Escape to the Isle of Rum

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I would never consider myself a hill walker, let alone a climber, so it was a pretty big deal for the boyfriend and I to take ourselves off to the Isle of Rum for a spot of hiking recently.

I didn’t know much about the island, and we’d been warned about both the midges and the likelihood of torrential rain, so packed as many waterproofs as we could manage. With these warnings the idea of camping wasn’t sounding so clever, but we were in for a very pleasant surprise and ended up with gorgeous sunshine (felt very smug when we got home) and the midges obviously didn’t think much of us either.

The peaks of Askival proved too much on this visit

From Mallaig, Rum can be reached by ferry in about two hours, and although you can make out the hills from the mainland, it’s not until you get closer that you see how rugged the landscape actually is. We’d planned to attempt to climb the largest of the mountains on the island, Askival (812m), but after the first couple of days walking/hiking we soon realised we needed to get fitter before we even considered it.

The island is a National Nature Reserve, part owned by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Isle of Rum Community Trust. Groups of geologists and climbers visit each year to research the landscape and tackle the Ridge, the series of mountain peaks around and including Askival.

There’s a handful of accommodation options too. I was a little wary of camping (not having done for the best part of 20 years) but fears were soon alleviated by the beautiful views.

Not a bad view to wake up to each morning

There’s also lots of wildlife too, from shearwaters and guillemots to red deer, sea eagles even wild ponies.

There was a whole herd of them galloping towards us

Rum is a real mix of history and tranquility. Find out more for yourself at the Isle of Rum website.

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Sheena Macrae

Sheena Macrae comes from Edinburgh and now lives in West Lothian. She enjoys travel (around Scotland and beyond), photography and arts and crafts.

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