Raasay Beach Selfie

This island has been on my target list for a while.

It lies off the east coast of Skye, and the only way to get there is a 25 minute (£4.10 return*) Calmac ferry.

MV Hallaig

I was staying just across the water from Skye’s Sleat Peninsula so it seemed like a good destination for a day trip.

That is how it turned out.

It was my first Calmac ferry journey for a while, and certainly since the pandemic began. Foot passengers like me were limited to 22, and restricted to the passenger cabin as opposed to being outside on the decks. The cabin had alternate seat rows blocked off to help ensure distancing. We had to wear masks, obviously.

Virus Free Zone

The ferry is one of those little vessels Calmac uses on such low volume routes. It leaves from Sconser on Skye, which is nothing more than the ferry terminal and a fish farming dock. No coffee and no frills.

I had 2.5 hours to just wander around the corner of Raasay where the ferry arrives. It was lovely spring weather, which helped, and I had a great picnic gazing out over the Sound of Raasay to Skye and the Cuillens. Peace and quiet by the bucketload.

Raasay Picnic Spot

Raasay has ignored Skye’s tourism frenzy – or perhaps it has passed Raasay by. It has a bed and breakfast. It has a hotel, which also provides the only restaurant and bar. It has a modern distillery. It has a community shop. The rest is up to you!

For the geeks among us, the ferry used on the route is the MV Hallaig – a diesel-electric hybrid, delivered in 2012. She combines diesel electric and lithium-ion battery power. She is named after a poem (in Gaelic) by Sorley MacLean, who was from Raasay.

ⓒ iain taylor, 2021


* This is the foot passenger fare. To take your car will cost more.

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