Rum again – lounging in Glen Shellesder. May 2013.

Date: Saturday-Sunday 18th-19th May 2013
Distance: 10km + 10km
Ascent: 300m + 300m

A rather poor looking forecast for May – a continuation of a pretty disappointing run of weekends through Scotland’s best wild-camp season (March-May).

Still – there was a hint that things might be better in the West and we had a couple of plans for lower level coastal camping.

In the end we decided on a return to Rum utilising the new Sunday sailing on the Loch Nevis to allow a weekend trip.

Arrived at 0650 in Mallaig and got a space in the sea-front car park, being ready to board the Loch Nevis at 0715.

A breezier crossing than our previous trips, with Eigg and Rum looking a bit grey:

Disembarked at 0850 and got the gear in the rucksacks (first ticks of the year noted crawling around).

As usual there was a posse of crooning Eider ducks in the loch at Kinloch.

The woods have leafed since our Easter trip and the floor was flowering with primrose and bluebell:

The new (temporary) hostel is nearly finished – hopefully the scene for a Shills Meet in May 2014.

Took the track out running west from Kinloch – a smooth landrover track.

Interesting view back to Mallaig:

As usual we still hadn’t really decided on our plan – we’d thought about looping the NW corner of Rum from Kinloch to Glen Shellesder, or perhaps go over Fionchra.

In the end we plonked for a walk west down Glen Shellesder.

The path from the main Kinloch track is a bit muddy and intermittent and progress was a bit slower. There are views of Fionchra and out to Canna.

We got to the foot of Glen Shellesder after a rather slow wander in a bit under 3 hours. The track to Guirdil bothy heads south but right at the foot of Glen Shellesder is a little green point whereupon an Iron Age fort used to be.

SNH – Rum Early people link

Monuments study images link

We decided to have a seat and watch the world go by for a while. The sun started to emerge and we decided just to stay put and enjoy the area, partly because my foot was feeling the effects of a walk to and from the Falls of Tarff in a day earlier in the month, but mainly because we fancied it.

A couple of hours sitting on the point were rewarded with an otter swimming by and an adult Sea Eagle flying over from Glen Guirdil and up Glen Shellesder.


We also had the rather strange sight of a red deer stag running down the hill and then swimming out to sea. He got about 300m offshore before turning back for the shore. A first for us.

Why move?

With a fair bit of sunshine we explored the beach – the area has an arch, the point has a sea tunnel running through it and there’s a cave with an Iron Age midden in it.

Tunnel from one end and t’other:


Also found bits of bigger fish on top of a few points – perhaps Sea Eagle food remnants. Possibly mackerel jaw?

Ideas on a postcard:

The sun gave way to cloud – we knew the forecast was for a chance of rain later on a strong wind. The Sea Eagle circled its way south over the channel with Canna again.

Pitched the tent on the old fort site – a great flat pitch with excellent soil. Nice to see the Allak stand up to a decent breeze with little flapping.

The rain moved in and we shifted indoors to cook tea and watch out the tent door.

Despite little exertion I was quite happy to doze off at 1930 – decent sleeping on a squally evening.

A quick look out into the rain at 0100 to see the Oigh-sgeir lighthouse and another out towards Barra.

Had planned on an 0500 alarm and a loitering breakfast – slept in til 0630 and a rather hastier breakfast and tent strike ensued. A grey morning.

I’d wanted to give us a good time-buffer for the return – you don’t want to miss the ferry. In the event we made good progress back to Kilmory Glen and had plenty of time to spare.

Sat on the bench at the Kinloch campsite and listened to the Eiders for 20 minutes before nipping to the pier to meet Loch Nevis at 1100.

The ferry returns to Mallaig via Canna. A nice wee cruise round the NW of Rum, the ferry was rather quiet.


A smashing unambitious trip – enjoyable to sit and absorb the atmosphere. Hopefully we’ll return to Rum again this year.


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