Raasay

The island of Raasay is located to the east of the Isle of Skye, immediately north of the island of Scalpay, in Highland Council Area. The island was originally the property of the MacLeod family but sold to George Rainy (1790 - 1863), who had made his money as a plantation-owner in British Guyana and was responsible for clearing much of the population from Raasay. These events are described in the poem Hallaig by Rassay's most famous son, Sorley MacLean (1911-96). Later the island became the property of William Baird & Co Ltd, which extracted iron ore from a mine near Inverarish. Now state-owned, Raasay has continued to suffer from a diminishing population and now has the lowest proportion of children of all the Scottish islands. The population has dropped from 211 (1961), to 163 (1971) and 152 (1981), before seeing a modest resurgence to 163 (1991), 192 (2001) and 161 (2011). Covering an area of 6405 ha (15,827 acres), the highest point on the island is Dun Caan, situated in the centre of the island and rising to a height of 443m (1453 feet). The island is populated with Red Deer, water shrew, a unique native bank vole, alpine hares and is the only Scottish island on which pine marten live, as well as varied birdlife, including golden eagles. The main settlement on the island is Inverarish, which is located on the southwest coast of the island, a mile (1.5 km) from the ferry terminal at Clachan. Places of interest include The Battery, site of a 19th Century cannon emplacement, Raasay House, with many links to the islands past and now run as an outdoor centre and the Pictish-Ogam stone of Temptation Hill. Raasay is particularly famed for its pipers.


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