of Rum sits like a companion jewel to Skye, in the twinkling waters of
the Hebridean Sea. It is separated from Skye by the Sound of Skye and
like that fine island has its own Cuillin. The range of hills on Rum is
of course smaller than the Black Cuillin but in their own way they are
splendid hills, with their own nature, rock and wildlife!
walk takes in both Corbetts on the island and while mid-winter may not
be the best time to risk both the sea crossing and the hill climate, a
settled spell could provide an unexpected bonus. Additionally, the dreadful
midges and horse flies suffered here in summer will be absent. Stormy
weather could also arrange an unexpected extension to the trip.
is a National Nature Reserve, under the aegis of Scottish Natural Heritage.
Those hoping to access the hills must contact the chief warden on Rum
(The White House, Isle of Rum. Tel: 01687 462026). There are four sailings
per week of the CalMac boat from Mallaig to Loch Scresort (Tel: 01687
462403), and it is also possible to arrange other ferryboats from Mallaig
and in the summer, from Arisaig (Tel: 01687 450224). Visitors who would
like to stay overnight on Rum should pre-book the hostel, bothy or campsite
accommodation. For further information, please contact the Reserve Office
(Tel: 01687 462026).
camping at Loch Scresort, a bothy at Dibidil and self-catering and full
board at Kinloch Castle and in one or two homes on the island. There is
a small shop and post office in Kinloch. It may also be possible to arrange
bothy accommodation in Kinloch itself.
begins and ends at Kinloch, and takes in Hallival, Askival, Trallval and
Ainshval. There is the option of including Sgurr nan Gillean.
path through the grounds of Kinloch Castle and up into Coire Dubh, at
the head of which is the raspy gravel ground of the Bealach Bairc-mheall.
Go east then south east up the broad NW ridge of Hallival, which has a
steep and rocky finish (723m). The next peak, Askival, is very obvious
to the south. Descend the south ridge of Hallival, easily on grass after
several short rocky steps then above the col take the narrow north ridge
an obstacle on the ridge, the Askival Pinnacle. Either climb this steep
and narrow prow on the west side (difficult), or avoid it easily by a
traverse on the east side. The traverse leads to steep but easy rocks
below the summit (812m).
now descends the west ridge to reach the Bealach an Oir. Continue up the
east ridge of Trallval to gain its twin towers at the summit then make
a steep, rocky descent to the Bealach an Fhuarain. If scrambling is not
on your diet, from the Bealach an Oir a traverse can be made across grassy
slopes under the SE face of Trallval, reaching the same point as above.
a rocky buttress on the lower north ridge of Ainshval. Avoid this by making
a rising right traverse over scree and rocks to gain a level shoulder
on the ridge. The difficult scrambly bits ahead can be avoided by taking
a narrow path on the east side, climbing up and across the screes just
below the crest. With perhaps some relief the grassy summit of Ainshval
will then be reached.
can now decide to return to Kinloch via a return to the Bealach an Fhuarain
(taking the north ridge of Ainshval again), traversing to the Bealach
an Oir, and then making a long traverse north across the Atlantic Coire,
with the rocky west face of Askival high above. This takes one back to
the Bealach Bairc-mheall and the steady descent back to Kinloch.
if you wish to make a "grand slam" and take in Sgurr nan Gillean, partake
of more food and drink then from the summit of Ainshval take the easy
grassy ridge south to Sgurr nan Gillean. There are two interim summits
before the very fine viewpoint of Sgurr nan Gillean is reached.
to Kinloch, either go back to Ainshval, then take the return route described
above, or go south for some way to avoid cliffs on Gillean's east flank
before turning east to gain the track from Loch Papadil to Kinloch via
Dibidil Bothy. This path is frequently muddy and if you are fit and the
weather is clear the return over the hills and bealachs may be preferable.
Did I mention
the Manx Shearwater? These characters spend most of their lives at sea
and winter in the waters off Brazil but they migrate north in March to
breed in burrows on the upper slopes of Rum's highest hills. Just below
some of the summits you may see their small burrow entrances. They will
be away at sea fishing during the day, to return home as night falls,
bulletting in without hesitation to the precise burrow. Some burrows have
painted numbers on adjacent rocks but not by the Shearwaters! Much research
is carried out on Rum.
population of over 60,000 pairs is one of the largest breeding Manx Shearwater
colonies in the world. Also, if you are very lucky, you may spot a white-tailed
sea eagle. A project to reintroduce them to Scotland began here in 1975.
By the time it ended in 1985 a total of 82 young sea eagles from Norway
had been released from Rum and many are now breeding successfully in the
that visitors who would like to stay overnight on Rum should pre-book
the hostel, bothy or campsite accommodation. For further information,
please contact the Reserve Office (tel: 01687 462026). Finally, the guided
tour round Kinloch Castle is highly recommended.