…there’s wonderful and challenging walking to all parts of the island. You can follow the marked trails or wander off track through magical mossy woodland valleys of birch, rowan and holly, or clamber over the pink and grey rocky summits of hard Lewisian gneiss. Rona’s highest peak, Meall Acairseid, at the centre of the island is 125m high. It’s a short climb rewarded by an awe-inspiring 360 degree view encompassing Scotland’s beautiful west coast, where the Torridon mountains form a dramatic, often snow-covered skyline to the east and the mountains of Skye to the west – in fact some of the best yet seldom seen views of Skye can be seen from Rona and her surrounding waters giving a unique view of our neighbouring isle.
Skye’s famous landmark, Old Man of Storr is centre stage from your cottage windows. To the North beyond Rona is vast expanse of uninterrupted ocean – next stop the North Pole! Following the fine tracery of deer paths through the heather is one of the best ways to explore the island. The deer often come down to graze in your garden at night & are specially worth observing in early autumn when the stags are roaring, returning to your own log fire to enjoy a Rona whisky….
will find an abundance of wildlife in Rona’s peaceful & tranquil habitat: the Rona wildred deer herd roam the length of the island, whilst sea eagle and otter are regular shore visitors. Our resident seal population alternate their home between Big Harbour, forming a curious and endearing audience to welcome you ashore on arrival, and in summer decamping to a remote sheltered bay to the north west of the island. The walk to their summer waters makes a great day out – take some lunch and relax on the sandy & rocky beach to watch their antics as they approach to get a better look at you.
more than 300 species of plants, Rona has a rich and colourful flora & fauna and attracts numerous butterflies, bees and insect life. Closer to the old settlements and cottages, the descendants of species used in the kitchen and for medicines still grow, now naturalised among the wilder plants. Rhubarb, mint & wild thyme all thrive here, with bramble, hazel, rosehip and chanterelle mushroom contributing to the late summer larder.
in Rona’s heritage by staying in the Dry Harbour cottages, you’ll encounter the island’s history at first hand. You’ll walk the same paths as the generations who inhabited Rona – staying in the stone houses in old settlements. Wandering among the ruins, the sense of history is palpable, and beachcombers will find traces of the past in the shards of pottery and glass washed down to the shore in the years since Rona was last inhabited in the 1920s. The second largest (just) of Rona’s indigenous mammals after the red deer are the island’s human population which has waxed & waned from several hundreds in the 1800s to the present two. You can visit Church cave on the east side of the island, a steep and rocky climb down to a dramatic cliff-side place of worship. Rows of boulders which served the old congregations as pews, and the rocky font that’s perpetually replenished from water filtering through the rock mass above are reminders of the cave’s spiritual importance.
and North of the island, Rona’s polar opposites are favourite spots to visit for days out from the cottage. An Teampull at the southern end is an ancient place of worship and thought to be a monk’s cell. An Teampull looks out over the waters and sandy bays of Caol Rona which separate the islands of Raasay and Rona. At low tide it’s possible to scramble down to the beach – but be careful, the wee island at the very southern tip is cut off at high tide!
the Rona lighthouse has warned ships at sea in the hazardous waters that stretch uninterrupted to the North Pole from the island’s northern extreme northern extreme, although the first Rona light was provided by a widow named Janet Mackenzie in the mid 1800s. For many years she burnt a light in the window of her cottage on the shore at Big Harbour after the death of her husband at sea in the treacherous local waters.
..it’s the remote beauty of the island that has spawned much local legend and myth, from the story of a Danish Princess’ grave said to be sited here, to smugglers with contraband of moonshine distilled in ‘the house of the black pot’ and harboured in a hidden cove – Acarseid Fhalaich – or the Hiding Haven.
Whether the sea, nature or history fascinates you, the island is just waiting to be explored, each & every visitor contributing to Rona’s story…