In 2016 Fearann Eilean Iarmain (FEI) estates offered to sell land to the community through the Portree & Braes Community Trust (PBCT or the 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 view point 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
The Trust went on to complete an extensive feasibility and consultation process (please see the bottom of the page for more information) and received community support to progress with the purchase of Bayfield Amenity Ground, Am Meall (The Lump) and the King George V Playing Fields. Pairc nan Loach was generously gifted to Skye Camanachd Shinty Club in 2018.
£55,421 has now been secured from the Community Land Fund to take the land at Bayfield and the Lump into community ownership. This includes the picnic area by the waterfront at Bayfield, the triangular woodland area beside Tigh Na Drochaid at Bayfield, and land at the Lump, including the Apothecary's Tower and the surrounding path.
In the short term, ownership will create opportunities to develop and improve access to these green spaces, with, for example, a linked walk around the village, a nature trail and a community woodland development. In the longer term ownership will provide more opportunities to generate a sustainable income for the community and ensure that current and future generations have a say in any developments at the waterfront.
The trust will be working closely with the Highland Games Association and the Skye Gathering Committee - who will retain ownership of the central area of the lump - to take projects forward, and with neighbors Tigh Na Drochaid and other local community groups, to develop ideas for the Bayfield woodland area. Through the award the trust will be funded to employ a part time project officer to progress the land purchase and develop relevant projects.
The aim is to also purchase the King George the V playing fields, including the play park area when funds become available.
Image: Aerial view of the Bayfield picnic area
Image: aerial view of the King George V Playing Fields
Image: lands for sale at Bayfield shown in red
Image: land for sale at the Lump shown in red - excluding blue area.