Dun Caan, Raasay

Dun Caan, Raasay

Route: Dun Caan, Raasay
Distance: 11.1m / 17.9km
Profile: View
Grade: Hard
Fitness: High
Time: 7-8 Hours (including ferry trip)
OS MAP: 24 & 32
Route Data: GPX KML
Riders: Dave Banks, Brian Gray
Date: 01/10/2016


Summary

A mixture of tarmac road, single track, rocky sections and some very boggy sections make this a hard, but rewarding mountain bike trek through interesting scenery.

High levels of fitness and decent skills are required, only due to the technical nature of the route. Be prepared to get wet and muddy and for a lot of bike and hike.

Raasay once had an iron ore mine, railway and kilns, the remains of which can be seen on this route.


Raasay Iron Ore Mine - 1912 - 1942

In May 1911 William Baird and Co Ltd, ironmasters of Coatbridge bought the Isle of Raasay Estate to mine for iron ore. In 1914 the First World War broke out, just as the mine was ready to go into full production.

Iron ore mined in Raasay was sent by boat to Ravenscraig for smelting and use in the British war effort. Men from Raasay worked at the mine, alongside 260 German prisoners of war who were sent to help.

After the end of the war, twelve of the former prisoners died of pneumonia in 1919 as a result of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

Some 250,000 tons of iron ore were mined before the mine was closed in 1942.

Below are some photographs of the iron ore mine when in production taken from British Geological Survey website, where additional old photos of Raasay can be found.

Note the armed soldier in photo six guarding the German prisoners.


Raasay Iron Ore Mine Photo Gallery




Details

Starting at the CalMac Ferry Terminal car park at Sconser, take the ferry to Raasay.

Once on board, enjoy the 25 minute trip to Clachan on the MV Hallaig the world's first hybrid ferry. From the ferry you can see the disused pier at Braemore which is the first point of call. When leaving the ferry terminal, take the road on the right up to Inverarish and at the farm with its impressive derelict clock tower, follow the road to the right. Continue on this road as it follows the coastline to the disused pier and ironworks at Braemore.

This was the original ferry terminal until the new ferry terminal at Churchton Bay was opened in 2010. The pier was also used to load iron ore onto ships from the now disused iron ore mine, the remnants of which can still be seen.

From the remnants of the kilns, take the path to Dun Caan which follows the line of the old railway to Glen Lodge over the moor. The path is rough and boggy in places, but as you climb, you get nice views of Raasay and Skye. At the end of the railway, there is the remains of an old winding engine house. As the open moor ends, you come across a deep gorge. The remains of the railway bridge over the gorge can be seen. There is no other option, you have to carry your bike down the steep slope and up the other side using the stone steps. There is a shallow water crossing at the bottom of the gorge which is easily managed.

From Glen Lodge, follow the grassy track until you reach Hallaig Road, continue across the road and onto the forest road past remnants of more mining buildings until you reach Inverarish Burn. Follow the burn via the path up through the trees and after about 100 metres you are back into open moor again. As you get higher, that grass gives way to heather. The path can be very boggy in places but as you climb, you get nice views of Skye. There is very little riding to be had, you are mostly pushing your bike for the next 2.5m/4km. The section approaching Loch na Mna is very boggy and the shore of Loch na Mna is particularly awkward, as the narrow path though the heather gives way to large boulders which you have no choice but to carry your bike over.

The path reappears after the loch, but it is just a line in the grass. Dun Caan can be seen looming over you on your right as you push your bike up the grassy slope. The grassy path eventually joins onto the main dirt path for the summit of Dun Cann. This path is rough, deeply rutted due to water erosion, and rocky. At this point we abandoned the bikes and made the final ascent of Dun Cann by foot. The summit provides nice views of Raasay and Skye.

Descending Dun Cann, we picked up the bikes and headed towards the beach at the head of Loch na Meillich. You can ride this section, but it isn't easy. There is one final section of pushing, up the steep rocky path from the beach to the top of the cliff.

Now comes the best part of the trip, the 1.5m/2.5km descent to the main road. The track, in places, is quite rough, rutted, rocky and very boggy, but with reasonable mountain biking skills, it is manageable and good fun. Just keep an eye on your speed so you don't get caught out as the descent is steeper than it looks in the video. On reaching Castle Road, turn left and follow this undulating road as it descends back to the ferry terminal at Clachan.


Photo Gallery

View over to Raasay from Sconser by Dave Banks Photography

MV Hallaig at Sconser by Dave Banks Photography

Departing Sconser by Dave Banks Photography

Departing Sconser by Dave Banks Photography

View over to Raasay from Sconser

 

MV Hallaig at Sconser

 

Departing Sconser

 

Departing Sconser

Disused Iron Works, Raasay by Dave Banks Photography

Narrows of Raasay and Skye by Dave Banks Photography

Narrows of Raasay and Skye by Dave Banks Photography

Approaching Clachan pier by Dave Banks Photography

Disused Iron Works, Raasay

 

Narrows of Raasay and Skye

 

Narrows of Raasay and Skye

 

Approaching Clachan pier

Skye from Raasay by Dave Banks Photography

Raasay House by
Dave Banks Photography

Follow the road
to the right here by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back to
the ferry terminal by Dave Banks Photography

Skye from Raasay

 

Raasay House

 

Follow the road to the right here

 

Looking back to the ferry terminal

Disused clock tower by Dave Banks Photography

Disused pier at
Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Follow this track to Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused clock tower

 

Disused pier at Braemore

 

Follow this track to Dun Caan

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

 

Disused iron works at Braemore

Looking up the disused railway to Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Looking down the disused railway to Braemore by Dave Banks Photography

Derelict winding engine house by Dave Banks Photography

Sconser ferry terminal by Dave Banks Photography

Looking up the disused railway to Dun Caan

 

Looking down the disused railway to Braemore

 

Derelict winding engine house

 

Sconser ferry terminal

Skye from the disused railway by Dave Banks Photography

Derelict winding engine house by Dave Banks Photography

Looking down the disused railway by Dave Banks Photography

Derelict winding engine house by Dave Banks Photography

Skye from the disused railway

 

Derelict winding engine house

 

Looking down the disused railway

 

Derelict winding engine house

Track from winding engine house towards Glen Lodge by Dave Banks Photography

Gorge and railway bridge remnants by Dave Banks Photography

Gorge and railway bridge remnants by Dave Banks Photography

Water crossing at bottom of gorge by Dave Banks Photography

Track from winding engine house towards Glen Lodge

 

Gorge and railway bridge remnants

 

Gorge and railway bridge remnants

 

Water crossing at bottom of gorge

Steep climb on stone staircase by Dave Banks Photography

The track ahead
towards Glen Lodge by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back across the gorge by Dave Banks Photography

Start of forest
road by Dave Banks Photography

Steep climb on stone staircase

 

The track ahead towards Glen Lodge

 

Looking back across the gorge

 

Start of forest road

Inverarish Burn
by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back as
Inverarish Burn enters forest by Dave Banks Photography

Open moorland ahead by Dave Banks Photography

The view back showing how boggy it is by Dave Banks Photography

Inverarish Burn

 

Looking back as Inverarish Burn enters forest

 

Open moorland ahead

 

The view back showing how boggy it is

Inverarish Burn
by Dave Banks Photography

The view back along the path by Dave Banks Photography

Route ahead through the heather by Dave Banks Photography

More boggy sections by Dave Banks Photography

Inverarish Burn

 

The view back along the path

 

Route ahead through the heather

 

More boggy sections

Dun Caan ahead by Dave Banks Photography

Fence crossing by Dave Banks Photography

The effects of peat errosion by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan ahead by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan ahead

 

Fence crossing

 

The effects of peat errosion

 

Dun Caan ahead

Unusual rock formation by Dave Banks Photography

Boggy path to Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Narrow path along Loch na Mna by Dave Banks Photography

Path disappears
by Dave Banks Photography

Unusual rock formation

 

Boggy path to Dun Caan

 

Narrow path along Loch na Mna

 

Path disappears

Path line in grass from Loch na Mna by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back to
Loch na Mna by Dave Banks Photography

Loch na Meilich
by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back to
Loch na Mna by Dave Banks Photography

Path line in grass from Loch na Mna

 

Looking back to Loch na Mna

 

Loch na Meilich

 

Looking back to Loch na Mna

Loch na Meilich
and Skye by Dave Banks Photography

Path up Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Path up Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan summit
by Dave Banks Photography

Loch na Meilich and Skye

 

Path up Dun Caan

 

Path up Dun Caan

 

Dun Caan summit

Dun Caan summit
by Dave Banks Photography

View from summit by Dave Banks Photography

View from summit by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan summit
by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan summit

 

View from summit

 

View from summit

 

Dun Caan summit

Final bit up pushing by Dave Banks Photography

Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Lochan at start
of descent by Dave Banks Photography

Path up Dun Caan by Dave Banks Photography

Final bit up pushing

 

Dun Caan

 

Lochan at start of descent

 

Path up Dun Caan

Castle Rd heading towards Clachan by Dave Banks Photography

Looking back Castle Rd by Dave Banks Photography

Mermaid at ferry terminal by Dave Banks Photography

Mermaid overlooking ferry terminal by Dave Banks Photography

Castle Rd heading towards Clachan

 

Looking back Castle Rd

 

Mermaid at ferry terminal

 

Mermaid overlooking ferry terminal

Churchton Bay by Dave Banks Photography

HV Hallaig approaching by Dave Banks Photography

Departing Raasay by Dave Banks Photography

Churchton Bay

 

HV Hallaig approaching

 

Departing Raasay

 



Video