All set for the Isle of Rum

by backpackingbongos

A big pile of kit and food is siting on the floor of the spare room, looking surprisingly much larger than the rucksack for which it is intended.

On Friday morning Richard and myself start the two day journey up to the Isle of Rum.  We are getting the train to Glasgow where we will meet up with fellow blogger Peter Edwards from Writes of Way.  After a night in Glasgow it will then be an eleven hour journey to Rum itself.  There is currently one ferry a week which connects with the Glasgow / Mallaig train.  This ferry will take five hours to reach Rum, sailing via Eigg, Muck and Canna.  Lets hope that it is a nice calm crossing!

It will be dark when we disembark and we will walk over to the campsite to pitch for the night, hopefully waking the next morning to sunshine warming the tents.  The plan is then to spend five days / four nights exploring the wild mountains and rugged coastline, staying in bothies or possibly wild camping.  The plans at the moment are rough as what we actually get up to will be weather dependent.  Fingers crossed an ascent of the Rum Cuillins will be on the cards, although the weather will need to be almost perfect for that.  They are definitely mountains to be taken seriously.  I am looking forward to a few days chilling out amongst stunning scenery with good company.

The only thing that is worrying me at the moment is my bloody knees.  A trip to a physio is definitely in order when I get back as they have not really improved much to be honest.  I am fine walking around on the flat and I probably did five miles without pain yesterday, walking between appointments at work and taking the dog for a walk.  Its going up and down hills which is the problem and Rum is not particularly flat!  I suppose at the very worst I will have to resign myself to becoming a bothy bum and watch sadly whilst the other two tackle the rough stuff.  Ibuleve gel, knee supports and Pacerpoles are essential bits of kit for me this time round.

I first spotted Rum when climbing An Sgurr on the Isle of Eigg last September.  Sitting across the Sound of Rum it looked like something out of the lost world, rugged mountains rising straight up from the sea.  A zoomed in photo taken from the summit:

Pete had a week-long trip there back in February and did some cracking posts on his blog which I keep on revisiting to get the anticipatory juices flowing.  My favourite being a circumnavigation (or should it be Circumperambulation?) of the Island which will be the rough basis of this trip.  You can read that post here.

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11 Comments to “All set for the Isle of Rum”

  1. The view of Canna and the outer Hebrides from Bloodstone hill is superb on a good day , indeed Guirdal bothy is by far superior to Dibidel which had a Rat Olympics competition when I was there.
    It may be best to continue to the ruined hunting lodge at Papadil.
    Although a very damp spot around there beyond the lake there is some walls and coastal grass which maybe suitable for camping.
    I found it impossible to continue around the coast to Harris from Papadil in bad weather but it may be worth it in superb weather – very very rough however.
    Good luck , its a magical place but could do with a major culling of the deer and wild goats on the island – I suppose a pack of wolfs is out of the question – inbreeding being a problem I suppose.

  2. There are wolves on Rum, Mr Cork Dork; they just keep a very low profile so as to avoid the inevitable media scrum/coach parties scenario. Happily, Dibidil was looking very ship-shape a few weeks back and no sign of the herds of rats you encountered. I do agree that Giurdil is the finer of the two bothies though, especially its location.

    James, glad to hear you’re already packed. I suppose i ought to think about what I’m going to forget to bring this time in advance! Sorry to hear about your knees giving you so much grief; you need to get along to a quack for some diagnostic – it could be one of a number of things that might not necessarily be to do with the joint or muscles. You need to sort it before your TGO challenge. Sorry to sound so bossy. If you’re having issues on Rum, i’m sure me and Rich can carry you along the Cuillin!

    Looking forward to the whole fandango immensely…

  3. coool. insanely jealous. have a blast. build up to the cuillins with little walks a bit at a time and you’ll come thru I’m sure

  4. @Peter
    Thats great , fantastic photos on our blog – it brought back memories , must try that route from Papadil to Harris the next time – I heard that Papidal lodge was destroyed to prevent poachers from Eigg using it ! – such a shame.
    Its a atmospheric (spooky) place Papidal.

  5. It looks like it will be a memorable trip indeed. The weather may well be on your side for a least part of the trip too. Have a great time and I look forward to your write up.

  6. James you must be a contender for the most imaginative blogger on my list, can’t wait to read about it when you get back. I really hope the weather is kind, I’ll keep my fingers crossedfor you.

    Have a great trip, Richard

  7. Hi Keith, its good to hear from you. I hope that the walk from papadil to Harris bay is not too difficult as we will probably be heading that way. I have heard that Papadil is a spooky place and people who have camped say it is haunted! looking forward to the bothies.

    See you tomorrow Pete, looking forward to it.

    I am going to take it easy to start with Dave, hopefully the knees will build up strength after a couple of days and let me tackle the rough stuff.

    Cheers Northernfall, fingers crossed that the weather is not too rough for us.

    Thanks alot Richard.

  8. Looking forward to seeing the write-up!

  9. That’s one hell of a journey when you’re unsure of your knees – better get some worthwhile walking done to justify it!.

  10. Have a great trip James!
    Rum is slowly working its way to the top of my list of places to visit so will look forward to reading about your adventure.
    Hope you manage to get up the Cullin, should be magic.

  11. Back now Fraser so it will be on its way in the next week or so!

    It was a journey and a half Geoff but a very splendid journey indeed. The Isle of Rum is simply magical, I think that you would love it.

    Thanks Paul, unfortunately I did not make it up the Cullins but did a grand slackpack around the Island staying in bothies and camping next to the sea. Magical.

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