Discover the Isles of Skye and Raasay - 17th to 23rd May 2017

Dramatic coastline, Isle of Skye

Our adventure begins on the remote Isle of Raasay with a walk up the Isle’s summit – Dun Caan. Although not overly high at 443m, the reward for reaching the peak is a stunning 360-degree panorama of the Red and Black Cuillin, Trotternish Ridge, the Outer Isles, Applecross, Torridon and Glen Shiel as well as fabulous seascapes of the Inner and Raasay Sounds and Broadford Bay. Dun Caan was long thought to be an extinct volcanic peak due to its shape but it is actually formed of a cap layer of basalt on sandstone.

Highlights include:

  • Dramatic coastal scenery
  • Exploring iron age remains
  • Dining on local produce
  • Summiting an iconic Cuillin peak
  • Discovering the British Isles’ finest coastal walk
  • Staying on Raasay and Skye

After a relaxed evening at Raasay House it’s time to discover the south of the island. Starting from North Fearns we’ll head to the remote east coast, enjoying stunning coastal views on our way to the beautiful Hallaig Bay. This ruined township is a poignant reminder of the infamous Highland Clearances. We’ll reach the island’s main village of Inverarish using the old railway from the iron mining works. Here we can explore the fascinating iron age brochs and souterrains.

Then it’s time to travel across the Sound of Raasay to Broadford, our base on Skye. Here along the Borreraig coastal path, there’s the chance for us to spot dolphins, seals and otters. We’ll explore the ruins of Borreraig and Suisnish, where you can only imagine the hardship experienced by those who used to live in this remote and unforgiving landscape.

Walking Skye’s famous Black Cuillin, the iconic mountain of Blaven has to be a highlight of our trip. Made of the same gabbro rock as the main Cuillin ridge, Blaven is a Cuillin ‘outlier’ situated to the east. The views from its summit of the main Cuillin ridge, Red Cuillin, Isles of Rhum and Eigg and the mainland are unrivalled.

Our final walk starts with a boat trip to Loch Coruisk in the remote centre of the Cuillin – with stunning glacial scenery and waterfalls for us to explore before setting off on the coastal path back to Elgol passing en-route the infamous “Bad Step” and wading the river. This is possibly the finest coastal walk in the British Isles and a fitting adventure for our final walk on Skye

Isle of Skye

The largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago, Skye is a magical place – with its rich Gaelic culture, rugged coastline, majestic Cuillin mountain range, moors and beautiful lochs. There’s a wealth of history for us to explore, from the prehistoric remains of iron age brochs and souterrains to the abandoned villages of the Highland Clearances. The island’s flora and fauna include, black guillemots, Atlantic puffins and golden eagles as well as a diverse range of alpine plants. Its rich freshwater streams are home to salmon and brown trout.

Isle of Raasay

The tranquil Isle of Raasay lies off the east coast of Skye, just a 25 minute ferry journey across the Sound of Raasay. This small rugged and rocky island is only 23km long and 4.8km wide, and its highest peak - the distinct flat top of Dun Caan - is just 443m. Its fascinating history includes stories of brochs and pictish stones, clans and castles, poets and an iron ore industry. Home to an abundant array of flora and fauna, its wildlife includes golden eagles, sea eagles and the unique Raasay vole; offshore there are otters, seals and visiting dolphins.

Our Guide

Dr. Darren McAulay has been an outdoor activity professional since 1996. Currently he lives and guides in the French Alps returning to Skye in May every year to guide. Darren lived here for many years whilst guiding in the Cuillin; the Isle of Skye is his specialist interest. He is a member of the Syndicat National des Accompagnateurs en Montagne, France (SNAM).

Recommended Reading

Want to make the most of your trip? "Calum's Road" by Roger Hutchinson is a great read about the experiences of the last man to live on Raasay.

Walking along the coast, Isle of Skye

Day 1 - Wednesday 17th May – Fly to Inverness – Travel to Raasay (D)

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flight to Inverness. Please check-in two hours before departure time, using your photo ID and e-ticket. Flights are the latest known and subject to confirmation by the airlines.

From Inverness Airport we’ll travel to Raasay by minibus. After checking into our rooms, meet for our welcome reception and introduction to the week’s walking programme before dinner.

Dinner and overnight Raasay House

Dramatic scenery, Isle of Skye

Day 2 - Thursday 18th May – Dun Caan Summit - Circular Walk (BLD)

After breakfast today’s circular route starts at our accommodation.

We head north using the quiet lanes and paths passing Oskaig and then gently uphill to gain the main ridge that runs north-south along the island. Reaching the summit of Dun Caan, the highest summit on Raasay (443m) involves a short scramble on to the prominent summit block.

Our return passes by a couple of lochs before heading back towards the beech and pine forest near the village of Inverarish and then onto our hotel.

Picnic lunch, dinner and overnight Raasay House

Walking: moderate - distance: 12km, ascent: 500m, time: 5-6 hours

Soay, Rum and Eigg from the Skye Cuillin, Isle of Skye

Day 3 - Friday 19th May – Hallaig and South Raasay (BLD)

A short taxi journey to the south end of the island takes us to the start point of today’s walk. Following a good track, we’ll head to the remote east coast, where after 3km of stunning views we’ll arrive at the beautiful Hallaig Bay. Here we can explore the ruins of the deserted village set in a birch wood and see waterfalls that drop straight into the sea. A short climb from Hallaig takes us over past Beinn na Leac where we will continue towards the main village of Inverarish using the old railway from the iron mining works. There are many sites to visit around Inverarish including iron age brochs and souterrains before we return to Raasay House.

On our return make our way to the boat for the crossing to Skye.

Picnic lunch, dinner and overnight Broadford Hotel

Walking: moderate - distance: 12km, ascent: 250m, time: 6 hours

Isle of Skye

Day 4 - Saturday 20th May – Suisnish - Borreraig Coastal Path (BLD)

Starting at the beach of Camus Malag we head south along a good track to the abandoned village of Suisnish, descending to the beach and continuing along the remote coast – keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and otters along the way. On reaching the cleared village of Borreraig we head back to the north following a good path uphill to a height of 200m before reaching the old marble quarries and walk the train line back towards Broadford.

Picnic lunch, dinner in a local restaurant and overnight Broadford Hotel

Walking: moderate - distance: 12-15km (depending on route), ascent: 300m, time: 5-6 hours

Day 5 - Sunday 21st May – Blaven (BLD)

The iconic mountain of Blaven provides a great walk on Skye’s famous Black Cuillin. It is a short and steep ascent but on good paths, with some limited easy rock scrambling. The walk starts in a conserved woodland of native birches that soon give way to rockier terrain. The view of the impressively steep peak of Clach Glas and the rock buttresses make the ascent appear difficult. However, we will take the easiest route up the mountain that avoids all cliffs and although steep soon gets you to the rounded summit.

Picnic lunch, dinner in a local restaurant and overnight Broadford Hotel

Walking: moderate/hard - distance: 8km, ascent: 900m, time: 5-6 hours

Day 6 - Monday 22nd May – Boat to Loch Coruisk and Coastal Route Back to Elgol (BLD)

Starting from the village of Elgol we’ll take the boat to Loch Coruisk in the remote centre of the Cuillin. After exploring the glacial scenery, waterfalls and loch side we cross the stepping stones of Scavaig and follow the rugged coastal path, passing en-route the infamous “Bad Step” and crossing/wading the river the Camusunary before easier walking leads back to Elgol.

Picnic lunch, dinner in a local restaurant and overnight Broadford Hotel

Walking: moderate/hard - distance: 10km, ascent: 250m, time: 6 hours

Day 7 - Tuesday 23rd May – Travel Home (B)

After breakfast we bid farewell to the beautiful Isle of Skye and travel by minibus to Inverness airport for our flights home.

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

Deluxe Room, Raasay House, Raasay Standard Room, Broadford Hotel, Isle of Skye

Raasay House, Raasay 4*

Off the beaten track with a great ferry connection to the Isle of Skye, Raasay House is a stone’s throw from the ferry terminal - there really isn’t an easier way to step into a small authentic Hebridean island community before continuing our itinerary. Although Raasay House is more than a standard hotel they have some beautiful ‘hotel style’ rooms which have been rated 4-star guest accommodation by Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme.

Their restaurant sources the best local, seasonal ingredients, preparing them in a delicious, authentic, wholesome, uncomplicated way. From organic bread to Raasay venison casserole, all dishes are prepared from scratch.

Please note there are a limited number of standard rooms available at Raasay House – when booking please let us know if you prefer a standard or a more luxurious deluxe room for the two nights on Raasay. First booked, first served.

DELUXE FAMILY ROOMS - Super king bed, huge en-suite bathroom with bath and shower, dressing gown, large front facing windows with a spectacular sea view, comfortable lounge with accessible sea-facing balcony.

STANDARD SUPERKING - Super king bed, sofa, en-suite with shower, views of the courtyard and grounds

STANDARD DOUBLE - Double bed, large en-suite with shower, views of the courtyard, wild garden and grounds.

All standard and deluxe rooms have hairdryers, wardrobes, tea & coffee making facilities, flat screen TV

ECONOMY DOUBLE ROOM - Cosy room suitable for 1 person (or a very cosy couple), double bed, slanted ceiling, clothes rail, en-suite with push button eco-shower, tea & coffee making facilities.

More details can be found on the hotel's website.

Broadford Hotel, Isle of Skye 4*

The Broadford Hotel is a luxury, 4-star hotel situated in the village of Broadford on the Isle of Skye. Established in 1611 the hotel is the original home of Drambuie, where the famous liquor was first made. It has warm, comfortable accommodation, styled in colours which derive their inspiration from Drambuie tartan. A number of the rooms look out over Broadford Bay where you will see fishing boats returning from the sea with their catch of the day.

Standard double/twin - includes en-suite, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities.

More details can be found on the hotel's website.

Isle of Skye

Please note that the following flight details are the latest known and are subject to confirmation.

Outbound Heathrow - Wednesday 17th May
Depart Heathrow
Arrive Inverness
BA1468 09:50
11:25
Outbound Manchester - Wednesday 17th May
Depart Manchester
Arrive Inverness
BE6972 08:45
10:15
Inbound Heathrow - Tuesday 23rd May
Depart Inverness
Arrive Heathrow
BA1469 12:10
13:40
Inbound Manchester - Tuesday 23rd May
Depart Inverness
Arrive Manchester
BE69725 14:40
16:05

By Road

If you would prefer to drive to our holiday starting point on Raasey, enter your address or postcode for directions from Google:

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