Raasay (or Ratharsair in Gaelic) is an island off the coast of Skye, Scotland.
“RAARSA is described as ane Ilie of five myle long and thrie braid, pertaining to the Bischop of the Iles; but it is occupiet be ane gentleman of McCloyd Lewis kin, callit Gillechalium Raarsa. His offspring bruikis the same yit, and are callit clan Gillechalium of Raarsa. He hes ane strange little casteil in this Ile, biggit on the heid of ane heich Craig, and is callit Prokill (Bròchail). It is but 8 merk land, and will raise 80 men. It payis yeirlie to the bischop 16 merks, but to the capitaine thairof it payis of neither sundrie tributes better not 00 merks. Thair is na woodis, but great heich craigis in this Ile. It is commondious of corn and all kinds of bestiall, and chieflie horses.” – Dean Munro Circa 1549
The name Raasay comes from Norse, typically thought to mean Island of the Roe Deer, but could also come from a more nautical origin, rasar-eyjar or tidal race islands, possibly named for the often treacherous channels and meeting tides found around the island. Raasay is famous for its diverse landscapes and history; from the distinctive flat-topped peak of Dun Caan, steep cliff tops and winding forest trails, to abandoned castles, ancient brochs and famous sights such as Calum’s Road and Raasay House.
The famous Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean was born on Raasay, and educated in Raasay Primary School from 1918-1924. His most famous work, Hallaig, is about the cleared community on the eastern side of Raasay.
Raasay is accessible by a 25 minute ferry journey from Sconser. Much of the island can be covered by car, and most places in the south can be easily reached on foot. For more information on where to stay and what to see on Raasay, please visit Raasay.com’s visiting section.