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Rum Cuillin

3-5 October 2016
A bespoke trip to Rum, with the goal of traversing the Rum Cuillin. John was leading three intrepid girls ...

One of the things I like about my work is that I get to do different routes on quality hills, as everyone has their own aims and objectives, and they so often vary. On this trip to Rum, two of the guys, Cath and Sandy specifically wanted to do the Corbetts of Askival and Aishval, but one lady, Lesley, wanted a little more.

Rum Castle The forecast however suggested we may have to be careful on the ridges. 14c in the valley, 7c on the summit, but the run of Southerly gales due to a big high over Scandinavia meant gusting wind to 60mph, slowly abating to around 40. The crossing was rough enough, the boat not making its planned run to Canna, only stopping at Eigg and Rum once rather than twice, and I was very queezy, which lasted for days.

We set off late due to the forecast, hoping the wind would lessen. The path into the Coire Dubh continues to be improved, and we made good time up to the old dam, where we met some stalkers. Having told them of our plans so as not to disturb their quarry, the first variant to a 'normal' cuillin traverse was to skirt Hallival, as the ladies had already done it. This is easily done along the 570m contour. On making the bealach, we met some guys en route from Dibidil, who confirmed that we would have to be careful on the narrowing until the path onto Askival due to the gusts.

Scrambling on the Rum Cuillin I predicted that the wind wouldn't be as bad once on the flank of the hill - It was the bealachs and necks where it gusted. This was the case, and once on the devious 'path' that winds up Askival, it was fine. After some enjoyable easy scrambling, (which takes the mind off the wind and the upward toil), we popped out happily onto the summit, where again, the wind wasn't too bad. The views were typically Rum - Expansive and wonderful, the sea a silvery blue in the Autumn light.

The steep descent to the Bealach an Oir was easier than normal due to being so dry under foot, despite the gusty crosswind. At the bealach, Cath and Sandy cut off across towards the foot of Ainshval, whilst Lesley and me went up Trollval, hoping for a lessening in the wind. Although the gusts were ferocious on ascent, it wasn't as bad on top, and we scrambled the airy summit easily. Once we got back down to the others, it was the final ascent on the scree-ridden path onto Ainshval. I cut off a little before the top, as the scree wasn't popular, and we picked our way up virgin ground which again deposited us immediately at the summit. It was smiles all round as we took some summit pictures - Mission accomplished!

Views from Rum Cuillin The descent route was back across the head of Glen Dibidil, and then contouring the wonderfully atmospheric Atlantic Coire, which whilst a little rough, was not as difficult a traverse as it looked following deer trods. It felt like we were entering a valley full of dinosaurs not deer, the stag bellowing was so fierce and loud. We disturbed a large stag corralling his harem, with a challenger close by, and there was mayhem as he chased after his hinds which took flight. The challenger, quick to capitalise, seemed to slink off with a hind, so we may well have changed the course of Natural Selection!

We got to the Bealach Bairc-mheall at dusk, and made an easy descent back onto the Coire Dubh path, getting back to the bunkhouse by 19:30. The ladies sped down the new path, showing that even after 10hrs, they had plenty of energy left, and we were soon enjoying a glass of cider at the bunkhouse!

An excellent and enjoyable day, thank you ladies.

More photos by John are here on Flickr.



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