It was always our intention to go back to the small Isles off the western seaboard of Scotland after successfully bagging Eigg And Canna in Previous years.Also featured On This Blog June 2010 and August 2010 respectively. Alex Had never been to Rum,The Largest of this Island Group,I,d been twice.Once on a glorious camping trip over 25 years ago now when myself , JB and a keen Dutch guy who was part of an outdoor club we were in at that time walked the entire spine of the ridge,and stayed in the fabulous Guirdil Bothy sitting under the cliffs of Bloodstone Hill.It was a magical trip that still lives as a great if slightly hazy memory.(I think he was Dutch)
The second time about eight years later,again with a club,was a grim visit that is also remembered for different reasons.It rained non stop for the four days we were there.Some went up the now invisible,wind blown,cloud covered ,rain lashed ridge and came back with glum though very clean dripping faces.Myself and JB went to a couple of bothies ...Harris and Dibidil to pass the time and still got soaked at low level.It was utterly miserable,damp and cold and most folk seemed happy it ended.
Alex had spotted a weather window of a few days duration.He,d also phoned our man in Skye the day before, our old friend Alistair and asked him to look out his own weather window towards Rum.Nothing like local knowledge. No snow and sunny on the ridge was the answer.Hope you both sink you Jammy *********s. Have a good time.
On the morning in question, Monday it was a 3.30 am rise and Alex appeared over at my door by 500am.
I groaned a half awake greeting and shoved my mountain bike and rucksack into his car.We were off.
The usual amazing views opened up once out at sea.
I must admit with all the new signposts,facilities,range of accents and groups of tourists milling about the immediate area the village felt more English Lake district than Scottish west coast Island.It no longer seemed the remote outpost from 25 years ago.Obviously it has been discovered big time.
At under a thousand feet of ascent I was keen.It looked easy.
This proved to be a misconception.If there was any path up it we didn,t find it.The terrain underfoot was unbelievable,every second step a leg swallowing hole of scrotum damaging depth hidden under a thick blanket of tussock,heather or grass.On the plus side little Lizards seemed to love this hill,dozens of them scampering away at our laboured approach.Maybe they didn't get many visitors up here. We soldiered on upwards,cursing ,slipping and falling.The ground under this vegatation seemed to be either made of marbles or missing altogether.Crawling on hands and knees up the steeper sections proved to be the best way to move ahead sometimes without major damage.
The summit was more to my tastes.Minor rock escarpments at last giving us a solid platform to walk along and extensive views over to Skye,The Main Cullin Ridge and a fair chunk of the west coast mainland.
Going down proved easier and we soon reached level ground again where we bumped into these guys.
A good Introduction to Rum and even better would follow.......