There is always a sense of anticipation as the ferry approaches your island destination. Journeying to the Small Isles, and this trip to the Isle of Rum, especially so. The Loch Nevis ro-ro door clanked onto the slipway, and one vehicle was followed by a stream of walkers and cyclists who spilled onto the island. Most of the IMC party were staying at the modern, comfortable Community Trust bunkhouse at Kinloch. Fay and David, who had been there for a week, were camping nearby, as was Catherine.
Anne set off to spend the night in Guirdil bothy, and Michael set off on a similar trip over Barkeval, Ard Nev and Orval to Guirdil early the following morning. The rest of the party were more leisurely in their departure, with Marion and Peter heading for Barkeval and a group deciding to shelter from the strong South Easterly wind by approaching Askival and Ainshival via Atlantic Corrie rather than the Cuillin ridge. Surprisingly, the west ridge of Askival remained sheltered and the summit was calm while the wind roared below us. Only Cerian, who had a date with a Corbett in Knoydart the following day, made it on to Ainshval, again reporting calmer conditions the higher she progressed. The remaining two pairs made their way over to Harris to inspect the singularly incongruous Bullough Mausoleum. Steve and Terence even manged to get a lift back to Kinloch in a local crofter’s Land Rover. Drat!
Blue skies and sunshine continued the next day, but the wind strength was forecast to increase with Calmac announcing possible ferry cancellations. Several folk decided to head back to Mallaig. The rest of us had unfinished business on the island.
Ainshval was the unfinished business for a few of us, and Dougie, who had arrived on the Saturday ferry also had Askival in his sights. Again, our sheltered route through Atlantic Corrie to Bealach an Oir saw a straightforward ascent of Ainshval, and a we took a leisurely lunch back in the corrie while Dougie shot up and down Askival. Meanwhile, Terence and Kirsty took another look at Harris, descending from the Bealach an Fhuarain this time before making the long walk back across the island. Peter and Marion had a windswept day walking to Kilmory, coming back via Mullach Mor to the north of Loch Scresort. Michael returned from his perambulations on the west of the island.
The community on Rum is moving forward. The local community is progressively taking on ownership of the land and assets in and around Kinloch from SNH – who continue to own and manage the remainder of the island – and the development of the bunkhouse and pods on the campsite are first results. And Marine Harvest (now MOWI) are building accommodation in Kinloch to serve the 12 job offshore fish farm recently approved off the north of Rum.
Our long weekend barely scratched the surface of the hills, walks and exploration on Rum; an early return meet seems on the cards. Participants were Cerian, Kirsty R., Peter M., Marion, Steve, Terence, Michael, Dougie, Arthur, Anne, Catherine, Fay and David.