Scorrybreac Circuit — A Walk Through Clan Lands

*
Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_32

“How about a short walk?” My sister said at around noon on our first day in Portree, in the Isle of Skye. We had just had brunch and truthfully I was feeling a bit sluggish — well, who wouldn’t, after a plateful of bacon, scrambled eggs, fried haggis, and fried bread — so I eagerly said yes.

(And not to totally veer off topic but, my God, that fried bread! I can feel my arteries clogging at just the memory of that bread — and I come from an island where people snack on chicharon without batting an eyelash, so that’s saying something. I’m glad I got to try it that one time but I think I’ll go for something less oily in the future.)

(And since we’re talking about food, you know what would be the perfect thing to pair with haggis? Rice. Steaming hot Ganador rice fresh off the rice cooker. Oh, the joy…)

Anyway: short walk, said my sister.

About an hour later, we were short of breath, climbing up rocky paths, struggling with hike-inappropriate shoes (my sister) and a hike-inappropriate large, full, crossbody bag (me), because apparently what the guide book meant by a “short walk” and what we thought the guide book meant by a “short walk” were two totally different things, but…

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_19

…God, for views such as that one above, I would gladly go on a “short walk” with an unwieldy bag over and over and over again.

From Portree Harbour, we simply followed the road towards Staffin and then took the right-hand road at the fork, down Scorrybreac Road, keeping continuously close to the coast.

02_Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_06

03_Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_05

04_Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_04

*
After a while, we found this sign, the official start of the Scorrybreac Circuit.

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_09

*
We went over a bridge…

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_10

*
…and came to this gate.

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_11

*
According to the clan’s website, the Chiefs of Clan MacNeacail lived for a long time at the house of Scorrybreac, on Ben Torvaig, and were called Nicolson of Scorrybreac. Their direct descendants eventually moved to other parts of the world. In the early 1980s, when the lands of nearby Ben Chracaig were put up for sale, Nicolson clan members in Skye and around the world decided to buy it “to be held in perpetuity for conservation and the enjoyment of both the local people and the visitors to Portree from around the world.” The land is now administered by Urras Clann MhicNeacail (the Nicolson Clan Trust) and kept “freely open to the public, to walk its footpaths and enjoy spectacular views both from along the shoreline and from atop its high cliffs.”

So we entered the gate. At this point…

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_12

*
…you can go left and up towards the memorial for the Nicolson Clan. There’s also a bench there if you want to take a break and sit gazing at the sea for a while.

We chose not to linger and took the path on the right.

We came across this well dedicated “To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of those of Clan Nicolson who died for their countries in the cause of justice.” It’s called Murdo’s Well because it was built by Murdo Nicolson of Portree, who also built the memorial cairn.

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_13

*
We then walked through this leafy tunnel…

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_14

*
…and continued along the coastal path, surrounded by some of the most beautiful land and seascapes around Portree.

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_15

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_18

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_21

*
When we got to this gate…

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_24

*
…we didn’t go through. (You’re not supposed to.) Instead, we turned left and went uphill — the start of the more challenging part of the walk. (It’s not too difficult, really, just more challenging compared to the mostly flat terrain previously.)

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_25

*
But the views are beyond rewarding, don’t you think?

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_26

*
And then we got to the top, where we spied some cattle, and it was easy goings from there onwards.

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_27

*
An easy downhill path took us back to the starting point.


Note:
I did most of the planning for this whole UK thing, but all credit for this amazing post-fried-bread “short walk” goes to:

Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_28

*
Thanks also to the Nicolson Clan for establishing and maintaining the path. If you are ever in Portree, the Scorrybreac Circuit is definitely something you should do.

*
Scotland_Skye_Portree_Scorrybreac Circuit_31

Hotels in Portree

Hotels in the Isle of Skye

 

Continue reading

Outlander

*
Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_07

Scotland wasted no time being Scotland. Mere minutes after we pulled out of Edinburgh on our way to Inverness, the skies — already overcast to begin with — started dropping big beads of rain on the roof and windows of our train. No matter. The gloomy weather only enhanced the drama of the scenes unfolding outside. Mountains, moors, lochs, light, shadow, sheep, horses, heather. Scotland: strong, resilient, valiant, fierce, unfailingly beautiful.

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_04

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_05

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_06

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_08

Strangely enough, the cold, remote, sometimes desolate landscape secretly warmed my heart. Perhaps the bleakness outside called out in kinship to the bleakness within, to that part of me that still grieved for things lost. I looked at the gray skies and the near empty earth and thought: my sadness has found its home. I could be happily sad here for the rest of my life.

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_09

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_13

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_11

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_14

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_15

Scottish Highlands_from Edinburgh to Inverness_16

But that was only the beginning.

*
Outlander | © Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.