There are three great ridge walks in Scotland on islands, arguably the three best ridge walks anywhere in the British Isles for their length and complexity. Knife edged Skye is first of course, then I,d pick Arran for its miles of sweeping granite and rocky tors, plus ease of access, then Rum a very close third.
By the time I,d had my breakfast (a tin of cold beans and sausage on a buttered roll...class act eh?) the sun was just starting to burst in the door of the tent.
I was happy with a bottle of coke and a lone heron in the distance.Alex surfaced at 6:00am and was ready to go at 7:00am after three cups of coffee and several of those little white sticks that he seems to prefer to food.Actually that's how most supermodels or actresses also start their day now I think of it, though he,s getting nowhere near my tent.
I gave him my back up camera and left him in good company...two fellow Corbett baggers, one of which put us to shame.He was older than us by the looks of him and had two plastic hip replacements.He gave me a cheery wave and together the three of them weaved upwards over steep scree.
This is one of them a quarter way up Ainshval. Hallival is in the distance.Most of the mountains of Rum have Norse names as they were islands well known to Viking raiders from the north. Trollabhal seems to have been made more Gaelic on my modern map for some reason. It was named after the Manx Shearwater who nest in old rabbit or puffin burrows over several summits here. 60,000 pairs or thereabouts each season.A bird of the open ocean ranging far out at sea they only land here to breed.They catch fish and sand eels on the surface or underwater but this has left them with a long streamlined body and small set back legs. Highly adapted to a life at sea they only land here at night. During the day predatory gulls and skuas would get them.They find it easier to slide across the grass to the burrows than walk upright. It was these night time gurgling's, whispers and cackles below brave but superstitious feet that convinced the Viking,s Trolls inhabited these lonely mountains hence the name.
I remembered near the top.It may not be the highest peak around but it's got an exposed and very airy ridge scramble to reach the summit. Back in the day I used to walk across stuff like this with something approaching style. Now a few years away from sixty it was all hands ,knees, bum and silent prayers to be good in future. I m definitely losing my head for heights as the years pass. Having only one trustworthy leg at present doesn't help.