CalMac Island Bites - A taste of the islands of Skye and Raasay
For our September edition of CalMac Island Bites we are serving up some great suggestions of places to stop and refuel during your time on the islands of Skye and Raasay. Whether you've already planned a trip or you're looking for inspiration for your next big (or wee) adventure, we are sure that you will fall in love with the charm of these fantastic islands, one bite at a time.
The perfect retreat for photographers and adventurers alike, Skye's whimsical Fairy Glen, rugged Trotternish peninsula, and picturesque fishing villages are enough to impress any traveller. Add to that a world class reputation for locally sourced produce and a Michelin Star awarded restaurant and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable weekend away.
This 'home grown' Brewery was started in the 90's by a group of friends and is one of the first building's you'll see as you come off the ferry at our Uig port from the Outer Hebrides. It's perfect for a first stop. One of the brewers, Pam MacRuary, was trained in French cuisine which is clear when you look at the range of flavours they produce through malting - from a light 'roast' to the dark, rich chocolate malt.
Their Skye Red ale is where it all started and is nutty and richly fruity while Skye Midge 'bites back' with its zesty grapefruit flavours. We use the ales in our Steak and Ale pie on board the local ferry, in our Mariners café - these local ales help keep the chunky beef tender and tasty.
Also based in Uig, anyone with a sweet tooth must visit both the Isle of Skye Fudge Company and the Isle of Skye Chocolate Company.
Carol Inglis' local fudge comes in a range of flavours including 'Talisker' Single Malt Whisky which captures the true essence of Skye. Delicious.
From the local chocolatier you can enjoy luxurious double cream blended with 70% cocoa and a selection of berries, hazelnuts, oatmeal or coffee beans - lovingly assembled to create these stunning chocolates.
Tip: We sell these delicious local Skye products on board our local ferries!
Built from the ground up by a South African couple, Liza and Barry Hawthorne, this island bakery is wholesome and filled with community spirit, not to mention fantastic locally baked produce. Barry was a trained baker and his initial intention was to merely bake good oatcakes and shortbread. They've done just that and more, now producing a wide range of artisan breads, biscuits, fudge, jams and chutneys. Their ethos is 'traditional recipes with contemporary flavours' - try the dill and black pepper oatcakes with smoked salmon for a burst of island flavours in one bite.
You'll find the Isle of Skye Baking Company in Portree, the perfect base to explore the island from.
Only a 30 minute drive from Uig and located on the stunning Trotternish peninsula at Staffin , the Skye Pie Café is the perfect pit stop after a morning of hiking. If pies are your thing then it's a must with innovative examples like Skye Mutton Pie made with pulled mutton, harissa, apricots and coriander, or the Veggie Pie with curried lentils, sweet potato, lime pickle and spinach. Their Pie of the month was recently made with locally sourced West coast crab, watercress and parmesan - mouth-watering!
If you are looking for a fine dining experience or perhaps you're celebrating a special occasion during your Skye stay, book into one of the two award-winning restaurants on the island - The Three Chimneys in Dunvegan and the Michelin star awarded Kinloch Lodge in Sleat. You will not be disappointed.
This small island is perfect for adventure seekers looking for something a bit different. If you fancy spending a week sea kayaking, gorge walking and sailing the Sound of Raasay then this place is bound to satisfy your adventurous spirit! If adventure isn't your thing you can still enjoy the tranquillity of this quiet island - go birdwatching, walking or cycling along Calum's Road, often without meeting a sole. Never the less, you'll need somewhere to warm up and replenish, and Raasay House is the perfect place for just that.
Enjoy an authentic, locally sourced island meal at Raasay House whilst admiring the view of the Sound of Raasay and the magnificent Cuillin Mountains on Skye. There is no need to book for lunch although if you are a large party looking for a dinner reservation it is a good idea to book ahead. You won't want to miss out!
Tip: If you are planning on being out and about all day on Raasay pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the many remote hilltops or beaches that this beautiful island has to offer. You can stock up at the local community shop in Inverarish, Raasay Stores. Opening hours: 9.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Planning your trip
You can travel by ferry to Skye from Mallaig on the mainland or from Tarbert on Harris, and Lochmaddy in North Uist. To get to the small island of Raasay you can sail from the port of Sconser on the eastern coast of Skye.
For more information on sailings to each of the destinations above, visit our Timetables & fares section. If it's another region you'd like to explore visit our Destinations section to see each of the 24 destinations that CalMac Ferries sail to.
Stay tuned for the October edition of Island Bites where we'll help you discover some of the local favourites in the Southern Hebrides (Islay & Jura, Colonsay, Gigha and Kintyre). Or go back and explore our August edition - CalMac Island Bites - Discovering the Firth of Clyde one bite at a time!.