New Adventures in Malt
- Destinations: Isle of Harris, Isle of Raasay, Isle of Skye
- Length of trip: 3 days
- Distilleries: ISLE OF RAASAY DISTILLERY, TORABHAIG DISTILLERY, ISLE OF HARRIS DISTILLERY, NORTH UIST DISTILLERY
Discover four exciting young distilleries, their inspirations and aspirations, and their deep connections to their communities.
ISLE OF RAASAY DISTILLERY
The Isle of Raasay is known for its breath-taking natural beauty, exaggerated landscapes, impressive geology, and an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Every drop of spirit is distilled, matured and bottled on the island using water from the Raasay Distillery well, maximising the influence of the island on the spirit, and the distillery on the island.
ST. MAUL-LUAG’S CHAPEL & PICTISH STONE
Near the distillery recessed in a grove lie the peaceful mains of a medieval church from the 13th century, believed to be on the original site of a church founded by St. Moulag in the 6th century. Inside is a plaque commemorating John Mackay, the last great piper to have been taught from the legendary MacCrimmons of Skye, piping family to the chiefs of Clan MacLeod. Next to the chapel on the slope is a Victorian mausoleum of the MacLeods. Across the graveyard is a smaller ruin of the Lady Chapel, A Class II Pictish Stone can be found near St Moulag’s Chapel. Originally discovered near the Old Pier and moved for protection to its present location near St Moulag’s Chapel, this Class II Pictish Stone has one of the earliest examples of a depiction of the Chi-Ro, an early Christian symbol that combined the first two letters from the Greek word for “Christ”. Also inscribed on the rock are a tuning fork, and a crescent with V rod symbol. Although we can’t be certain, this likely dates to the 8th-9th century.
Beyond the Pictish Stone is the Walled Garden. Community-owned and open to the public, the garden is a beautiful place to visit and has fresh flowers and produce for sale.
From the distillery one can drive or cycle out the single track road through the island, with stunning views across the Sound of Raasay to Skye. The road then veers off across the island to the eastern side, leading to the impressive remains of Brochel Castle. The seat of the MacLeods of Raasay up until it was destroyed by the Hanoverians in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. During his escape, Bonnie Prince Charlie spent two nights on Raasay, and for this the castle was destroyed. There is ample parking with footpaths that lead around the base of the castle and down to the shore, although the castle itself is now fenced off due to its state of disrepair.
ISLE OF RAASAY FERRY
Calmac offers one ferry to the island from Sconser on Skye. This is a turn up and go service with no advance booking available, with limited service on Sundays.