The Lands of Scorrybreac

Dr. A. Murray Nicolson
Chieftain in Clan MacNicol and
High Commissioner for the Americas


Scorrybreac is the land and house that the Clan Chief occupied for 800 nearly years, and was seat of the Clan until 1825. The Portree Circuit is a footpath that goes through Scorrybreac and is open to the general public.

This article describes the lands associated with the Highland Clan MacNeacail, near Portree, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.  The lands on Ben Chracaig were purchased by the Clan in 1987.  The land around the ruins of the old house of Scorrybreck on Ben Torvaig is privately owned but may be accessed by permission of the farmer.  To encourage your enjoyment of these lands, this article has been prepared to describe the sights you will see as you visit.  Part 1 covers Ben Chracaig, Part 2 describe the Scorrybreac House. 

For many years, the Chiefs of Clan MacNeacail lived at Scorrybreac, on Ben Torvaig, but the last Chief left the island in 1825 and his descendants now live in New South Wales, Australia.  In the early 1980s, efforts were made to re-establish Clan MacNeacail societies in Australia and North America, and while that was proceeding, Clan members were advised by the late Ian Ferguson Nicolson, Isle of Man, that the lands of Ben Chracaig were being put up for sale.  With its location very close to the old House of Scorrybreac, it was agreed that this would be an ideal purchase for the Clan, the lands to be held in perpetuity for conservation and the enjoyment of both the local people and the visitors to Portree from around the world. Contacts were made with Nicolsons living on the Isle of Skye, and a combined fund-raising effort in Scotland, North America, Australia, and New Zealand raised the funds to buy the land outright in 1987.  The 130 acres on Ben Chracaig are now administered by Urras Clann MhicNeacail, a trust whose ten board members are drawn from around the world, and by a local Management Committee.

The lands of Ben Chracaig are freely open to the public, to walk its footpaths and enjoy spectacular views both from along the shoreline and from atop its high cliffs.  The land is maintained by Urras Clann MhicNeacail with the help of local people including a Portree conservation group. Jan Nicolson of Portree has been responsible for many improvements to amenities since the land was purchased.

How to Get There

Follow the signs for the Cuillin Hills Hotel from the centre of Portree.  The entrance to the land is along the shoreline below the hotel; there is a small parking space as the path begins.  (See the map below).

Map of Ben Chracaig

Figure 1 - Map of Ben Chracaig