View Full Version : a long hike on Rum for 3 founds and 2 DNFs

3rd February 2013, 06:52 PM
A longer found log :lol: for (in the end) 3 caches (3 more was planned) on the Isle of Rum. I did the trip last June, when the Hebrides was the part of whole UK with the best weather for weeks.

Some weeks before my holidays started I got a Travelbug ("The unknown Sailor" http://coord.info/TB194Y0). This one wanted to be taken to the Isle of Rum. Ok, there are several caches on Rum and its possible to find them all on a walk around the Isle.

I found only a few reports about this walk and all of them have a lack of information for the part between Dibidil Bothy and Harris. Unfortunately, the new Cicerone Guide about Walks on the Small Isles is going to be published only after my holidays. Thanks to several lucky circumstances I was able to get the needed chapter directly from the publisher. (Many thanks to the persons whom made this possible, especially to Terry/Countrymatters).

The evening before I started the walk, I pitched my tent into Scottish soil for the first time, however, this was still in a private garden on Skye. On the next morning the chaos trip started. When packing all my stuff, I couldn't find my Swiss Army Knife, got one from my host, and my watch was missing. Then I missed the bus in Glasnakille, but had no need to walk because my host offered me a lift to the Elgol Jetty.
Because the Calmac Ferry Timetable is too complicated when your base is on Skye, I used the AquaXplorer as a shuttle to Rum. Our departure from Elgol was delayed as a crew member slipped and went over board when she tried to change from the RIB, also used as a shuttle, to the other boat.

No further incidents happened, except the sighting of a Minky whale, until we reached Rum and the old pier. I climbed up the steps, dropped off the lifejacket and waterproofs and headed to Kilchurn Castle and the hostel.
There I wanted to deposit a daypack with food for three days, a second cartridge and a pair of light trekking shoes. These shoes were needed as sometimes I've had problems with my other trekking shoes and big blisters.

Sadly, it was not possible to store the daypack in the hostel. The short story: They told me they are not a storage and I am not a guest. So I had to take everything with me.

Even though my backbag was full already I somehow managed to store everything, the shoes outside the bag. It took some time, it was a very warm and sunny day without wind and a lot of midges. I wear a longsleeve Icebreaker, a buff and a cap. Instead of repellent I used suncreme. It was a very sunny day.

As soon as the heavy backbag was on my shoulders and the hip belt was fixed, it was easy. I was ready to start the walk. Estimated time was 3 days until I would be back. Because of geocaches I wanted to find I decided to do the circular walk anti-clockwise so headed off to the rover track to Harris/Kilmory Bay.

First stop was at the rusty stone-crusher. Just a 2 miles walk and already problems with the shoes. I was lucky then that I didn't deposit the light shoes at the hostel, so I was able to change the shoes and the heavy ones were now sitting outside on the backbag.
I took the branch leading to Kilmory Bay and went to an old stone wall, less then one mile before the bay, in order to find the geocache. The walking conditions were perfect as it was dry weather. It was necessary to left the track for 120m. I used the gaiters, but not because of mud and bogholes, but because of ticks. I didn't find the cache but several ticks and with head down the backbag was too heavy and the midges around it made walking not funny. So I gave up. It was the second time that I had the cache Isle of Rum - Lost place (http://coord.info/GCYYP5) on my list, but this time I hadn't the spoiler pictures with me, I forgot them in my car :wacko:

I headed back to the forkbranch for the path to Glen Shellesder.
Second break. Checked for ticks and removed the gaiters. My back and lower legs were wet from sweating. Two years ago, I did a similar walk on Rum also because of geocaching :rolleyes:. It was rainy, it was misty, I was soaked from the rain. This time it was so different. The track was dry, only one puddle where a little spring crossed the track. The river glen was visible from the track but not the water, no burns run down the hill.

Kinloch Glen and Kinloch River
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_09.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_09.jp g)

I prepared the map, had a last look on it and started the path into the glen. It was a nice and easy walk. I saw some foot steps in dried mud. But the burn next to the path - or the burn which actually is the path - was dry. Reaching the bealach I had a beautiful view down the glen and to Canna.

http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_15.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_15.jp g)

I followed the path the most time downwards, just a few times upwards, down the glen. Less then 4 times (can't remember exactly) I had to leave the path because of some mud. It should be possible to walk trough the mud without problems, but the shoes were still clean.

it's boggy, maybe
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_16.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_16.jp g)

However, there was a problem: how would I get drinking water in these dry conditions? I had 2 litres with me, not enough for a day like this and especially not when wanted to cook a meal. That's absurd. It's Rum. The isle with lots of mud, burns, bogs and midges. But not this June.

I passed a small waterfall where the water was just dripping instead of falling into Glen Shellesder Burn.
Glen Shellesday Burn, 57.030N 6.398W, NG333018
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_22.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_22.jp g)
I hoped that Guirdil River would really be a river.

I finally reached the coast with dry shoes, clean trousers (without wearing gaiters) and enjoyed the view across the calm sea to Canna, Skye and the Outer Hebrides. What a nice day for a walk.

http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_25.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_25.jp g)

http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_26.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_26.jp g)

I crossed two burns (according to the map it should be waterfalls) and lost the path, if any path exists. Walked up the small hill for a better view and for the first time saw Guirdil Bay and the bothy not from a boat, but from land.

Guirdil Bay and bothy
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_29.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_29.jp g)

Walked down the grassy and sleep slope and searched for the cache there: "Isle of Rum - Guirdil Bay" - http://coord.info/GCYY18
I found the cache very closed to a small square of dried grass which is formed by using a spade. So there is a wee chance that the cache could be found by muggles.

Time for visiting the bothy and lunchbreak, so I passed the ruins and reached the bench in front of the bothy, 5 hours after my drop off at the pier and a 14,5km walk.
Before viewing the bothy I had to go to the loo. I knew there is no real loo and not even a bush. Doesn't matter. Just at this moment I heard steps. Perfect timing ... looked around: no other people but only 5metres away stood a deer and looked at me. NO. It' s one thing when your pet cat follows you to the loo to watching you, but a stag is DEFINITELY too much. It was a gentleman, ehm, a gentlestag, he walked around the corner to wait there. Thanks. (by the way: I'm a woman http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif )

http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_31.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_31.jp g)

Before I entered the bothy I had to figure out how to open the door. After a deep and bleeding scratch , I recognized that I had to turn the knob. Me and British locks (not only Scottish but also English ones), when will I learn to handle them without injuries and mistakes? Several of them are like puzzle D3 and higher :lol:

Nice cottage, but I didn't check the upper floor yet. A visit to the river to fill up the water bottle, thinking about a bath in the natural pool and eating some Mini-Salamis for lunch.

A look at the watch, one at the map, no problems with walking until now, still a lot of energy and one silly question: "Why not go further? Just up the glen to the bealach, further to the track and walk to Harris."

Glen Guirdil, looks nice and easy
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_35.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_35.jp g)

2 hours later I knew "Why not?"! Who was the bloke, who has uploaded a path to the OSM. THERE IS NO PATH. It's just Guirdil River. So I followed the path according to the map on my GPS and the river up the glen.
The first kilometre is not a problem, its nearly flat. Only the grass is high. But then heading to the fence, it is starting to get steep. High grass, near a burn, no wind. The midges are eating you. Funny, I wasn't short of breath, but the legs were exhausted and the Old Shielingsseemed far away. I needed short breaks after only a few steps, again and again. It was too late to turn around and go down again, not after all this way up the glen. Before I had left the fence to go further up I had emptied both water bottles. Then the midges kept me walking. They only disappeared when I reached the Old Shielings and the path to the Bloodstone Hill.

at the fence
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_37.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_37.jp g)

closer to the path, but still so far away
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_38.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_38.jp g)

Standing on the path and looking back the way I had walked up, I could see the ferry at Sound of Canna. This ferry was Plan B, in case that I wouldn't have got a place on the AquaXplorer. The ferry had still not arrived on Rum - but I was proudly standing at the upper end of Guirdil Bay!

CalmacFerry heading Canna harbour
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_42.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_42.jp g)

Still there were several meters in height until I could go downhill, but with a path below the feet it was much easier and even while walking the legs recovered.
But I was to tired to do the dertour to the cache 200m away from the path (Isle of Rum - Two Towers, http://coord.info/GCYYNX). I had enough pathless walking for today!

Unfortunately, I didn't found the spring marked in the map, when I reached the bealach.

What a view! The Skye Cuillins in a soft light, also Strathaird and Sleat.
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_45.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_45.jp g)
Somewhere down should be the track, but at the moment it was out of sight. The way down to the track was a mix of different qualities and widths, all together they were dry. No chance to refresh on a burn. I passed two burns with little water which looked quite dirty. At an old damm I could easily balance across a small brigde build by two steel beams and then I was again on the track. (mmh, what about a magnetic cache here :socool: )
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_48.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_48.jp g)
No sign marked the branch to the path to Bloodstone Hill and Glen Guirdil. It's easy to oversee the path.
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_49.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_49.jp g)

After several hundred meters there was a small waterfall next to the track. The first fresh water since Guirdil Bay. The water was running fast and I was too thirsty to wait for the chemical desinfection which would take 40 minutes. I had to climb a bit to get a good position to fill up the bottles.

http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_50.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_50.jp g)

Rum Cuillins
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_53.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120609_kinloch_harris/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120609_rum_kinloch_to_harris_53.jp g)

3Miles left until Harris Lodge. Somewhere on this way I search for the letterbox. I had 3 out of 4 informations, but with a little bit of math it was easy to figured out the coordinates. It was a great hide, but to many possibilities for me and my current condition. Walking along the track was easy, but I had problems. Not in my legs at first but in my shoulders. Pain in both upper arms when going forward to set the pole and a few minutes later I lost the feeling in my left hand and later in the right hand. It was the signal for the rest of the body, now also the hips where the belt was and then the legs were aching. I told myself to carry on, just 2,5km to Harris, 2km, 1,5km, come on, just around the curve and this last curve, across the bridge. Here we are: Harris Lodge! Dropped the poles and then the backbag on the stairs. It took me a few metres until I was able to walk straight and then over the meadow to look for a place to pitch the tent, plain and without poo from cows, deers and goats.

After 26,3km walking in less then 10,5hour (7h11min moving according to the GPS), I was too tired for go any further, to bother about the midges and also too tired to be hungry. No cooking, just a nougat bar, usually a favourite of mine, but that day I had to force myself to eat it. But it' s easier to eat then a cereal bar. And a cup of water mixed with a sachet of electrolyte.
It was a very dry day, but my trousers were damp and smelly. The Icebreaker Shirt was also damp, but not smelly.

On both my upper arms were bruises, but not where the straps from the backbag were. And blisters on both feet. Didn't recognize them until I saw them. But before I thought about the further walk, I had to sleep.

3rd February 2013, 06:53 PM
Wasn't easy to fall asleep because of the pain at the hips, in the legs, the blisters and no idea how to rest on the NeoAir. In the middle of the night I woke up when a cattle grazed closed to the tent. But it not touched the lines.
In the morning I listened to the sound of rain. It was just drizzle when I took a look outside. The hills where covered with clouds.
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_02.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_02.jp g)

not a real wild camp
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_04.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_04.jp g)

When I started I had two options: Papadil lodge and further to Dibidil bothy because of the cache there or back to Kinloch campsite.
I think about it, when I searched for the cache at Harris Lodge. But no success. I remembered the spoiler, but there were so many stones and none of them looks like the stone in my memory. So I gave up in the drizzle and cooked my breakfast. Eek, usually I like porridge but at this morning it was the same with the nougat the evening before. I had to force me to eat but I would need the calories.

It was then an easy choice where I go today. The drizzle stopped and started again every few seconds, low clouds and I was in a bad mood. So I followed the track up the hill to walk to Kinloch.
When I passed the coordinates for the letterbox again, I started a second search. Then I checked my calculation again and ... oops, correct the result and in the same moment I typed in the coordinates in my GPS device I found the cache :socool:
The drizzle stopped when I reached Malcoms Bridge, at the fork to Kilmory Bay I dropped off the rain jacket and waterproof trousers. It became a sticky day. It was bright, but the sun wasn't visible.

my first real campsite
http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_15.jp g (http://www.catwoomaen.de/images/phocagallery/2012_Summer_Skye/20120610_harris_kinloch/thumbs/phoca_thumb_l_20120610_rum_harris_to_kinloch_15.jp g)

On the way up the hill near Harris Lodge I lost again the feeling in my left hand for a while and still there was pain in the hips. So I decided to do only easy walks with a dayback in the next days on Rum. Until the midges arrived. It was a little bit of wind on the campsite, the midges were still there. The famous and notorouis Rum midge. The third time at this day I changed my plans: I will take the ferry to Canna on the next day. But Canna is another story http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/images/smilies/icon_cool.gif Before I left Rum I gone for the cache "Isle of Rum - Ghost town" - http://coord.info/GCYYRA
The cache is a traditionals since a few years, when the travelbug start its mission it was a multistage cache. It took 5 years longer then the owner expected to complete the mission.

So I walked more then 40 kilometers just to put a little plastic figure in a little plastic box :lol: It wouldn't happen when I had read all logs of "Ghost town" in August 2010 to get the corrected coordinates. But it wasn't possible at that time, so two years later I got the perfect chance to combined geocaching with my first trekking adventure :wub:

(in the very last days of 2012 I took a 37km walk for only 2 caches :cool: , a long found log exist, just waiting for proofreading ;) )

Simply Paul
23rd March 2013, 11:23 AM
Another wonderful, drama-filled story and your pictures bring back some great memories of my 2011 trip to Rum. I found all but one cache on the island - happily no DNFs after I replaced the lost one at Harris - and set one with the help of Scottish Natural Heritage too. Taking a bicycle really helped on the 'road' routes but as you say, the cross-country paths are pretty tough on foot. I was fine but my old school chum Phil who I'd dragged off to the wilds with me finished the trip pretty broken. Thanks very much for posting your adventure. I'm going back for a second read :)

P.S. If you get a chance, Canna, Muck and Eigg - especially Eigg - are well worth a visit too. They lack some of the mountains of Rum, but none of its remoteness, charm or challenges. Since my June 2011 visit they each have a letterbox cache to find too :D

23rd March 2013, 03:10 PM
There is a DNF at Harris. Maybe I didn't logged it, because I forgot to take the spoiler with me. The GPS reception was poor at the morning, when I had searched for the cache and to many possibilities there for hide a micro.

I found the letterbox on Canna as Second To Find. Great place when you tent is just a few hundreds meters away.

Eigg and Muck are also on my list. Maybe I could them this summer, but my dream is to do them on a sea kayak trip around the Small Isles. I start with sea kayaking last summer. But with my relocation to Scotland I have the chance to go out with a kayak on a regular basis and to get the experience which is need for such a trip.

On Eigg I was in Autumn during a trip with AquaXplorer from Elgol. Was not enough time to search for the letter box. But enough time to know that I have to come back. I want to visit the massacre cave, walking along the Singing Sands and "climbing up" An Sgurr.

Simply Paul
25th March 2013, 01:49 PM
Yes, Harris is a bit tricky. I'd have replaced the lost cache there with something a little bigger than a micro if I'd have had one with me. As it was, I was certain it had gone and with the owner not keeping his listings up to date, dropping a micro in the hole seemed the way forward. I think it's been found since your exhausting trip. I see you had some DNFs on an earlier trip too. Better luck (and better co-ords, from logs) when you go back, as I'm sure you will :)

Oh yes, sorry, you did say you were heading to Canna. Congratulations on your STF! (I should read logs more often) When I was there, on the first day it was blowing a wet gale so we set up tent behind the barn, sheltering from the wind and rain. It's a very spectacular spot for a rough campsite, on that little headland. The cache location was picked with care (and lack of time!) ;)

Muck is small, quiet... it feels like a farm on an island, which is exactly what it is. Eigg has more to see and do and you've picked out some of my favourite features on the island. There's a good rough campsite facing the quay, looking south, and if you don't take a sea kayak, I'd say it's worth taking a bicycle as it's a bit too big to walk around if you're in any sort of a hurry. Free to take on the CalMac ferry too.

Having done some sea kayaking off Guernsey in 2010, thanks to a local cacher bringing some along to the island's first meet which I held there, I can certainly see the appeal. I got a FTF, got very wet and had a brilliant time. If you do start doing more of this, I can recommend parking at/travelling to Mallaig by train (if the kayak will fit!) and going east along the coast to Inverie on Knoydart. A lot easier than walking in, I imagine! For cachers who don't know it as well as us, technically it's part of the mainland, but feels as much of an island as Rum or Eigg thanks to the lack of road inland. Really pretty, lots of wildlife (See Kirsten's other post, with some great photos), a welcoming pub with excellent food, cheap camping (with basic facilities) on Long Beach to the east... Now you're a 'local girl' I hope you'll make one of my June events some time (along the West coast again in 2015? I know you can't make it this year) as it would be nice to meet a fellow adventurous cacher :D

bobo frett
2nd April 2013, 10:50 AM
I have loved reading this Kirsten.
Many thanks :applause:

2nd April 2013, 08:11 PM
She's quite a woman when you meet her, too!