Jim and I enjoyed climbing the Skye Cuillin Munros over the last few years, sometimes joined by his daughter Aileen. Now he has finished the Munros Jim is focusing on the Corbets (and potentially the Grahams as well!). The wonderful island of Rum has two Corbets and a Graham and these were the focus of our trip on Friday and Saturday. After so many years of looking west from Ben Nevis to the distinctive profile of Rum it was so nice to make the trip at last and experience the hills here.
If you get the ferries right, you can reach these three tops with just one night on the island. There is a very nice new hostel to stay at and a bothy on the south coast at Dibidil. The forecast was for dry weather though so we chose to bivi out at Beallach an Oir in between the hills. We got there after two and a half hour's walk from Kinloch with a neat traverse underneath Askival. With plenty of time left in the day we went up Askival with light bags and just missed the best of the view as a cloud stuck to the top as we got there! We were intrigued to see all the Manx Sheerwater burrows and lush green grass all around them. It all seemed quiet though so we were not sure if the birds were in residence at this time of year.
A few hours later, after a fine dinner and settling down for a dry and cold night, our question was answered. About 200,000 Manx Sheerwaters came in off the sea and started squabbling over whose burrow was whose. This was quite an experience and one that people travel from very far away to be part of. At first it was quite amazing to be in the middle of this cacophony of noise. After five hours of it I must admit the novelty had worn off a little! These are quite brilliant birds and it is well worth reading up on them and going to Rum to see them. You can play a sound track of the noise they make from this link!
Askival is a really nice hill that has steep sides and a couple of rocky steps but is not any where near as rocky as the Cuillin on Skye. On our second day, Jim, Aileen and I went up Trollval first which does have a short exposed section of simple scrambling and a few rocky steps to get down in the direction of Ainshval. The walk up Ainshval is steep but has a good path that is easy to follow and easy to climb as well. The clouds were playing with us and it seemed like they built up just as we reached the tops!
It did stay dry though and the wind was not too strong so we achieved our objectives with plenty of time to traverse back to the bivi col and back along and down to Kinloch. There is a nice wee community here where it seems everyone does a few different jobs. We booked ahead and enjoyed a fantastic meal in the village hall with huge portions of great food at a very reasonable price. The late ferry on a Saturday gave us plenty of time to enjoy being on Rum and to learn more about the wildlife on the island including the noisy birds that kept us awake all night! Rum is fantastic and if you have not been yet I can recommend it very highly!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.