Return to Rum – Bloodstone, Orval and Minishal. June 2016.

Date: Saturday-Sunday 25th-26th June 2016
Distance: 20 + 8.5km
Ascent: 1100m + 0m

After a 2 week camping holiday on the Hebrides and NW Highlands the working week rather sped by.

A bit of a mixed weekend on offer but we were keen to grab any opportunity. A reasonable Saturday looked well set up for a Small Isles visit, and with Rum unvisited for 2 years it was overdue a return.

MV Loch Nevis was out and away at 0730. The Armadale-Mallaig sevice was heading into Mallaig….MV Loch Bhrusda.

Loch Bhrusda:

The islands were a bit cloud-capped.

Eigg:

Rum:

A reasonable trip, only one dolphin pod sighted on the way, with many Manx Shearwaters around.

Arrived at Rum as the sun was starting to burn off the low cloud. Good to be back.

Kinloch heron:

We were in no hurry – we had a number of potential plans, none excessive, and intended to just go on a meander.

Orchid:

Kilmory/Harris track:

Saw a male hen harrier above us about 2km out of Kinloch – not something we’ve seen before on Rum. Too far away for a picture though.

Decided to head out to Bloodstone Hill via the Monadh Mhiltich track.

H on Monadh Mhiltich track:

Rum Cuillin clouded:

The insects are enjoying the weather – lots of snipe flies (usually seen May-June and while they love to perch on you they don’t bite). Happily these have a limited overlap time-wise with clegs which saves my conscience from too much collateral damage.

Snipe fly (non-biting):

A number of damselfly and dragonfly species.

Red damselfly:

Unfortunately also a fine year for clegs (from a cleg viewpoint). A lot of the little horrors around. They do have the most astonishing eyes if you get a chance to look.

Cleg:

Over the pass with Fionchra and the path wends round the north side of Orval above Glen Guirdil. Canna was in the sun and Bloodstone seemed to be clearing.

Bloodstone Hill:

Glen Guirdil:

A decent path takes you round to Bealach a Dubh bhraigh.

Fionchra with Orval clouded:

Quite a few deer on Bealach a Dubh-bhraigh and on Bloodstone.

Red deer:

The sun was shining as we arrived at Bloodstone’s summit. Had some lunch and enjoyed the views. Actually we lay around and snoozed for about 2 hours.

Canna in sunshine:

Orval from Bloodstone Hill:

Basking in the baking heat:

The deer had much the same idea.

Red deer relaxing:

We pondered just pitching the tent, certainly tempting. I’d been keen to camp on Orval however, a little closer to the morning ferry (1030) and also we still need to make amends for our clagged previous Orval camp.

A last look around and then we headed back to Bealach Dubh-bhraigh.

Across to Skye:

Oigh-sgeir:

Headed back down the path before ascending the nose of Sron an t-Saighdeir from NM 323 996.

Orval from Bloodstone descent:

Skye Cuillin:

Orval from north:

The ridge is steep but mostly grass, a short boulder field near the summit. I’d been rather horrified to note that the wind was increasing and a localised area of cloud was building across Orval’s summit.

Rather reminiscent of our last camping visit.

Summit of Sron an t-Saighdeir:

Got a glimpse of a fairly clear Rum Cuillin from Sron an t-Saighdeir before we were dumped into cold, breezy clag.

Headed up to Orval’s summit but the views had gone. Carried on down along the cliffline to the bealach with Fionchra which got us back out of the cloud.

Reconvened the camping committee and decided to head across to Minishal – one of the few prominences on Rum we’d not visited. Picked up water from the stream near the bealach between Fionchra and Minishal and headed to Minishal’s top to find a pitch.

Stuck the tent down with a view of Canna and NW to the sunset.

Lochboisdale is now served from Mallaig rather than Oban – unusual to see a bigger Calmac ferry near the Small Isles.

Mallaig-Lochboisdale service and Bla Bheinn:

Settled in and had tea. A bit breezier than expected but some atmospheric views.

Roots of the Rum Cuillin:

The evening sailing from Kinloch to Mallaig departed at 0740.

Loch Nevis leaving Kinloch:

Kinloch from Minishal:

Cloud to the NW deprived us of a full sunset but the late evening was nice.

Orval and Fionchra from Minishal:

Scarp on Minishal:

Up at 0530 not expecting great weather. In actual fact the day started quite nicely with a little sunshine.

Scarp and Canna:

Rum Cuillin from Minishal:

Sgorishal from Minishal:

As we had breakfast the expected deterioration in weather was arriving from the west with Canna succumbing before us.

Canna clouding:

Went fairly overcast as we dropped back to the track and then and clagged in as we headed back.

Sgurr Eireagoraidh from Kinloch track:

The rain held off til 1000 by which time we were in Kinloch watching the shore life before catching the return ferry.

Eiders:

A rather wet ferry journey via Canna before arriving in Mallaig at 1430.

Always good to return to the Small Isles. Certainly not our best trip weather-wise but great to get back nonetheless.

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