Raasay, a tiny, Inner Hebridean Island is only 14 miles long and lies between Skye and the mainland. Separated by the Sound of Raasay from the mainland, its shores plummet into some of the deepest waters in the UK. The Sound of Rona separates it from Skye. It is across this sound from Sconser, that you make the short ferry crossing to Raasay by the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry.
Raasay enjoys a more truly island pace of life, like that which would have been previously enjoyed throughout the area. Approaching it by ferry allows you to catch your breath and wind down to enjoy this rare glimpse of how all Highlanders lived 50 years ago. It is a rewarding experience for all those who visit, and a time to ponder the good things we have all discarded along the way for Ďcivilisationí.
Approaching the island you will catch site almost immediately of the island's most distinct geological feature, the unique and remarkably flat-topped peak; known as Dun Caan. It is possible to walk from Suisnish Pier, at which you arrive, to the highest point of 1456 feet and back with time to spare to catch the last ferry back.
Owned for a long time by the Macleodís of Raasay, living a lavish lifestyle here, the island has seen many important visitors, and experienced its fair share of joy and sorrow. It paid dearly for the shelter it offered to Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746, when a tower and over 300 houses were burnt, 280 cows and 700 sheep were slaughtered and all their boats holed and sunk. Truly devastating events of this nature have no doubt shaped the determination of this tenacious island community.
Standing proud are the ruins of Brochel Castle, a once impressive building of 3 storeys and 4 towers, and Raasay House, perhaps the most obvious historical sites for you to visit. Scattered about this tiny island however, are Brochs, Pictish stones, subterranean dwellings believed to be over 200 years old, and a 13th century church, all offering endless opportunities for you to explore and enjoy the island. Inverarish is the main village part of which was used as a prisoner of war camp for the Germans during World War I.
It is said itís not possible to think of Raasay without remembering its great men, inspired, tenacious, gifted and very special. The most famous perhaps is Sorley Maclean, a great scholar and poet Laureate. Another, Calum Macleod, a local crofter who tired of bureaucracy, delay and local government failures, - simply built his own road to his front door; all 3.2km of it, with a barrow and shovel! These are the men of Raasay, strong and determined, and so typical of its people.
The island offers endless walking opportunities and is the home to Raasay Outdoor Centre, which until recently offered a vast range of outdoor activities to the young from Raasay House. Only two weeks before opening after extensive refurbishment it was almost totally destroyed by fire - activities do still take place. Though so typical of this island, plans for its rebuilding are well under way and it looks forward to leading the way with many more outdoor adventures in the future.
So when youíre here you really must make yourself a truly island day out and venture to this very special Island of Raasay, it will be unforgettable!