Just back from Rum where I spent a couple of happy days searching out the bothies at Guirdil and Dibidil. Having decided that this year at least I wasn’t going to ‘do’ midges, I’ve been waiting on a weather window for the last few weeks, and was relieved that the Met Office had finally promised a wee ridge of high pressure. I had also in the meantime arranged to meet up with a woman called Lucy Conway who is setting up an exciting art project called Eigg Box. However, for some naive reason I thought there was some kind of straight forward integration between Scotrail and Calmac and didn’t look up the ferry times before I went. So I cheerfully pitched up in Mallaig at lunchtime a week last Wednesday only to find out the only sailing left at 10am. And when was the next ferry? Friday. Oh. Fortunately there were a couple of places I wanted to search out if I had had the time, so I puttered about for a day and a half before I was back on the quay, anxious to get going. Then I got talking to a group of singers, a camera man and sound recordist who were off to Canna to record some music evoking the calls of sea birds imitated in traditional Gaelic folksong (Air falbh leis na h-eion : Away with the birds). With my eye slightly off the ball I almost ended up going with the flow and tagging along. But the project had to take precedence. In fact, Lucy and a group of people from Eigg were going over on the Sunday for a informal performance, but the fiendishly complicated ferry timetable between the Small Isles scuppered any rescheduling on my part. So in fact I ended up in Guirdil on my lonesome that night, looking out to Canna across the Sound knowing where the party was that weekend.
Back in Kinloch, I decided to pitch my tent in the small campsite run by the Isle of Rum Community Trust which had a honesty box and a free supply of fire wood. It was a no brainer really, but did mean my excursion to Dibidil would just be a day trip. In fact I ended up walking back from the bothy over the hills, which was certainly pretty sporting in places, and would be quite a navigational challenge if the clouds were down. Back in the campsite I got talking to a couple who had been part of an organised wildlife tour to the island. I can see that on these trips there is an anecdote arms race about what people had seen. The highlight in their group was watching a golden eagle swooping down on some prey and then getting attacked in turn by a white tailed eagle. All I had to offer in return was that I was becoming an expert on crows and rooks, and had been followed for half an hour by some inquisitive wild horses. So it goes. However, the next morning I was rewarded by the most amazing sunrise, and then watched a school of porpoises in the bay while I had my breakfast.
Unfortunately a storm was brewing and the next days ferry was going to be cancelled, so my trip in Eigg had to be put off. I meet up with the Canna crew on the boat back to the mainland, who seems to have had a great time, and in the rush to get off the ferry I almost left my camera behind. Doh! I still had a couple of days left before my apex single was due so I went back to this secret little spot I’d found, and had a day trip to Peanmeanach. All in all a productive trip, and I have a mental note to go back to Dibidil with a bag of coal at some point, and have a couple days of contemplation with some whiskey.