Braes

Across the bay from Portree lies the Braes peninsula. So relaxingly removed yet conveniently close to Portree’s amenities, Braes has a lot to offer as a holiday base. The Braes has a good supply of well-established B&B and self-catering accommodation providers.

Braes boasts views and north towards Trotternish, West over the sound to Raasay and South to the Cuillins. A delightful path at an Aird leads down to the beach and a promontory that reaches into the sea. The cliffs and natural arches are spectacular but please walk with care! The walk from the end of the Braes road, along loch Sligachen offers and insight into the past (and the possibility of a pub lunch) as this used to be the main road. The Modern Braes is a calm and pleasant cul-de-sac but it was not always so.

Battle of Braes

The Braes was once the site of a bloody uprising that has had a lasting effect on crofters’ lives. In 1882 the Battle of the Braes may have been the result of long standing grievances over the lease of hill grazing but it was triggered in earnest when the landlords sent the sheriff’s officers to evict some of the dissidents. The Braes’ women turned them back from this task and even forced them to burn the legal documents. The Braes folk were seen to be so lawless that forty-seven police officers were sent up from Glasgow to deal with them.

The folk of the Braes were sleeping when the police officers first arrived, intent on making arrests. Five men were arrested and the force began to withdraw with their prisoners. Many of the Braes men were away and it was the women who instigated the attack against the retreating police force. The crofters had no weapons but sticks and stones and their knowledge of the terrain but it was enough. The police force fled Braes in fear for their lives. As an indirect result the Napier Commission investigated the conditions of crofters and that led to the first law to protect crofting tenants’ rights.