The plan for starting our trip to Rum was a charter boat on the Tuesday night, but the weather put paid to that, so we had an impromptu night in Mallaig before catching the Wednesday ferry. Diederik, Floris, Angela and Hadwych from Holland wanted to explore the island and have a bothy night out, so after landing, we set out for Guirdil bothy on the NW side of the island. The track to Kilmory and Harris has been recently resurfaced, and makes for quick and easy walking, so we made good time, arriving at Guirdil around 18:30. We were to share it with many deer, and another walker, who also happened to be Dutch.
One of the other reasons for their trip was to hold yoga sessions in wild places, so I joined in for my first ever yoga experience with the sea lapping at the stones and the sun overhead. Idyllic, despite how much I struggled! We finished the evening with a fire and a nip of 'bothy tea' of course, as well as trying to toast some crumpets Diederik had bought. He had been eating them raw until I enlightened him on the delights of a crumpet and Lurpak, (which unfortunately we didn't have).
Thursday dawned clear and promised a cracking walk to Kilmory, and it didn't disappoint. We contoured over pathless terrain, up and down various re-entrants and the likes, often seeing the feral goats that share the island with the deer, as well as spotting the wreck of a French trawler that ran aground in 2011. The 14 men were winched off safely, but it must of been a scary experience on that wild and craggy coastline.
Kilmory bay hosts the deer study centre, run by Edinburgh University, and made 'famous' by the BBC Autumnwatch, and is quite beautiful, with extensive views to Skye and the Cuillins. It is teeming with deer, and we were lucky enough to bump into the main naturalist, who was happy to give us a quick tour of the old Edwardian wash house where they store the antlers for research. She was very informative, and buzzing with excitement, as the day after was the day the hinds would start to give birth. After us firing all sorts of questions at her, she went off to continue her work, whilst we went down to the beach for another yoga session. I enjoyed this one even more, and would really have revelled in the relaxation section, if it wasn't for the pesky sand flies spoiling things a little. Still, you can't have everything. The walk back to Kinloch was uneventful, and whilst easy on the new track, it did seem to drag a little, as tracks often do.
We were lucky as the tiny shop was due to open in 10 minutes as we arrived at Kinloch, and we were pleasantly surprised at how well stocked it was. A nice meal was prepared by the guys, and I was happy to accept the offer to dine. I was also invited to join in on a Dutch card game which involved trading fields of beans - If it sounds odd, it was! Really enjoyed it though, but I doubt I'll make a champion. The evening was rounded off checking for ticks, of which unfortunately Hadwych had a lot. She had left her fleece on the ground at one point, and picked up a lot of unwelcome hitch-hikers. I always carry my tick tool, so we soon despatched the wee blighters.
Friday's forecast was not as good, and was due to deteriorate significantly in the afternoon. The men and I set off for Hallival, intent on a leg stretch even if we knew the summit was unlikely, while the ladies stayed at the hostel for more yoga. Sure enough, as we got onto the ridge from Cnapan Breaca, the wind was gusting around 45mph and strengthening, and the rain was horizontal. We staggered on for a couple of 100 metres before deciding on a tactical retreat. To make it a circular walk at least, we rounded Point 411 on a reasonable path not marked on the OS map, and returned to Kinloch wet but happy.
I was due to leave on the late afternoon ferry, so after some more card playing and a meal, we parted company. A great trip, where we were spoiled with the weather and views. The yoga was fun, the new hostel is first rate, and the company was convivial. I think the guys learned a lot about hill walking in Scotland, and they saw it at its best, as well as when it's not. Dankjewel guys!
If you'd like us to organise a bespoke trip for you, then check out this page. We've an 'open' event on Rum at the end of August, have a look here if the above interests you.
More photos are up on a Flickr album