Exploring Raasay Open Gold Qualifying Expedition – 2018

In April 2018 we will be running an Open Gold Qualifying expedition to the Island of Raasay, off the coast of Skye. The date for the expedition is:

  • 2nd to 6th of April 2018

The expedition will be an exploration of this amazing island. The island has dramatic scenery, lots of wildlife and a facinating history. There are dramatic cliffs, beaches, hills and lochs, waterfalls, beautiful woodland, deserted crofting townships, tidal islands, a bothy, sea eagles and otters. It is about 20km long by 5km wide and has a population of about 200. To read more about the island click here.

This webpage provides an outline of the expedition week, what’s involved and what’s included. More detailed information  on the expedition will be set out in our ‘Participant’s Pack’ to participants.  To book on to the expedition  click here.

If you are interested in a practice expedition please click here.

Where to meet up

All of the participants are to meet at Kyle of Lochalsh train station on Monday the 2nd of April at 13:45. Kyle of Lochalsh is a village on the Scottish mainland close to where the bridge crosses to Skye. You can catch a train to the Klye of Lochalsh from Inverness, Edinburgh or Glasgow.

What’s involved

Day 1 – On the day 1 we’ll meet at the train station at the Kyle of Lochalsh at 13:45. After that we will travel by car (10 min) to the island of Skye to Ashaig Campsite. The rest of the day will be spent getting to know your expedition team and preparing for the expedition.

Day 2 to 5 – On the morning of the second day we will drive to Sconser (about 25 min) to catch the morning ferry to Raasay. There are many options for exploring the island and the final route will be down to the participants to decide but a typical expedition week might look like this:

  • First day of the exped – Start at end of the public road at Arnish at the northern end of the island. Walk past the old school house of Torran and then on to the small uninhabited tidal island of Fladda, which once had a population of 51 in 1891! Explore the island’s deserted crofts and then cross back over to Raasy and walk to the old township of Kyle Rona with beautiful views across to Eilean Tigh and the island of Rona. Set up camp near Taigh Thormoid Dhuidh bothy. Altogther about 10-12km.
  • Second day of the exped – Walk back to Arnish (6km) via the tracks that connected the old crofting townships and then walk along Calum’s Road, a 3km stretch of road built single-handedly by a crofter called Calum MacLeod between 1964 and 1974. Visit Brochel Castle, built in the sixteeth century by the Clan MacLeod. Continue south along minor roads then branch off onto a path that descends through lovely woodland to a beach called Inver. Set up camp and explore the area. Altogether about 16km.
  • Third day of the exped – Walk back up to the minor road and then onto another path that leads to Dun Caan, the highest hill on the island. From there you get fantastic views across to Applecross and Skye. Descend to the deserted crofting township of Hallaig on the east coast, with dramatic cliffs and waterfalls. Hallaig was the birthplace of Sorely Maclean, one of Scotland’s most important Gaelic poets. He wrote a famous poem about Hallaig. About 8km with 450m ascent.
  • Last day of the expedition – Walk along the coastline to Fearns and the beginning of the public road. Walk back to the ferry terminal exploring the populous southern end of the island via paths and minor roads, visiting the lighthouse, school, community hall, new distillery and imposing Raasay House, once home to the island’s lairds and landownders. About 12km.

Once back at the ferry terminal and the expedition is over and you’ve had your feedback from the assessor we’ll catch an afternoon ferry back to Skye then drive to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland, where you can get onward train travel to Inverness, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

What to bring

Participants should bring enough food for the five days, that’s four breakfasts, five lunches and four evening meals.  Ideas and suggestions on what food to bring will be contained in the ‘Participant Pack’, to help participants prepare. The Participant Pack will also list all the expedition clothing, personal equipment and group kit they should bring.

Tents and stoves are available to borrow. Gas canisters or meths will be provided and is included in the cost.

Preparation before the expedition week

At least a month before the expedition week, participants will be organised into expedition groups so that they can plan together.  They will be required to plan the expedition route by completing a route card, based on maps and instructions provided. Participants will also be required to plan their meals and make decisions about their expedition aim and project work. The Participant Pack will make suggestions on how participants can plan together online before the expedition week.

Cost

The total cost of the expedition week is £210 per participant. This includes:

  • Ferries during the expedition week;
  • Fuel for stoves;
  • Campsite fees;
  • Expedition supervision;
  • Expedition assessment;
  • Maps and route cards.
  • Tents and stoves are available to borrow on request.

The following isn’t included:

  • Food for the entire expedition week (all five days);
  • Expedition equipment and clothing (apart from tents and stoves, which can be borrowed).