8 - Seonachan MacLeod - Deserted Villages of Skye
February 12 - Professor Brian Sykes - Vikings in the Blood?
March 11 - Murray MacDonald - Mobile Banking by Land and Sea in the Highlands and Islands
April 8 - AGM, with guest speaker - Ronnie Armstrong - Para Handy and the Clyde Puffers

Previous Meetings: 2006 - 2007

October 10 - Bill Cowie - Kirk Cave, Rona
November 14 - Alister Ross – Education – PHS100
December 12 - Norman Newton - Skye and Raasay
(in association with Aberdeen University Centre for Lifelong Learning )
January 9 - Pat Myhill - Telford’s Stein
February 13 - Fiona MacKenzie – Miri Mhr nan Orain -
A song-lecture
March 13 - Ian McCrorie - The MacBrayne Story
April 10 - AGM, with guest speaker - Roger Hutchinson - “Calum’s Road”

All meetings are held at Tigh na Sgire, Portree,
at 7. 30 p.m.,
on the second Tuesday of each month.

Archaeological Discoveries in Portree

The Home Farm Development

In February 2007, CFA Archaeology Ltd were able to release some exciting details of the discoveries they had made during their excavation of the site of the Home Farm Development in Portree.

All the work has been funded by the developers, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association and Robertson Homes, who have shown considerable interest in the discoveries throughout the excavation.

The archaeologists wrote:

Within an area measuring only 300m by 200m they have found the remains of two timber built roundhouses, a large circular ditched enclosure, and a variety of other features of uncertain date and function, demonstrating that this was a popular area to live in the past as well as today.

The two roundhouses, identified by the circles of pits which would have held the upright timber posts of the building, each had an entrance porch facing to the south-east, a trait common to such buildings. A few objects have been found, including flint tools and pottery, the debris left behind by the houses' inhabitants. Houses of this type normally date to the first millennium BC and into the first few centuries AD.

The enigmatic circular enclosure measures 26m in diameter with the ditch defining it measuring up to 2m deep and 4m wide. There is no entrance and very few features inside the enclosure to suggest what it could have been used for. Sherds of prehistoric pottery have been recovered from the contents of the ditch. ... It is of a type not previously known on Skye and may have had a ritual rather than domestic function.

Update: October 2008.
We are very grateful to Ian Suddaby for providing us with up-to-date information about the Kiltaraglen archaeology, in .pdf form.
Click here to download this latest news.

On March 5, 2007, members of PLHS were privileged to be given a detailed tour of the site being excavated - now hidden forever beneath the housing development. Apart from anything else, the visit served to emphasise the unique nature of the discoveries, previously unmatched on the west coast of Scotland.
The day was bitterly cold, with snow flurries in the air on a north-easterly wind - it also emphasised the dedication of those involved in what was a race against time to record a fascinating and, as yet, still enigmatic site.

The pictures below show some of the intriguing detail that had been teased out of the shadows in the soil by the archaeologists.

The perimeter ditch, with its apparent rapid back-filling, was perhaps the most obvious, but the site also revealed numerous post-holes, and at least one souterrain, believed to have been used as a form of storage - an underground cupboard.

The intrepid visitors  The last area to be cleared 
The  detail emerges  The ditch 
The depth and detail of the ditch  The ditch - a wider perspective 
One of many postholes on the site  What is thought to have been a souterrain 

The Society is extremely grateful to have been given the chance to witness first-hand this uncovering of such an ancient and mysterious part of the Village's past.
Somehow, the name "Home Farm" became even more appropriate.


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Published by Stephen Clarke, on behalf of Portree Local History Society - September 2006.
Photographs, unless otherwise stated Dualchas 2006
The publisher and the Society publish this information in good faith, but cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.
Meeting dates and topics are subject to change.