Eyre Point Cottage
Isle of Raasay
Sleeping 6 (7)
What is it about islands that we find so attractive? Does the fact of casting off from the mainland make us feel that we are casting off our normal lives with all their day-to-day problems? If so then be prepared to be completely enchanted by Eyre Point Cottage on Raasay. Skye's attractions are well-known, whereas its smaller, quieter sister island of Raasay is less frequented, although it lies only 15 minutes by ferry from Sconser on Skye, 12 miles south of Portree.
Eyre Point Cottage stands in a superb position on the south west coast of the island, about 4 miles south of the ferry terminal at Suishnish. It is right on the water's edge behind a sheep gate (which visitors are asked to keep closed at all times) with a well-tended drive leading up to it. The views across the Sound of Raasay to the Cuillins are truly awesome. As protection against those prowling sheep the garden is enclosed but with a small gate opening on to the shore where there is a jetty and a power point. The cottage itself was originally built for the owner's personal use and is extremely well insulated and comfortable, with oil central heating and a wood-burning stove in the sitting room. There is an immersion heater for summer use. The kitchen is spacious, well-equipped and has a separate utility/drying room – everything is provided to ensure a relaxing holiday.
The island of Raasay is particularly attractive to bird watchers as well as to nature lovers. There are three pairs of eagles and the occasional visit from ospreys. The sharp-eyed may catch a glimpse of a school of porpoises in the Sound or even be lucky enough to see a whale. There is even a Raasay vole, a minute creature quite different from its Skye and mainland cousins.
Fishing for brown trout is available in the little lochs (permits available at the hotel). As the island has its own microclimate botanists may be interested in searching for the lesser butterfly, the early, purple, green winged and spotted. The main village on Raasay is Inverarish, a ten-minute drive from the cottage. Here you will find a hotel (bar meals), a pub and a very good, old-fashioned general store (unlicensed)/Post Office. However, you will not find petrol on Raasay.
Today's peace and quiet on the island belies its violent and gory history. Calum Garbh MacLeod, a 16th century pirate preyed on passing merchant ships from his stronghold of Brochel Castle (today a ruin) in the north. During the '45 Rebellion the people of Raasay supported the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie and 126 men fought for him at Culloden. The islanders paid a heavy price for their loyalty when they were attacked by the winning government forces who marched across the island looting, raping and killing. Finally, in the 19th century, Raasay suffered some of the most brutal of the Highland Clearances.
All that is now in the past and today the island is a delightful hideaway from the tensions of the modern world. There are several excellent walks, one of which takes you to Dun Caan, a hill of unusual shape in the centre of the island where Boswell and Dr Johnson danced during their visit to Raasay in the 18th century.
A leaflet published by the Forestry Commission provides details of walks and forest trails. The inhabitants of the island include quite a few very good musicians so do look out for announcements of ceilidhs and concerts at which visitors are most welcome.
The ferry crosses several times a day Monday-Saturday and there are now also crossings on Sundays. Bed-linen and towels are included. Heating is by oil fired central heating and wood-burning stove is included. No smoking within the cottage. Pets by arrangement. Wi-fi included, subject to provider.
Accommodation (sleeps 6 (7)):
- Sitting room with TV/DVD, Hi-fi, Multi-fuel stove.
- Kitchen/Dining room with electric oven/hob, fridge/freezer, dishwasher etc.
- Utility room with washing-machine and tumble drier
- Double-bed room with TV.
- Double-bed room with ensuite bathroom (shower over), WC and basin.
- Bedroom with double bed and single bunk bed over and en suite room with shower, WC and basin.
- Single-bed room.
- Bathroom with bath (shower over), WC and basin.