Raasay and ferry

Recently we visited Raasay from Skye. It was one of our targets this year, really in connection with family history, since Marwyn’s father was born there in a remote hamlet called Umachan. We took the car over on the ferry from Skye so that we could drive up to the top of Calum’s Road (see the tune) where the path to Umachan starts.


This is the old schoolhouse at Torran. By the time Marwyn’s Dad was old enough to go to school, the family had (thankfully) been able to move to a house in Clachan, where the school was much closer.

View over Raasay

Further north from Torran the path narrows, with a view back to Dun Caan, the highest point on Raasay.

Path to Kyle Rona

The path climbs eastwards over the spine of Raasay before continuing north to Kyle Rona. From the top Applecross comes into view.

Eventually, there is an old track (almost invisible) that leads down from the Kyle Rona path to Umachan. It was once a good path, being raised above the boggy bits in places; but now, it is very overgrown. It leads down to where the ruins of the Umachan croft houses are, but unfortunately I did not have the time to get to the ruins, which are just over the ridge to the left of this photo. The trees are down in the most fertile bit of Umachan; it was very hard to grow crops here. It’s a lovely view across to Applecross, but it must have been a terribly hard life. The place was abandoned in the 1930s; even in 1901 there were only three houses inhabited here.

Mermaid on battery.

Back at the ferry terminal (after visiting the new distillery) the mermaid busts flank the sides of the old battery in front of Raasay House. It was in the gardener’s cottage behind the house that Marwyn’s grandmother lived with her family after moving from Umachan.

Visiting Umachan was quite a revelation; I had not realised just how isolated it was. We had been on Raasay before but never walked up to the north end. I did get a few unwanted additions from the walk to Umachan; I disovered that about 15 ticks had attached themselves to me when we got back to our accomodation on Skye. Fortunately I know how to remove them (though it had to be a few drops of Raasay Gin rather than surgical spirit) but I have never ever had so many before from one walk.