After a long Covid imposed break, it was great to start the meets up again. And what a start. The club has quite a history with the Isle of Rum. If you look in the climbing guides, several new routes were put up by club members, in days of yore. There were no such adventures this time, but a fine weekend was had.
We went over on Friday and returned on Monday, just about enough time to relax into “island time”.
A select group of 7 met at the pier in Mallaig for a pleasantly smooth ferry crossing. Kinloch Castle at the head of the bay makes a spectacular welcome to the island. We stayed in the Rum Bunkhouse, and very comfortable it was too. The big glass doors let us see the poor campers fighting the midgies, while keeping us safe 😊. And the high ceiling in the sitting room gave excellent acoustics, for Ken’s wonderful fiddle playing. (Guess who wrote this article?)
The main expedition for the weekend was on Saturday. Inevitably, along the ridge. The weather was pretty average as we set off south from Kinloch, the clouds were sitting halfway up the hills. The way took us up the excellent path to the col between Barkeval & Hallival. The locals have been busy building memorials on this path, there’s lots to see and the time passed quickly. From the col, we took a left turn up Hallival. The clouds were gradually lifting as we climbed, and having the sea and the mainland in the background made for ever improving views. After descending from Hallaval, we started the real business of climbing Askival. This is a fantastic scramble. In places it looks a bit improbable, but there are cairns to mark the way, and the rock is always solid. It’s one of those hills where you’re climbing away until suddenly you bump your head on the cairn and that’s you at the top. The clouds had cleared by the time we got there, and we could see the whole magnificent ridge.
Another descent, followed by a tiresome traverse around the corrie, took us to the climb of Ainshval. More excellent scrambling took us to another fine, sudden summit. On the way back down, the party split. Some list focussed folk went up Tralaval, while others headed back to the bunkhouse. Once everyone was back safely, the whisky came out and the tales became more exaggerated!
The next day, people went off to do their own thing. Most went to Kilmory for a swim, but apparently the water was “too cold”. Derek found an unclimbed hill on one of his many lists. Alastair did a scramble on the south side of Barkeval, I think it was a 100m Grade 2 called Honeycomb Arete (?).
On the Monday, Calum and Fiona headed out along the coast on what they described on their return as “the worst walk ever”. Oh well! Lorna actually did go for a swim in the bay. The rest of us went for coffee and cake. And then we all got the ferry home, tired and happy.
Written by Ken Murray 🎻