Dun Caan

Sub 2000s: Dun Caan (Raasay)

Date walked: 12/08/2017

I had four days on Skye after the end of the course I'd gone for, and had originally intended to go straight up to Portree. But by the time I tried to book the hostel was full, and the suggested alternative was Raasay - and as I'd always had a notion to climb Dun Caan that seemed like a reasonable idea.

It wasn't a great place to stay - the dorm was a tip and smelt like a boy's changing room as well as being uncomfortably hot, because the window didn't open, and you could neither buy a hostel breakfast or make your own - but the setting did make up for quite a lot, although the weather was quite grey.

The morning was more cheerful, and I set off for the hill by way of the village shop and the Fearns road. Up to the right were great pillars which looked at first like they might be chimneys, but I believe are really the remains of a viaduct.

Tall towers

Round the corner the road climbs much more definitely, with just one lonely house beside it.

The road climbing

Just before the second bend the track called the Burma Road goes off, beside an old mine building.

Old mine building at the Burma Road

The Burma Road is a good solid track but just an out and back loop, and from its far point a very different kind of path climbs onto the hillside, just a little muddy line sometimes barely wide enough for walking single file!

The start of the path

Above the trees there was more space, but the path wasn't always much better - sometimes dry, but sometimes very wet. At first it climbed by the burn, but after a while it left it to climb by a fence.

Climbing by the fence

Looking back to Skye

The top of the rise enough me out into a flatter place with patches of almost lunar looking flat grey rocks.

A slightly lunar landscape

The path seemed to have vanished ahead, however, and a look at the map confused me, as it seemed to show that I should never have left the burn, and yet I'd always been following a clear line of path ahead of me. But a bit of looking around discovered the path running off to the right, following a small burn which presumably would lead me back to where I should be.

Following the burn

After a while I was even more confused, though, as I was definitely heading downhill, so I turned round again to look for a junction I'd missed - only to realise, as I got the promised glimpse of the summit, that I was now on the right path going the right way, however I'd got there...

A glimpse of the summit

This time, knowing where the path must run, I managed to find the continuation after an indistinct patch, and followed it on through a long flattish place with patches of grey rocks, until the summit finally came back into view before a stile, looking more impossible than ever. And I could see why the burn had misled me, as it was running very narrow and quiet and undercut where I'd met it again, and didn't look much like it had done earlier.

The summit in view

Loch na Mna appeared from nowhere not in front of me but beside me, but the path soon led down to join it - this time I managed to remember not to follow the clearer path onto the escarpment, but to look around for the fainter path leading along the loch side.

Loch na Mna

The escarpment towered quite impressively above, and as the path got rockier I found it slightly ominous, knowing that all the rocks I was clambering around must have come from up above me...

The escarpment

I forgot to remember not to turn off onto the next path, and took a rather wet detour up into the dip between the main summit and the little crags (surprisingly reminiscent of Arthur's Seat and Sailsbury Crags on a small scale), before remembering about carrying on to the next loch, and retracing my steps.

The next loch was over the watershed, draining north, and looked quite peaceful.

Loch na Meilich

Possibly not, though - I didn't go beyond the sign just in case, although I didn't see any dragons until two days later!


From alongside, the summit suddenly stops looking utterly impregnable and becomes quite possible - still fairly steep, but just a grass and rock slope with a zigzag path.


The dip containing the two lochs is quite striking from above - especially looking over Loch na Meilich, with no more of Raasay to be seen beyond it.

The view north

The summit is surprisingly broad and flat, and has one of those cut price highland trig points, although it's not quite the highest point, only the most accessible one. I visited two higher rock outcrops to make sure, although I didn't feel quite brave enough to stand on either in the wind.

Dun Caan summit

Even the trig point outcrop has a very dramatic drop on the other side, falling to the empty east side of the island and the site of Hallaig.

Sudden drop

I'd meant to go back the same way, but I knew I wasn't going to make the 2.30 ferry after all the detours, and everyone else I'd seen had come up over the escarpment, so I decided to try that way back, and ended up wishing I'd used it as a way up - definitely a much better path!

Good path down

From there it was only a long walk out along the road to the shortcut down the track and path to Oskaig, and on again to just have time for tea and cake before catching the 3.30 ferry back to Skye.

Following the road

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User avatar
Location: Edinburgh
Activity: Wanderer
Mountain: Eildon North Hill
Place: Tarbert Loch Fyne

Munros: 6
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 5
Donalds: 16
Wainwrights: 147
Hewitts: 82
Sub 2000: 15
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Borders Abbeys Way    St Cuthbert's Way   

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Trips: 9
Sub2000s: 3
Hewitts: 2
Wainwrights 8


Trips: 23
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1
Donalds: 5
Hewitts: 16
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 25
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 17
Wainwrights 38


Trips: 20
Munros: 2
Sub2000s: 3
Hewitts: 21
Wainwrights 40


Trips: 16
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 10
Wainwrights 11


Trips: 15
Distance: 90.5 km
Ascent: 395m
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 3
Hewitts: 8
Wainwrights 21


Trips: 2


Trips: 2

Joined: Jul 07, 2011
Last visited: Aug 19, 2017
Total posts: 686 | Search posts

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