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TITLE
Apothecary's Tower
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_PRINT_009_AT
PLACENAME
Portree
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
DATE OF IMAGE
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Andrew Taylor
SOURCE
Andrew Taylor
ASSET ID
13206
KEYWORDS
towers
doctors
villages
gardens
Apothecary's Tower

This little tower is situated on a small hill overlooking the harbour in Portree on the Isle of Skye. The area is known as Meall na h-Acairsaid, or hill of the anchorage, but some old maps refer to the sloping promontory as Fancy Hill, which may derive from the gardens of trees and shrubs laid out around the tower. Dr Alexander MacLeod, or "an Dotair Ban" (the fair haired doctor) as he was known, is credited with the construction of the tower and the landscaping in the 1830s during his time as factor to the third Lord Macdonald, Sir Godfrey. Alexander MacLeod gained a reputation for his skills in medicine, engineering and land improvement and was obviously a remarkable, highly regarded man.

The tower has been variously described as a beacon, apothecary's tower and memorial, and plans for it were referred to in the Inverness Courier of 1834. It was to be a 'neat little octagon tower c. 20 feet in height, 14 feet square approximately, with four windows on the lower flat and eight on the second flat, some of them composed of fragments of painted glass. Painted glass can be had in Liverpool at 25 pence the pound.'

Apothecaries' towers were used elsewhere to indicate to passing vessels that medical supplies and assistance were available in the vicinity, and it is quite possible that Portree's tower could be another.

Severely damaged in gales in October 1978, the tower was reduced to its foundations to prevent any of the stone affecting the BP fuel tanks situated directly below at the foot of the cliffs. The stone was retained however and the tower has been reconstructed to include an interior stair to the top which provides a panoramic viewpoint across Portree Loch to Ben Tianavaig and Raasay beyond.

The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to execute reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service.

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Apothecary's Tower

INVERNESS: Portree

2000s

towers; doctors; villages; gardens

Andrew Taylor

This little tower is situated on a small hill overlooking the harbour in Portree on the Isle of Skye. The area is known as Meall na h-Acairsaid, or hill of the anchorage, but some old maps refer to the sloping promontory as Fancy Hill, which may derive from the gardens of trees and shrubs laid out around the tower. Dr Alexander MacLeod, or "an Dotair Ban" (the fair haired doctor) as he was known, is credited with the construction of the tower and the landscaping in the 1830s during his time as factor to the third Lord Macdonald, Sir Godfrey. Alexander MacLeod gained a reputation for his skills in medicine, engineering and land improvement and was obviously a remarkable, highly regarded man.<br /> <br /> The tower has been variously described as a beacon, apothecary's tower and memorial, and plans for it were referred to in the Inverness Courier of 1834. It was to be a 'neat little octagon tower c. 20 feet in height, 14 feet square approximately, with four windows on the lower flat and eight on the second flat, some of them composed of fragments of painted glass. Painted glass can be had in Liverpool at 25 pence the pound.' <br /> <br /> Apothecaries' towers were used elsewhere to indicate to passing vessels that medical supplies and assistance were available in the vicinity, and it is quite possible that Portree's tower could be another.<br /> <br /> Severely damaged in gales in October 1978, the tower was reduced to its foundations to prevent any of the stone affecting the BP fuel tanks situated directly below at the foot of the cliffs. The stone was retained however and the tower has been reconstructed to include an interior stair to the top which provides a panoramic viewpoint across Portree Loch to Ben Tianavaig and Raasay beyond.<br /> <br /> The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to execute reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service.