SAS Who Dares Wins Returns To Raasay!

After two very successful SAS: Who Dares Wins seasons last year which saw contestants fighting for their survival right here on the Isle of Raasay, we were thrilled to welcome Minnow Films back again to film season 6 last autumn. As it had been in 2019, Raasay House was again used by the film crew as the main hub where meetings could take place, equipment could be charged and looked after, meals could be eaten and where the crew could unwind and recharge when some downtime came around.

Covid Free “Bubble”

As with many businesses, 2020 was a very difficult year for us. With around 85% of our usual revenue gone we were delighted when Minnow Films contacted us once again about bringing SAS Who Dares Wins back to the island and to Raasay House Hotel. Raasay House had been closed since March and we had chosen to remain closed even after the July opening of hotels came around. With a largely elderly population and limited medical access we just couldn’t risk bringing untested guests into our small island community. We decided to remain closed and to cancel any bookings we had. When SAS Who Dares Wins enquired to book it was on the basis that they had a rigorous Covid prevention policy in place managed by their private medical team. This was the perfect break we had been waiting for amid a desperate year for the business. Knowing that all crew members would be Covid free and could exist in a special covid free bubble with our staff for the duration of filming was a very reassuring prospect. Our own staff team had to be tested and then go into isolation, some even isolating away from their families and then staying away from home in the bubble for the duration of the shoot. This significant booking allowed us to end the year on a happier note and in a better position to face what 2021 would bring. Thank goodness considering that our planned opening in February is only happening now….in the latter half of May!

The bubble system which covered our team, the crew and recruits protected our island community and allowed us to offer a relaxed and informal place for the crew to feel at home away from home. The crews were shooting 24 hours a day in challenging conditions and it was wonderful to be able to provide a base where they could recharge their batteries.

Spanner in the works

Just after the film crew arrived and started to settle in we heard the news that hotel pubs and hotels in our area were to become subject to a 10 pm curfew. This was a concern for us because crew members working long shifts and finishing at odd hours still needed to take dinner and refreshments sometimes late at night. We knew that our special situation was nothing like the usual situation serving the general public so we felt we should be exempt.

We contacted our local licencing office and outlined our rather unique situation. Yes, we have licensed premises, but all of our guests and staff were in a covid tested bubble, essentially making them the same household, we couldn’t see how the rules for public opening should apply. Our local licensing office was very helpful and put us in touch with a fantastic solicitor from TLT solicitors who agreed to look at our situation straight away. We began working with him to present our situation to the Scottish government, which was that the hotel was only in use for this one private group as accommodation and a workplace canteen. During this time while gathering our information for an exemption for the 10 pm rule another more serious spanner was thrown into the works, all licensed premises must close at 6 pm. This would mean crew wanting to come back for dinner after 6 pm would have to sit outside or in their rooms to eat a takeaway, not ideal after being out in the West Highland October weather for 12 hours. Our solicitor gathered details of our Covid free bubble, risk assessments and many other documents and presented our case to the powers that be. We were over the moon when we heard that the exemption had been granted and that we would receive a letter allowing us to cater properly for the crew.

Raasay House SAS Who Dares Wins Safety Boat

For the crew it’s real physical work, hiking up and down barely accessible escarpments, lugging heavy cameras and other equipment around, standing in a dry suit in the sea filming whilst getting blasted on the face with ice-cold waves, getting absolutely drenched and blasted by the highland winds at practically all times. When you see the recruits on the show going through hell, spare a thought for the team behind the scenes who definitely deserve some high praise as well. We had a little taste ourselves of what this kind of work involves while providing extra safety support in our RIB.

As we had done in 2019, we provided an extra boat for some of the sea and beach activities in 2020. With a show like SAS WDW where you have the most challenging locations, conditions and activities, the amount of behind the scenes preparation and safety support is huge. We were working extremely close to the action carrying the dedicated medics from ‘Remote Trauma’ while they closely monitored the safety of the crew and recruits. Despite the long hours, waiting around, wet and cold conditions this was such a great experience for us. Imagine bobbing around in a RIB with all the action going on around you! Very cool indeed!

TV and Film in the time of Covid

The fact that so many films and TV shows have been able to keep filming during the pandemic is largely due to these bubble systems where the crew are tested and isolated and then can work together freely during the shoot. Our location coupled with the fact that you can have exclusive use of Raasay House does make us a great option for TV and Film clients, even more so since Covid. We have seen an increased level of enquiry from this type of client and we hope that this trend continues. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Minnow Films these past 2 years. Lots of fun moments like the one captured in the main image above. This was the moment when our founding director, Lyn, introduced the DS to a couple of her favourite swords! Yes there’s never a dull moment here, that’s for sure!

No Spoilers

Unfortunately, we can’t give you any tips on what happens in this series but do we hope that you are as excited as we are to see Raasay back on our TV screens for the second year in a row.

You can watch the first episode of SAS: Who Dares Wins (Location Raasay & Skye) on Channel 4 at 21:00 tonight.

Family Outdoor Activity Holiday

On our all-inclusive family outdoor activity holidays, you will stay in your choice of family accommodation, enjoy fabulous food, take part in a mixture of outdoor activities and enjoy some free time to explore or relax at your own pace. Our all-inclusive package is the easiest and most cost-effective way to enjoy a range of activities and our excellent hospitality.

outdoor activity holiday raasay skye hotel family

What’s included in every Family Outdoor Activity Holiday?

  • 5 Nights Accommodation
  • 5 Delicious breakfasts with continental and cooked dishes
  • 4 Lunches from our day menu which has dishes such as soups, toasted flatbreads, salads etc.
  • 5 Delicious evening meals (2 courses included)
  • All instruction, equipment and transportation on the island for the activity program booked.

Exclusions: The packages do not include drinks, ice creams, sweets or other extra refreshments but these are available and you can charge these to your room if you wish.

Activity Holiday Package Options

Our activity holidays come in 2 difference packages based on the ages of the children in your party. The examples below include the actual activities included but the schedule is a sample only. The final schedule for your 5 days will be set out in the week before your arrival.

The “OTTERS” Program – Full Board with 5 Activity Sessions for Families with children aged 6 to 11 (adults and children 6 or over can do this one)

Day 1
Afternoon Arrival
Day 2
AM Loch Kayaking Family Games Session
PM Traditional Sailing aboard our Hebridean Fishing Boat, creels, line fishing
Day 3
AM Rock Climbing/abseiling – exploring the beautiful north end of the island
PM Wildlife Spotting RIB Trip
Day 4
AM Free Time – maybe take a day trip to Skye or Climb Dun Caan on Raasay
PM Free Time – maybe hire bikes and explore Raasay even further – a trip to Hallaig would be lovely.
Day 5
AM Archery & Crate Climbing
PM Free Time
Day 6
Depart After Breakfast

The “EAGLES” Program – Full Board with 6 Activity Sessions for Families with children aged 12 and over (adults and children 12 or over can do this one)

Day 1
Afternoon Arrival
Day 2
AM Sea Kayaking
PM Traditional Sailing aboard our Hebridean Fishing Boat, creels, line fishing
Day 3
AM Free Time
PM Wildlife Spotting RIB Trip
Day 4
AM Rock Climbing/abseiling – exploring the beautiful north end of the island
PM Rock Climbing/abseiling – exploring the beautiful north end of the island
Day 5
AM Coasteering or Sea Kaykaking
PM Free Time
Day 6
Depart After Breakfast

My children are different age brackets, what package should I book?

boat trips outdoor activity holiday raasay skye hotel family

You need to book the package which fits the youngest child’s age.

Example Family A
Family of 3: one adult, one seven year old and one twelve year old.
Suitable packages: OTTER

Example Family B
Family of 4: two adults, one twelve year old, one fourteen year old
Suitable packages: EAGLE

What kind of room will my family be staying in?

You can book this kind of package for any type of room that we have.

Our rooms vary from Economy Family Rooms right up to Deluxe Family Rooms with 3, 4 and 5 bedded Classic Family Rooms in between.

What dates are these packages available?

We only sell these packages in our designated “Activity Weeks”, which in 2023 are:

  • Arrive April 4th – Depart April 9th *no longer available to book*
  • Arrive April 11th – Depart April 16th *no longer available to book*
  • Arrive July 25th – Depart July 30th
  • Arrive August 1st – Depart August 6th
  • Arrive August 8th – Depart August 13th

How do I book an All-Inclusive Family Activity Package?

You can book these packages easily through our booking page, just put in the dates of any of the designated “Activity Weeks” above, enter the right number of adults, children and infants and select the correct package from your chosen room in the search results.

What about deposits and cancellations?

We ask that you pay 50% At the time of booking, then pay 50% 8 weeks before arrival. If you cancel within 8 weeks of arrival your 50% deposit will be retained. Of course, we understand that these are uncertain times so if you can demonstrate that the cancellation is due to Coronavirus illness or restrictions then you will receive a full refund.

What dates are available for an All Inclusive Activity Holiday in 2023?

Our activity holidays are available 2 weeks in the Easter school holidays and a few weeks of the Summer holidays.

Please have a look at the availability calendar below to help you book for 2023. Please note that we are closed on Sundays so 6 nights is our maximum package.

Letter from Canada

Raasay photos from the 1900’s discovered in Canada

raasay house history

At Raasay House from time to time we receive interesting emails from people in places like Australia and Canada who have family roots here on Raasay. We recently received a slightly different email from a gentleman in Ontario, Canada who has come across some Raasay House history following a house clearing. We found his email and the photos he sent quite interesting and have shared an excerpt from the gentleman’s email below along with the photographs he sent. Maybe there are some Cochranes out there that might have some information about the people in the photos.

Excerpt from the letter
“Some years ago, two old trunks were found in the attic of a house here in Sarnia. Being somewhat of a local historian, they were sent to me to determine if they held any historical information. One trunk contained negatives, mostly glass plate, but some early film and a few contact prints. The other trunk contained correspondence of the Cochrane family of the UK. Having determined they held no local content, the trunks and contents were given to me.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that a Cochrane descendant had previously lived in the house, but had since passed away leaving no local relatives. By looking at the negatives and reading some of the correspondence, I was able to determine that the family at one time (c1885-1906) owned a cattle ranch near Calgary, AB and they would travel back and forth between the ranch and the UK each year. Unfortunately, all the envelopes are missing, I presume taken for the stamps, so all I have to go on is the stationery the letters were written on.

So, I’ve been trying to match scanned images from the negatives to letters, but haven’t been having much success, however I was recently given the name of one of the houses – RAASAY HOUSE. So far, Raasay house is the only one still standing. I’m hoping that you might have a little history as to who owned/lived in the house from 1900-1910, the time frame of the majority of the negatives. I’m attaching scans of the negatives that I believe pertain to Raasay House, although I may have others that I have made the connection with.”

raasay house history hotel skye

Edward Herbert Wood

During that period 1900-1910  the house was owned by (Edward) Herbert Wood and his wife Mary Douglas Wood. Although Mr Wood was only 25 years old when he bought the Raasay estate, he was definitely not short of money being the heir to the Staffordshire Five Towns’ pottery fortune. Wood bought the house and the estate in 1876 from George Rainy who put up the infamous wall. Wood paid £65000 for the estate including the house which would be about £4 million today. Sadly, although he was said to have provided some employment to local men, Woods kept going with the existing policy of clearing inhabitants from the south and central part of Raasay to make way for deer and game. Residents who weren’t pushed up to the north end of Raasay and Rona were sent overseas.

“Mrs Wood’s Room” photographed by geography student Ian Button when the house was derelict in 1977

Following Mr Wood’s death it is rumoured that Mrs Wood, left on her own, moved into a small section of the house in the West Wing. In that wing there is a room with a big bay window which was supposedly her bedroom, we still refer to this room as “Mrs Wood’s Room”.

Here is a link to the timeline of the ownership for the Raasay estate.

You can see the Wood family as part of the house history here

Isle of Raasay visitors guide

A Natives guide to Raasay

Guest blog from islander Alastair McGowan

When you first arrive on Raasay it can become a daunting task to decide what to do, where to go, and what things are on. But never fear weary traveller as I, your friendly neighbourhood hero, am here to shine a light on everything that Raasay has to offer.

Check the ferry times

First things first you must make sure (I can’t highlight the importance of this enough) TO READ THE FERRY TIMETABLE. As there is nothing worse than paying hard earned money to experience the beauty Raasay has to offer but instead experiencing all that sleeping in your car at the ferry waiting room has to offer.

I don’t mean to come off condescending but you would be surprised by the number of times tourist miss the ferry, on weekdays and Saturday’s that isn’t so bad as there are plenty of sailings throughout the day and an extra later sailing on Saturday in the summer. But on Sundays, there are only three sailings.

Raasay House Hotel

As you first arrive on the island you will spot the Georgian mansion ‘Raasay House’. Once the seat of power for the MacLeod’s of Raasay, it is now a hotel and activity centre. This might be where many of you readers will be staying for their time on the island but even if it’s not I’d advise going to the house at some point in their stay. It has a wonderful selection of food, activities and also provides hired bikes and bus tours of the island. Their shop offers helpful tools for travellers such as the ‘Exploring Raasay’ guidebook by Nick Fairweather that gives advice, directions and the difficulty of the best walks on the island. Also sold is the book ‘Calum’s road’, written by Roger Hutchinson who lives on the island. The book tells the true story of Calum Macleod who over a period of 10 years constructed one mile and three-quarters of road by himself with little more than a wheelbarrow, shovel and pickaxe. He did this to fight against people having to move away from his home in the north end of the Island due to how isolated it was. It is a story of the power of human determination and of the love you can have for your home, there is now a cairn near Brochel castle on the island that gives recognition to Calum’s achievement. Raasay House also has the only restaurant and pub on the island so if you would like to end the night with a refreshing beverage, it’s the place to be.

Raasay Community Stores

A staple of the island is ‘Raasay Stores” the community run shop that offers an assortment of food, drinks and all different things a traveller would find useful. From Monday to Saturday the shop is open from 9 till 6.

Local Events

Just outside the shop is the community bulletin board that can tell you of anything exciting happening on the island. It could tell you of a range of events such as ceilidhs; The traditional Scottish dances that come with an insurance of music that forces you to your feet to dance and hoot to your heart’s content. And don’t be afraid to get involved if you don’t know the dances just ask a local to help you out, besides falling over and stepping on some toes is a part of the fun. So come along and have a taste of Scottish culture.

Island Art

If something more sophisticated takes your fancy why not visit Raasay’s art gallery, that houses a mixture of art from the gallery owner and a mixture of jewellery and ornaments from other artists. The owner summed up his art saying that ‘variety is the spice of life. I would get bored doing the same thing over and over again’. The shops opening times are 11am to 5.30pm from Tuesday to Saturdays from Easter to October, so why not come and see the mixture of art and enjoy a friendly conversation with the owner who in my short time talking to him had the obvious pouring out of him, that he had truly fallen in love with the island. And If it is jewellery you are after then a must do stop would be at the silver grasshopper jewellery shop, that sells lovely jewellery and other great gifts, that will be perfect mementoes of your visit to Raasay. The shop is open from 1-5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.

Beautiful Views

Raasay has an array of beautiful views, both of the island and of Skye that you can’t get anywhere else. It simply is a beautiful Island that never tires the eye. Each day you are on the island there won’t be a scenic sight that ever looks identical, there always seems to be slight changes or different perspectives that never fail to entice the eye. Now on an island such as this, it can be hard to know where to start or which places to pick, especially if you are on a tight schedule. So, I am going to recommend some of my favourite spots on the island that you should try to visit to get an Idea of the scenic sights that Raasay offers.

Temptation Hill

Raasay House Hotel

Now if time is of the essence for your stay on Raasay a good short walk is temptation hill. They are different paths you could take to reach temptation hill but if you are staying at Raasay house the quickest route is from the road behind Raasay House. If you follow it you will also go past the Raasay Pictish stone and not much further than that you will see a walking route sign post, next to a winding path that takes you up the fairly steep hill. Once you reach the top you will think that the hill couldn’t be more aptly named, as once you see the magnificent view of the sound Raasay and the curves, ridges and peaks of the Cuillins that dominate the skyline, you will be tempted to never leave the island. Also at the top of the hill is a memorial stone of a 19-year-old girl who died, the stone was placed on temptation hill as it was her favourite spot.

Miners Trial

If you have a few hours to spare then your options for walks are much more varied. Such as the miner’s trail. To get to this walk just follow the main road from the ferry terminal, turning right once you reach the farm steading continue on this road and you will pass the church then the road splits off, go left here walking on the road alongside the Forrest keep going on this road and you will walk over a bridge keep going straight on until you reach a large tower like structure that are the remains of the old mine railroad. There is a sign saying the miner’s trail next to the path that takes you onto the trail. The rest of the walk you will be able to handle without out directions. It is a beautiful walk, with lovely views of the Cuillin and displays the typical Highland image of Heather for miles to see and brooding tall Scots pine trees scattered throughout. The walk comes to its fruition when you reach the hill above the old ferry pier that opens up to a truly jaw dropping view of the Cuillins, with the remains of the of the old mining buildings all over the hill.


hallaig dun caan raasay skye

Another of my favourite spots on the island is Hallaig that is both one of the most beautiful spots on the Island and a place steeped in great tragedy and sorrow. From the parking place at ferns follow the path northwards, you will walk along a memorising view of the east-coast of Raasay, and will eventually come to a memorial cairn for the people of Hallaig and other cleared crafting townships. On this, you will find a poem by native and famous poet Sorley MacLean titled Hallaig. The poem talks about the damage and impact the clearances had. You can choose to end your walk here or carry on the path and be able to see the abandoned township of Hallaig. Throughout Raasay’s history, people had settled in Hallaig and one can only think that there could of still be people living there today if not for the highland clearances. Once housing 34 families, family’s who had been in Hallaig for generations, were forced to leave their home, many going on emigration ships in search of a better life now that Hallaig had been taking from them. By the time it was over Hallaig’s population had dropped from 127 to 6. There is an eerie sense as you walk, touch and see the abandoned township. All that is left of the centuries of lives people had in Hallaig is ruins. If you close your eyes and listen to the swishing of the wind on the grass, for the cras

hing of the sea on the shore, and calls of the birds soaring in the sky. If you take them away is a

ll that is left silence? Or can you faintly hear the sound of children playing in the bracken, the men tending to their croft, and the sound of a crackling fire in the hearth that keeps the family warm?

Dun Caan

dun caan raasay skye

Now we come to the best view on the island, the summit you will have seen on your journey to Raasay. The flat top the Island is known for, Dun Caan. There are two ways you can reach the highest point on the island. One being more difficult and longer while the other still being some distance is a much easier route and is the one I would recommend. Make sure to pick a clear day to climb Dun Caan otherwise you won’t get to appreciate it as best you could, make sure to bring warm clothes as even on a warm day it can still be quite chilly at the top. While it can take some time to reach the top you will hardly notice as you will be in a euphoric state seeing the fantastic views on the climb, and once you have reached the top of the basalt summit it will be near impossible to not fall in love with the island as you witness all the beauty that surrounds Raasay in one place. From the Cullins to Apple cross, you will have the views and perspectives of these places you could never get anywhere else. It floods your body with longing to try explore the rest of the world in an attempted to find anywhere that comes close to that beauty, and gives you a sense of awe that no matter what humanity creates, it will never come close to the beauty of the natural world. Well, it at least has that effect on me, but to find out for yourself you will have to make the climb.

And that brings this guide to an end. I hope it can be helpful to those that read it and are unsure on what to do on Raasay. Enjoy your time on the Island and get out and explore as that’s really the true wonder that Raasay offers, that you can go off the trail and path and find yourself in a place that can actually make you wonder if you could be the first person to be in this place for a very long time. It’s an Island that is perfect for feeding that sense of adventure and exploring in you. It’s an Island filled with beautiful views and friendly people. It’s an Island truly unlike any other.


Sachin Tendulkar visits Raasay House

Sachin Tendulka at raasay hotel
Sachin Tendulkar visits Raasay House

Special Guest

In the last few weeks we are honoured to have played host to the great cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Mr Tendulkar, from Mumbai, became the youngest ever Indian player to play county cricket at the age of 19, and is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen of all time. Now retired, Mr Tendulkar and his family enjoyed a relaxed stay at Raasay House, enjoying fabulous views of the Cuillin range from our balcony lounge.

Big Hit

Happy to pose for photographs on our balcony and chat to our hardworking staff, the famous batsman was a big hit with our team. The cricket legend was happily tweeting about his Scotland trip on his twitter account, where he has over 11 million followers!