Isle of Rum
The island of Rum is the largest of the “Small Isles and measures 8 miles wide by just over 8 ½ miles long. It is very mountainous with Askival, the highest point of the island, reaching 2,659’above sea level. In fact three of the islands peaks exceed 2,500′: Askival, Ainshval and Sgurr nan Gillean.
The crossing to Rum takes 1 3/4 hours if we sail direct, or if we are calling by Eigg you get a half hour stop over there before continuing on to Rum which takes 1 hour and allows more time to look out for whales, dolphins, basking sharks & other marine /bird life. On arriving at Rum we land at the head of Loch Scresort and you will get your first glance of the imposing Kinloch Castle, about a 20 minute walk from the pier, and if you would like to take the tour it starts not long after we arrive.
For over a century, from 1845 until 1957, Rum was a private sporting estate. Kinloch Castle was built by wealthy industrialist George Bullough, who inherited Rum from his father. Work started in 1897 and continued for roughly three years with approximately 300 workers involved in its construction. No expense was spared, with the latest technology being implemented throughout the castle. It boasted central heating, double glazing, air conditioning and power showers! The lavish grounds included an orchard, Italian and rose gardens and heated turtle ponds. The Castle was furnished in full Edwardian splendour with numerous artefacts from around the world, many collected whilst he was touring on his 221-foot yacht, Rhouma. The ballroom was host to many lavish parties until the outbreak of war, after which the family and guests only visited for a short time during the summer months. Following George’s death in 1939, the Castle was rarely used and the grounds fell into disrepair. Nature Conservancy purchased the island in 1957 and Lady Bullough gifted the entire contents (with a few exceptions) to them. The island is mainly now used for botanical research and Red Deer studies, Rum is also host to a huge colony of Manx – Sheerwater’s approximation – 120,000!
If you wish to make the most of exploring the island rather than the castle there are various nature trails that you can follow including the Otter Hide Trail. Information about these can be found at the visitor centre which is a short walk from the pier and also has information on the geology and natural history of the island.
Bikes are also available for hire and these can be found beyond the castle at the Rum Craft shop which stocks a range of locally made soaps and gifts. Next you will come to the village hall which as well as offering further information about the island is host to the local Tea Room and the place to stop for lunch or to enjoy some home baking.
In 2010 the Rum Community Trust took over land and assets around the village of Kinloch for housing & local enterprises.