Between Portree and Dunvegan the main road sweeps past the leafy village of Edinbane. Edinbane translates as An t-Aodann Bàn in Gaelic, meaning “pale hill face”. The small, but perfectly formed village straddles the river “Abhainn Choishleadar”. Although people lived here before the 1800s, Edinbane was redesigned in 1861 as a sort of highland ‘new town’. The new Edinbane was the brainchild of the wealthy and forward thinking philanthropist Kenneth MacLeod of Greshornish. His plan for the village included not only the physical requirements; a school, a watermill, an Inn and a hunting lodge, pretty cottages and carefully planned crofts. Thought was also given to the human resources a village would need to thrive; a skilled carpenter, smith and mason. Kenneth MacLeod was a popular and colourful character whose vision brought prosperity to the area. Before his death in 1869 Kenneth MacLeod’s last gift to the area was a trust, set up to build and run a hospital for the people of Skye. Gesto hospital was completed in 1870 and ran as intended until 2006 when the NHS made the controversial decision to close it.
Now somewhat diminished, Edinbane’s modern amenities do not stretch to a hospital. Recent centralisation of services has resulted in a post office that is only open on Tuesday afternoons but, as it is only a 20 minute drive to Portree, visitors are encouraged to use the facilities there to send postcards. The Edinbane Pottery is a family run artisan pottery in the middle of Edinbane. They use traditional methods to produce salt glazed, wood fired stoneware and they are happy to tell visitors all about it.
Edinbane has more than its fair share of old style hotels. The Greshornish House Hotel is a country house turned 4 star hotel. The original Edinbane Inn and Edinbane Lodge still both offer accommodation. There are live music sessions at the Inn and the Lodge reportedly has several ghosts. Other accommodation ranges from a camping and caravan club site to luxury self-catering in unusual buildings, the only proviso is to book early. Edinbane is ideally placed as a base to explore Skye’s three northerly peninsulas; Trotternish, Waternish and Durinish. These between them offer some of the finest dining on Skye.