Rona has a rich and varied history to be explored during your visit, from those hardy families who lived here in the last century, reaching right back to early Christian times and beyond to Viking legend. Staying in the renovated cottages at Dry Harbour, you're immersed in the island’s heritage, walking the same paths as the generations who inhabited Rona and staying in the houses which formed part of the old settlement at Dry Harbour (Acarseid Thioram).
Amongst the ruins, the sense of history is palpable. 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 fully inhabited. Peaking in the 1880s at some 180 people, life became too difficult to sustain and the majority left in the 1920s to make an easier living elsewhere: from the warm comfort of the holiday cottages, you can only wonder at the resourcefulness of those who lived here trying to cultivate the land or braving the sea to make a living.
Church cave, a hollow in the east cliff of the island is a favourite place to visit whilst on Rona.
Looking out over the sea waters of the Inner Sound, the cave still houses the remnants of past congregations. Inside, rows of boulders are still arranged in the rows which served as pews, and a font encircled with stones is continually hollowed and refilled by water dripping on to the hard rock floor.
An Teampuill , the remains of a 14th century chapel is at the very south end of the island, overlooking Caol Rona, the narrow stretch of water between Rona and Raasay. Thought to be an early monks’ cell, the ruins are enclosed by a wall creating a tiny graveyard where the island’s only formal gravestone lies. Or walk far into the north–west corner of Rona, where a stone cairn above a sheltered bay is said to mark the burial site of a Danish Princess.