Sunday, 21 October 2012

RUM

Rum is an island teeming with life, on the land, in the air and in the water. The island was made into a national nature reserve in 1957, ensuring a safe environment for the red deer, wild goats and ponies that roam the land, the golden eagles and sea eagles soaring through the sky and the grey and common seals frolicking offshore. There are also otters: you may spot one if you follow the signposted nature trail along the shore of Loch Scresort. Out at sea huge numbers of Manx shearwaters gather on summer evenings; they rear their young in nests on the mountains. The animal population vastly outnumbers the human population, which is barely more than twenty. Like Muck, Rum suffered a large-scale depopulation in the 1800s when almost all the inhabitants were evicted and shipped across to Newfoundland in Canada. Traces of human habitation on the island go back to Mesolithic times, with some of the earliest such evidence of human occupation in Scotland at a site near Kinloch.

The most imposing building on the island is Kinloch Castle, a rust-red Victorian mansion built for Sir George Bullough, a Lancashire textile tycoon who had bought the island. Tours are available of the main wing of the castle, and there is hostel-style accommodation in part of the premises, along with a bistro and bar. Outdoor activities on the island include summer boat trips, canoeing and kayaking, cycling and fishing.

Map of the island.




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