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TITLE
Apothecary's Tower, Portree
EXTERNAL ID
HC_PLANNING_03_047_0137
PLACENAME
Portree
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
T. Kenneth MacKenzie
SOURCE
Highland Council Planning Dept.
ASSET ID
14658
KEYWORDS
towers
Apothecary's Tower, Portree

This little tower is situated on a small hill overlooking the harbour in Portree. 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), is credited with the construction of the tower and the landscaping in the 1830s while he was 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 and 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.'

Severely damaged during gales in October 1978, the tower was reduced to its foundations to prevent any of the stone affecting the 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.

*Apothecaries' towers were used elsewhere to indicate to passing vessels that medical supplies and assistance were available in the vicinity.

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Apothecary's Tower, Portree

INVERNESS: Portree

1970s

towers

Highland Council Planning Dept.

The Highland Council Planning Dept

This little tower is situated on a small hill overlooking the harbour in Portree. 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), is credited with the construction of the tower and the landscaping in the 1830s while he was 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 and 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 /> Severely damaged during gales in October 1978, the tower was reduced to its foundations to prevent any of the stone affecting the 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 /> *Apothecaries' towers were used elsewhere to indicate to passing vessels that medical supplies and assistance were available in the vicinity.