Put on some good walking boots, take a packed lunch and discover Raasay’s highest peak, its secret beaches, abandoned townships, singing brooks and native forests. If you’re coming for a day trip and wish to explore the north of the island, please note that there is no public transport and you will need a car or bike to get there.
The Forestry Commission has produced a wonderful leaflet and map of Raasay and some of its many walks. Copies can be picked up free of charge in Raasay Stores. Another ‘must have’ accompaniment to your island adventure is Nick Fairweather’s brilliant illustrated guide, Exploring Raasay published by Thirsty Books. Copies are available online of from Raasay Stores.
Artist Frances Priest together with local plant expert Stephen Bungard produced a beautiful map of Raasay charting some of the walks below but with the added dimension of describing the unique plant habitats of each area from bog to coast and mountain. Copies of this map can be purchased from Raasay House online from Atlas Arts.
St Moluag’s, North Bay
St Moluag’s, North Bay and the Pictish Stone is an easy circuit route around Raasay House taking in some of the island’s rich history. St Moluag was a Scottish Missionary and contemporary of St Columba, who evangelised the Picts of Scotland in the 6th century. Ask for directions at Raasay House.
A superb circular hillwalking visiting the distinctive flat-topped summit of Dun Caan (Dun Cana), the highest hill on the Isle of Raasay and a wonderful viewpoint. On the way to the summit, you will pass by Loch na Man (Lake of the Woman) where legend has an Each-uisge or Kelpie resides. Kelpies are supernatural horses. They trick people into stroking them and drag their helpless victims into the cold depths of their watery homes. Details of the walk can be found on Walking Highlands.
Inverarish is only a mile (1.6 km) wide yet is packed with inviting trails, fascinating history and unbelievable views. You can visit the ruins of an Iron Age broch, follow in the footsteps of German prisoners of war, and see the impressive remains of Raasay's iron ore industry. A description of all the walks around Inverarish can be found on the Forestry Commission’s website.
Hallaig was Raasay’s largest settlement before the Highland Clearances. This stunning walk takes you through deserted ruins to a Cairn commemorating Sorley Maclean’s poem of the same name. Across the sea, views of Applecross and Torridon dominate the horizon while overhead, sea eagles and golden eagles can frequently been seen. Details of the walk can be found on Walking Highlands.
Brochel & Calum’s Road
The ruins of Brochel Castle, a MacLeod stronghold built over 500 years ago are a wonderful start to your journey down Callum’s Road. Best undertaking by car or bike the road was built singlehandedly by Calum MacLeod of Arnish over the course of ten years (1964-74) in attempt to stop the population of this northern township from dying out. Calum’s story, as told in Roger Hutchinson’s book, Calum’s Road, remains an inspiration to this day. Copies can be bought in Raasay Stores.
Arnish to Fladda
At the end of Calum’s Road, Arnish marks the beginning of Raasay’s north end. The rock here turns red in the sun and the sea’s rich blue reminds you of the Mediterranean. From here you can visit Fladda, a tidal island in the north west. The path between Arnish and Fladda which is a joy to walk or cycle was built by Calum MacLeod and his brother. Details of the route can be found on Walking Highlands.
Holoman island, a tidal island a few miles down the west coast from Inverarish is home to Raasay’s largest seal colony. Check out tide times before making the trip and take care not to disturb the seals. You can get a good view of the colony from the highest point of Holoman Island without scaring them.
One of Raasay’s best kept secrets, the Queen and her family would visit Inver for a picnic every year while the Royal Yacht Britannia lay moored off the coast. A beautiful walk through native woodlands culminates in a secluded beach with breathtaking views of Skye across the water. Details of the walk can be found on Walking Highlands.