In 2016 Fearann Eilean Iarmain estates offered to sell land to the community through the Portree & Braes Community Trust. These pockets of land in and around Portree were included in FEI’s purchase of 23,000 acres of land in the south of Skye in the 1970s from MacDonald Estates and are incidental to the main FEI estate, but of huge significance to the community of Portree where green space is at a premium in Skye’s main town. The following sites were originally offered for sale:
Am Meall na h-Acairsaid (know as The Lump) – a natural amphitheatre which is the location for the annual Skye Games. The elevated site provides a good walking route and viewpoint for locals and tourists
King George V Playing Field - of which 2.91 ha (7.2 acres) are leased to Highland Council on a 99 year lease from Whitsun 1949 for use only as playing fields/recreation
Bayfield Amenity Ground (and Bayfield Boat House)
Pairc nan Laoch (Skye Camanachd Shinty Pitch) – forms part of the shinty stadium in Portree and is leased to Skye Camanachd
Sulaisiadar Common Grazing
In 2020 funds were secured from the Community Land Fund to take the land at Bayfield into community ownership. This includes the picnic area by the waterfront at Bayfield and the triangular woodland area beside Tigh Na Drochaid at Bayfield.
Since the purchases have been finalised, the Trust is pleased to be working with ACE Academy, Outdoor Education Specialists to conserve and promote enjoyment of the Bayfield woodland. The picnic area at Bayfield now also forms part of a community owned car park. See here for more information on this project.
The aim is to also purchase the King George V playing fields, including the play park area, when funds become available. Pairc Nan Laoch was generously gifted to Skye Camanachd Shinty Club by Fearann Eilean Iarmain in honour of the late Sir Iain Noble. It was decided that it was not feasible for the community to pursue purchase of The Lump or Sulaisiadar Common Grazing.
Image: Aerial view of the Bayfield picnic area
Image: aerial view of the King George V Playing Fields
Image: lands owned at Bayfield shown in red