Isle of Raasay
Fàilte Gu Eilean Ratharsair
Welcome to the Isle of Raasay
AN ISLAND IN THE INNER HEBRIDES
Just a 25-minute ferry ride from the Isle of Skye, Raasay (Ratharsair in Gaelic) means Isle of the Roe Deer. Despite its modest size, it is one of the most geologically diverse landmasses in the world.
From rolling hills to native forests and secluded beaches, explore any part of the island and the backdrops you will enjoy include the breathtaking panoramas of the Cuillin to the west and Torridon to the east.
TRAVELLING TO RAASAY
Cross land and sea on an awe inspiring journey through dramatic Highland scenery
The island of Raasay lies in the Highlands, between the Isle of Skye and the mainland of Scotland. It is separated from Skye by the Sound of Raasay and from Applecross by the Inner Sound.
OUTSTANDING VIEWS & AN EASY FERRY CROSSING
Raasay is one of the most easily accessible islands in Scotland, with a regular ferry service that runs throughout the year, seven days a week. Travelling to Raasay requires catching the ferry from Sconser on Skye, which is located on the main road to Portree and the north of Skye. You don’t even have to book!
Raasay’s community-owned shop, which you can find in Inverarish, stocks an ever-growing selection of local food and drink as well as all the essentials for your visit, plus a variety of Raasay books and gifts. The distillery has its own shop and visitor centre where you can buy its whisky, gin and related gifts. Locally produced arts and crafts are available at Taigh nan Cearcan and the Raasay Gallery.
Raasay’s first ever legal distillery is at the heart of the community, handcrafting both single malt whisky and gin. Discover the story behind the distillery’s success while enjoying a guided tour followed by a tasting. Or why not book a stay in one of the six ensuite bedrooms? It’s the only distillery in Scotland where you can stay overnight in the same building as a working distillery!
The variety of habitats on and around Raasay is reflected in the diversity of the wildlife and plants to be found. Depending on the time of year (and the weather!), you may well see white-tailed sea and golden eagles, oystercatchers and guillemots, dolphins, otters and seals, red deer, bluebells, flowering gorse, native ferns and rare orchids, birch, hazel, alder and many fir and pine trees. e.
Cross land and sea on an awe inspiring journey through dramatic Highland scenery
Raasay may be one of the smaller islands in the Hebrides – it’s only 14 miles long by 3 miles wide with a resident population of around 170 – but there is loads to see and do, whether you are visiting for the day, staying for a night or two or for longer. And it only takes 25 minutes on the ferry from Skye.
If you enjoy walking, cycling, kayaking, wildlife and plants, fabulous views of Skye to the west and the Scottish mainland to the east, history and culture, whisky and gin, genealogy or a bit of everything, come and enjoy all that Raasay has to offer.
You may come to Raasay with lots of plans and ideas about what you want to see and do, but the pace of life on Raasay is definitely slower and much more relaxed than its bigger and busier neighbour, Skye.
One visit to Raasay is never enough!
With its many different habitats – from the coast and beaches to acid moors, limestone cliffs to bog and freshwater lochs – Raasay supports a wide variety of animal and plant life.
There are lots of different ferns from small adder’s tongue to bracken, great horsetail and royal fern. Many different orchids grow on the island and, in some cases, hybridise. Bluebells and flowering gorse in the spring provide fantastic swathes of colour and scent. And Raasay is a forager’s paradise as long as you know what you’re looking for and where to find it!
Raasay is fantastic for all types of birds: white-tailed sea eagles and golden eagles, buzzards, hawks, oystercatchers, heron, and curlews, among many others.
In addition to crofters’ sheep and cattle (including Highlanders and Dexters), the wildlife on both land and sea is varied. You may spot one or more red deer and, if you’re lucky, otters, seals, porpoises and dolphins.
Put on your walking boots to explore Raasay’s diverse landscape – forest and coastal walks, abandoned townships, secret beaches, historical sites – and enjoy walks for all abilities.
Climb to Raasay’s highest point, Dun Can (Dun Cana ) for 360-degree views from its distinctive flat top, walk to an Iron Age broch, follow in the footsteps of German prisoners of war and see the impressive remains of the island’s iron ore industry . The famous Calum’s Road is at the island’s north end or discover the abandoned township of Hallaig , immortalised in Sorley MacLean’s poem, in the south east. Endless choices and never-ending views!
Raasay House and the Isle of Raasay Distillery are only a few minutes’ walk from the ferry with Inverarish only another 15 minutes and where you’ll find the shop and post office , the Raasay Gallery and Taigh nan Cearcan .
Walk Highlands has good route information, while Nick Fairweather’s Exploring Raasay book details 20 different walks (available from both the island shop and good booksellers).
STAY ON RAASAY
Experience Highland Hospitality
The island has two unique hotels, both with stunning views across the water to Skye. Raasay House Hotel has 20 bedrooms which range from economy to deluxe as well as its renowned outdoor activity centre. Or stay at the Isle of Raasay Distillery, possibly the only working distillery with luxury accommodation in the same building!
BED & BREAKFASTS
Enjoy luxury bed and breakfast accommodation at one of the two centrally located B&Bs on the island, both just outside of the main village of Inverarish. Choose from Allt Arais, which has three luxury ensuite rooms, or the unique guestroom at the Raasay Gallery.
There are a number of self-catering properties on Raasay of varying sizes, including a traditional cottage (sleeps three) in Inverarish, a three-bedroom former croft house towards the northern end of the island, Suisnish House which sleeps 15, and more. Dogs are also welcome at some of the properties.
THE WALLED GARDEN
Located behind the community-owned Raasay House, our community garden has been lovingly brought back to life.
There has been a garden in this area since the 16 th century and it was well-stocked by the time Boswell and Johnson visited in 1773. An 1877 Ordnance Survey map shows the greenhouses in place and a layout very similar to that of today. However, from the 1980s the garden became overgrown and the greenhouses derelict. Fast forward to today and it is now a productive community garden thanks to the successful Raasay Roots, Shoots and Fruits project in 2017-18 and fundraising and much hard work since by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who continue to develop and improve the garden every year.
Harvested produce (during the growing season) is available at the veg shack outside the garden on a first come, first served basis (some produce can be pre-ordered).
The garden is open daily to visitors and there are picnic tables in the new orchard.
RAASAY COMMUNITY HALL
Community-owned and run
The island’s community hall was opened in 2010 and is a space for our many different community groups and organisations. The hall is used for sports and concerts, craft fairs and weddings, coffee mornings, parties, celebrations and much, much more.
The hall is enjoyed by both residents and visitors alike all year round and has it’s own Facebook page (click ‘Find out more’ below) where information is posted about what is happening.
For details about how to book the hall for your meeting or event, contact Raasay Community Association on email@example.com.
Take a meditative walk and learn about the history and stories of the island or challenge yourself with Running Raasay
Raasay is a haven for running, hiking and exploring off the beaten path. Join Patricia on one of her unique routes on, across and around the island. Whether running or walking, go beyond the paths and explore some of Raasay’s more remote and spectacular locations.
Or, if you want your own bespoke adventure, Patricia will create something to suit, covering things like any specific points of interest, time available and your experience.
On this three-hour walk in the beauty, peace and silence of Raasay, visiting some of the island’s magical places and historical sites, Jen Burnet will share her wealth of knowledge about the island. Walks start at the ferry terminal on Raasay at 10 am and, although free of charge, booking is essential.
Contact Jen Burnet on 07833 140247 to book your walk (please bring your own refreshments).