The Isle of Raasay lies east of the Isle of Skye between the Applecross peninsula on the mainland and Skye. It can only be reached by travelling to Skye first, followed by a 25 minute ferry ride from Sconser.
Raasay ferry arriving at Sconser, Skye
The island is 14 miles/23 km long and 3 miles/5 km at its widest and it is home to about 170 people. This is down from over 900 people in 1803. Most people left for Australia during Clearances in the 19th century. The majority of the current population lives in the southwest of the island, in and around the main village Inverarish and near the ferry terminal at Churchton Bay. The most distinctive building when arriving on Raasay is community owned Raasay House, which offers accommodation, a cafe, bar, restaurant and outdoor activities.
Churchton Bay and Skye across the Sound of Raasay
The flat-topped summit of Dun Caan can be seen from many places on Skye and when on the east coast of Raasay, the Cullin on Skye are the main feature.
The name Raasay has Norse origins and translates as 'Island of the Roe Deer'.
Raasay is famous for Calum's Road, two miles (3 km) of road in the north of the island between Brochel Castle and Arnish. The road was built by Calum MacLeod, a postman. The entire community of eight families was considering leaving, because there was no road access and the council refused to help. So in 1966, armed with a book on roadbuilding Calum constructed the road himself with nothing but a shovel, a pick and a wheelbarrow. It took him 10 years to complete the road, but by then he and his wife were the last remaining inhabitants of Arnish and he died soon after. between the mid 1960s and the late 1970s. Thanks to Calum's road, there are still people living in the north of Raasay. You can read the full story of one men's determination in the book Calum's Road by by Roger Hutchinson.
It is a great placed if you want to escape the large number of tourists on Skye. There are excellent walks from the ferry terminal, so if you don't want to venture to the north of the island you don't have to bring a car. We won't when we will walk on Raasay during our Scottish Highlands & Skye luxury walking tour. The walk will take us along the coast, into the hills to an old ironstone mine from the early 20th century and down a disused railway track to the pier at Suisnish where there are the remains of kilns and other buildings used for processing the ironstone. There are great views of the mountains of Skye all the time.
Sheep moved into the buildings of the iron ore mine
We walked on Raasay in March during windy weather with blustery hail showers. Most of it fell on the Cuillin on Skye which meant that the view changed every 5 minutes.
Along the disused railway with the Cuillin on Skye disappearing into a heavy shower