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Introduction

Rum is the largest of the four Small Isles off the west coast Scotland. The spelling Rhum was used by the former owner, Sir George Bullough. It has a permanent population of about thirty, centred around the harbour at Kinloch on the east coast.

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Geography

Rùm is the largest of the Small Isles, with an area of 10,463 hectares. It had a population of only 22 in the 2001 census, making it one of the most sparsely populated of all Scottish islands. There is no indigenous population; the residents are a mixture of employees of Scottish Natural Heritage and their families, together with a number of researchers and a school teacher. There are a variety of small businesses on the island including accommodation providers, artists and crafters, three newly created crofts are being worked (as of 2012) with the introduction of sheep back to the island, along with pigs and poultry. Most of the residents live in the village of Kinloch, in the east of the island, which has no church or pub, but does have a village hall and a small primary school. It also has a shop and post office, which is run as a private business. There is a summer teashop open.

Kinloch is at the head of Loch Scresort, the main anchorage. Kilmory Bay lies to the north. It has a fine beach and the remains of a village, and has for some years served as the base for research into red deer (see below). The area is occasionally closed to visitors during the period of the deer rut in the autumn. The western point is the A'Bhrideanach peninsula, and to the southwest lie Wreck Bay, the cliffs of Sgorr Reidh and Harris Bay. The last is the site of the Bullough's mausoleum. The family decided the first version was inadequate and dynamited it. The second is in the incongruous style of a Greek temple. Papadil (Old Norse: "valley of the hermit") near the southern extremity has the ruins of a lodge built and then abandoned by the Bulloughs.

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Sights and Activities

  • Kinloch Castle, PH43 4RR (20 minute walk from the ferry terminal), ☎ +44 1687 462037. Tours daily in summer, starting between 13:30 and 14:30. Incredible late Victorian castle, built as the summer home of a Lancashire textile tycoon, Sir George Bullough. The construction required 300 men, at a total cost of £250,000. Unfortunately the building is in need of renovation, but the tour is interesting, particularly the orchestrion, the plumbing, and some of the things collected on travels. £9.
  • Harris Mausoleum (10 kilometres from Kinloch, along hill track). Greek style temple, in an impressive setting, overlooking the shore. Built for George Bullough, circa 1900, to inter his father, John. It now contains the tombs of John Bullough, George Bullough, and his wife, Monica.

Wildlife

A wide range of wildlife can be seen on the island, and in the surrounding seas. Rum is one of the worlds largest breeding colonies for Manx Shearwater. Every summer around 100,000 pairs of these birds nest in burrows, high up on the Rum Cuillin. The White-tailed eagle, the largest bird of prey in the UK, was reintroduced on Rum in the 1970s. They can be seen fishing around the coast. Golden eagles also nest on the island, they can be spotted soaring over the mountains. The Otter Hide (South side of Loch Scresort, 10 minutes walk from the ferry terminal) is a nice place to sit and look for wildlife, though the otters can be shy.

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Weather

As with the rest of the British Isles and Scotland, Rùm features a strongly maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Mean rainfall is high at 1,800 millimetres at the coast and 3,000 millimetres in the hills. Spring months are usually the driest and winter the wettest, but any month may receive the highest level of precipitation during the year.

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Getting There

By Boat

There are two scheduled boat services that connect Rum with the mainland. Both arrive and depart from the new Ferry Terminal, on the south side of Loch Scresort. The ferries are for foot passengers or bicycles only. Visitors are not allowed to take their car on the ferry, unless they have special permission.

  • The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Lochnevis sails to all four of the Small Isles from Mallaig throughout the year. It calls at Rum once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, twice on Thursday and once on Saturday during the winter; twice on Monday, twice on Wednesday, twice on Friday and twice on Saturday in the summer.
  • During the summer, Arisaig Marine provide wildlife sightseeing cruises from Arisaig, about 16 kilometres south of Mallaig. Different islands are called at on different days, but the timetable generally allows access to Rum on days when the CalMac ferry does not.

By Train

If not travelling to Mallaig or Arisaig by car, you can reach the ferries by scheduled ScotRail train service (although note that the pier at Arisaig is not as close to the railway as the pier at Mallaig).

The famous 'Deerstalker' Caledonian Sleeper provides first class (single cabin) and standard class (double cabin) sleeper and reclining seat travel between Fort William and London Euston every night except Saturday. Local trains connect to Mallaig.

If travelling by day train, travelling to Rum from anywhere further south than Fort William is only possible without an overnight stop in Mallaig on summer Saturdays, when the early morning train from Glasgow Queen Street station connects with the second CalMac sailing to Rum.

Travelling from Rum to points beyond Fort William by day train is likewise only possible on summer Saturdays, when the first CalMac sailing from Rum connects with the train to Fort William and Glasgow Queen Street.

By Bus

Shiel Bus operate services from Fort William to Arisaig and Mallaig. Citylink buses go from Fort William to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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Getting Around

You are not allowed to bring your car to Rum. So the easiest way to get around is by foot or bicycle.

It is about 1 kilometre or 20 minutes walk from the ferry pier, to Kinloch Castle and the main part of Kinloch village. Most of the facilities and accommodation are close together within the village.

A shuttle bus/taxi service meets the ferry arrivals, and can transport passengers and luggage to the village.

There is a track across the island, leading to Kilmory (8 kilometres) or Harris (10 kilometres). The track is a bit rough in places, and climbs up quite high. Suitable footwear and clothing is advised. It is also suitable for cycling, a mountain bike or sturdy touring bike is recommended.

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Drink

There are no pubs or bars on Rum. The castle bar closed years ago. The General Store sells a range of alcoholic drinks. It is open late some evenings, and has some outside seating. So it acts as a sort of bar.

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Rum Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:44 on Jul 6, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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