There are a huge variety of walks and hikes to be found around the Isle of Raasay from the moment you get off the ferry.
From stunning hillwalking routes to beautiful coastal paths, we’ve tried to create the definitive list of walks to try when you visit us here on the island.
This leisurely coastal walk is perfect for anyone arriving fresh off the boat from Skye. Starting the moment you get off the ferry, this walk winds around the Ardhuish – a rocky and wooded peninsula that looks over towards Ben Tianavaig and up the Sound of Raasay.
When coming off the ferry, walk left of the ferry terminal and round towards the ‘old pier’, built originally as a landing place by the Clan MacLeod. You may also stop past ‘The Battery’, a coastal fortification that overlooks the harbour and is flanked by two large mermaid statues. This was built in the early 19th Century and was once fitted with a real battery of cannons- though now only a single one remains (complete with a cannonball still inside!)
Carry on along the beach to reach the Ardhuish. You’ll first approach a tidal island named Goat Island, and get great views of the ferry leaving or arriving in the harbour. Continue to follow the path and you’ll soon be on the coastline, looking up at the Sound of Raasay. You’ll soon reach Camus Alba, a beautiful stretch of beach that overlooks Ben Tianavaig on Skye. You may spot the usual concrete steps on the beach – these were the original steps to the shore but as the coastline eroded over the years soon the steps were left high and dry.
Carry along this coastline and eventually the path will lead you back up through the woods and onto the road. From here you can continue walking north, and walk back towards Raasay House and the Isle of Raasay Distillery. This road runs above the coastal walk, giving you a unique viewpoint as you retrace your steps on the return.
Hallaig is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beautiful places on Raasay to walk to. Few places in Scotland echo with more history and emotion than that of Hallaig, which is one of several cleared communities on our island. Clinging to the steep slopes of Raasay’s east coast, all that remains of this bustling community are dry stone walls and tumbledown ruins stretching in every direction.
Parking at the layby, the path to Hallaig is relatively level and dry throughout the year, though be careful of some areas underfoot where the path runs near steeper slopes. As you walk on Raasay, take in the incredible views towards Skye and mainland Scotland. From here, the Skye Bridge and Applecross as well as the many surrounding hills can be seen.
You’ll pass a large drystone enclosure, the first of many in this once-bustling area. Looking closely, you’ll notice many of the hillsides bear the mark of what would have been cultivation of various crops by the community.
You’ll soon reach Sorley’s cairn, a memorial which is engraved with the poet’s famous work Hallaig. From here you’ll reach the famous Hallaig woods, where an old stone stable can be found. These ancient woods are a beautiful walk which opens into the fank, a huge drystone wall enclosure once used for keeping cattle.
At the top of the hill, the village itself can be found. There are a number of ruined houses, granting beautiful views towards Dun Caan and across to mainland Scotland. Take the opportunity to appreciate the landscape and the vast remains of this former village that would have at one time been a heavily populated area full of families, crops and farmland all around.
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A quick drive from the ferry terminal will take you to the start of the path to the highest point of our island. Dun Caan (Dùn meaning fortress, hill or heap in Gaelic) is one of Raasay’s most distinctive features: a near-perfect flat-topped plateau and volcanic plug that sits atop the island. Walking to the summit, there are wonderful views the entire way up this Raasay walk, and at the summit you are greeted with one of the most spectacular panoramic views found anywhere in the world.
From Balmeanach, a small community nestled in a beautiful valley on the road north, you will find the parking place with signs for Dun Caan. The path is relatively straightforward and climbs steadily up the hill, with each step giving you a greater view of the surrounding landscape. Keep an eye out for herds of deer, which often roam over this section of hill as they graze the more remote areas of the island.
For the first 40 minutes of your hike, you won’t see the full summit of Dun Caan but you will soon reach the ridge line of a valley which holds Loch na Meilich and Loch Na Mna. These two lochs provide much of Raasay’s fresh water and are associated with numerous myths and legends, shrouded as they are in the shadows of the surrounding hills and the steep peak of Dun Caan.
Following the clear path along the lochs shoreline will direct you up to the hill. The walk from here can be steep and just before the summit, the path will become slightly zig-zagged between the large scattered rocks on the hillside. It’ll be worth it all for the view at the top however: looking out onto the entire eastern coast of Skye and a large part of the landscape of the mainland from the Five sisters of Kintail to Ruadh Reidh is laid out in front of you.
From Dun Caan, you can see the distinctive Storr and Portree Bay, Applecross, the Skye Bridge, the Cullin range and a view of the north of Raasay that stretches across to the islands of Rona and Fladda in the distance. Some of Raasay’s most distinctive sites, such as Brochel Castle, the village of Hallaig and Calum’s Road, can be spied from Dun Caan’s summit.
The walk to Inver is a beautiful walk on Raasay through ancient woodland, past the waterfalls and narrow gorges before opening into a tranquil pebble beach. It was here on Inver that the Royal family would often take the Royal Yacht Britannia, mooring it in the secluded bay for a quiet and private place to disembark and relax. You might not spot any royals there today but it’s the perfect place to take in some of the best coastline Raasay has to offer.
Heading past Balmeanach and the path for Dun Caan, the walk to Inver starts at a metal gate on your left just before the road elevates out of a steep dip and continues north. At the entrance of the pathway down to Inver, legend states you’ll find Storabs Grave, the mythical burial place of a Norwegian prince who died on Raasay.
Once through the gates and sheep fold, the path drops into an incredible wooded valley, with the Inver burn flowing through it. In Victorian times, this area was once bridged, with metal gantries zig-zagging over the steep valley walls. Nowadays, the path takes a more natural route alongside the burn, so take care as some spots will be slippy when wet.
After about 25 minutes, you will be led out of the forest and into the open hillside where the hills are lined with heather and the sun shines on the sea. The last stretch of the walk will take you through another short grove of trees where eventually you will reach Inver Bay, the perfect place to enjoy the views across to Skye, explore the cliffs or enjoy a picnic just like the Royal family.
Eilean Fladday (Fladda) is a small tidal island just off the Northwest coast of the Isle of Raasay. Once an active crofting community, it was slowly depopulated and by the 1960s, had no full-time residents. Only three holiday homes now remain, leaving it as yet another peaceful and quiet reminder of Raasay’s once busy north end.
Remember that Fladda is a tidal island and is only accessible at low tides. Consult tide tables and keep a careful watch of them when you are on the island or else you may get stuck!
To reach Fladda, you must first reach the very end of Raasay’s road in the community of Arnish. This is where Calum MacLeod build his famous stretch of road to connect his home in Arnish to the existing road at Brochel. Leaving your car at Arnish, the first stretch of path will take you to Torran, another now-abandoned community where a schoolhouse and church are now located.
The path branches here, with one track continuing north and one carrying on past the old church and towards Fladda. In days gone by, children from the north end of the island would have walked over these hills to reach the schoolhouse for their education. Continue along the path to Fladda, where you’ll pass one of the last houses in Torran and into a small woodland that hugs the side of the hill.
Eventually you’ll spot the three distinctive houses on the island, surrounded by ruins and the fields once worked by the islanders. The path here can be steep, so careful as you work your way around the hillside towards the causeway. You may spot a small stone alcove as you walk this path: in days gone by, islanders would have waited here for the tide to go down so they could cross home.
On the shoreline, you’ll see the distinctive shape of the manmade causeway that bridges the gap between Raasay and Fladda. The causeway is now ruined in places, but you can use it to cross over to Fladda and explore this small and remarkable island. The sheltered natural harbour was once home to several fishing boats and walking the island you’ll spot numerous ruins that indicate just how busy island life would once have been. Find a nice spot to sit and take in the view of Skye – from here, Portree Bay is plainly visible and was once an important part of island life: islanders would set their watch based on when the mailboat would leave the bay.
On your way back, you can choose to take the same route or the ‘hill route’ that takes you over the hill and back to the same path at the Torran schoolhouse. Whatever route home you take, it’ll be a hard-to-forget trip!
Remember when undertaking any of these Raasay walks to be aware of uneven paths and take appropriate footwear. We recommend always packing waterproofs outside of the summer (and sometimes during!) as well as refreshments such as water and snacks.
It’s always useful to pack a mobile phone to call for help in any emergency and an OS Map and Compass is recommended for paths that take you into the hills.
Use these walks on Raasay as a great base to discover the island from and start planning your visit now!
You might want to spend all your time on the Isle of Raasay relaxing with a dram or a G&T admiring the magical views, but if you can tear your eyes away, this small but mighty island has a lot to offer.
The Isle of Raasay, an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling, provides the ingredients for the perfect dram. Our lightly peated Isle of Raasay Single Malt is an expression of this magical place.
Our zesty, smooth and refreshing Isle of Raasay Gin combines an exciting selection of ten Raasay and traditional botanicals, including Raasay juniper, sweet orange peel, rhubarb root and our double distilled spirit.
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