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18/09/2020

Skye, Raasay, Ardnamurchan and the Small Isles

Camus Mor, Isle of Muck


Skye, Raasay, Ardnamurchan and the Small Isles are home to arresting and other worldly scenery, which offers an incredible backdrop for outdoor adventures, nature lovers and food and drink enthusiasts too.

Skye

Without a doubt, Skye is a perfect destination for food and drink lovers. On the subject of the latter, it has opened another Single Malt whisky distillery - only the second ever on the island - Torabhaig. For the whisky lover, Torabhaig, combined with Talisker, with a trip over to Raasay offers a great whisky themed island hopping itinerary. Thanks to its unique location, Skye has exceptional natural resources, which have been expertly cultivated into some of the best food in the UK. During your visit, you'll be able to experience the island's bars and pubs, artisan food and drink shops to fine dining. Like its neighbours, Skye is popular with local wildlife, which you can see on your travels, or perhaps even on a local boat trip or tour, alongside experts. Skye's history also stretches back to the time of dinosaurs, footprints and fossils can be found at Staffin - on the shore and in the museum. Traces of more modern times can be explored in the island's Pictish Brochs, Castles, Churches, and the remnants of Skye's cleared villages.

Torabhaig Distillery, Isle of Skye

Raasay

The isle of Raasay is just a short 25 mile ferry ride away from neighbouring Skye. It's a quieter location than Skye, yet it shares the remarkable and other worldly scenery this part of the world is renowned for. It's certainly the place to bring your walking boots - with miles of tranquil walking track, and each route has a story of its own. For instance, take the walk out to Hallaig, Raasay's largest settlement before the Highland Clearances. You'll journey through the ruins to a Cairn commemorating the poem of the same name, written by one of Raasay's famous sons - Sorley MacLean. Arguably his most famous work, and reflects on the impact that period of history had on the landscape, once populated by those who were evicted or forced to emigrate. The poem has since been translated into other languages, inspired an organ composition and gave its name to one of Caledonian MacBrayne's latest vessels - the MV Hallaig. Raasay is the perfect destination for outdoor lovers, history lovers and nature lovers alike.

hillwalker on Isle of Raasay

Ardnamurchan

Perhaps one of the most unspoiled and undisturbed parts of the west coast - Ardnamurchan is also home to the most westerly point on the British mainland. The area is adorned with ancient woodland, mountains, moorlands, pure white beaches - it's no wonder that the likes of golden eagles, and wild cats choose this area for their homes. It's the perfect area to explore, perhaps as part of a longer trip over to neighbouring Mull, or before exploring the Small Isles, Raasay and Skye.

Mother and son playing by the waters edge

The Small Isles

The Small Isles - Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna - are an archipelago of islands south of Skye, rich in wildlife, history and geology. In particular, on Muck, more than 40 species of bird regularly breed on the island, and thanks to the gulf stream the marine life is particularly rich. The area is home to the only British Coral - the 'Cup Coral'. Harbour Porpoises, Minke Whales, Dolphins, Basking Sharks are regularly spotted in and around the island - even the odd Orca in the right conditions. Rum - the largest of the islands, is recognisable from its dramatic volcanic peaks and its wildlife. The island was purchased in the 1950s by Scottish Natural Heritage and is run as Nature Reserve of national and international status. Rum's vibrant wildlife population is made up of Otters, Sea Eagles, Goats and Deer. Its unique geology has attracted humans from the earliest times. It is thought that nomadic fishing and hunting communities stayed here as far back as 8000BC to captialise on Rum's stone, which was perfect for fashioning into hunting arrow heads that were traded far and wide. Eigg - at just 5 miles by 3 miles is the most populous of the islands and offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscapes, particularly from An Sgurr, its dramatic pitchstone ridge, the largest in Europe, and its musical quartz beach - the so called singing sands where the sand 'sings' beneath your feet.

Hillwalkers feet dangling over An Sgurr, Isle of Eigg

The practicalities

It's certainly been a different year for everyone, and where travel is concerned, there's a few extra considerations we all need to make. We are delighted to bring more of you back to the islands - and when you travel with us, we'd encourage you to plan ahead and be prepared:

  • If you're travelling on our bookable routes - reserve your tickets in advance.

  • If you need accommodation, don't travel without confirmation.

  • Follow all our safer travel guidance to help keep the islands and one another safe.

  • Be in the know before you go. Read up on how your destination is handling the response to the COVID19 and find out what arrangements are in place locally.

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