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Rum Cuillin Traverse

Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:08 am

Route description: Rum Cuillin traverse

Corbetts included on this walk: Ainshval, Askival

Grahams included on this walk: Trallval

Date walked: 06/09/2014

Time taken: 11.12 hours

Distance: 24.2 km

Ascent: 2120m

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Looking out at Rum a fortnight ago from the top of Ben Resipol inspired me to get planning a visit. The bank holiday weekend looked like it was going to have perfect weather - in the first half of the week before the forecasts were predicting full sun and not more than "light air", whatever that is. So the plan was set - head up Friday after work, camp near Mallaig, get the first ferry on Saturday, climb the hills and meander back on the Sunday, stopping off for another Corbett or twa on the road home on Monday. What could go wrong :wink:

As the week progressed, the forecasts became more dire, with rain, cloud and strong winds on some. Hmmm. I was loth to give up on my plans and hoped that fortune would intervene with the sunshine. Things didn't start off well - was more than an hour and a half later than planned getting away from work. However the roads were remarkably free of traffic and we made good time up to the Sands of Monar, where I reckoned we could camp for the night. Allison enjoyed some fantastic views of the sinking sun over the Sound of Arisaig - I was too busy watching the road. We got to the beach before sunset and were able to enjoy a stroll along the beach in the sunset after pitching the tent. A breathless evening, which meant the midges were out in force, but still lovely, as an almost full moon rose and left a silver road on the sand. The night passed peacefully, only the knowledge of having to get up early to ensure we made the boat in time kept sound sleep at bay.

Sands of Monar
ImageP1030454 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030458 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030465 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up around 5.15 and packed the tent, getting to Mallaig well before 7, when even the ticket office was still closed. Chatted to a couple of guys who were going over to do the Corbetts, prior to finishing next weekend on Creag Uchdag. They provided good company on the boat and the time passed swiftly. Unfortunately the weather, which had been passable in Mallaig, showed every sign of worsening - low cloud hid the hills and rain started to wet the deck as we neared Rum. Damn! We almost didn't get onto the island at all - although the boat stops for 15 minutes before leaving for it's next small island, and we thought we could use some of this time to don waterproofs before leaving the vessel, the Captain was most vexed that we hadn't got off immediately we docked and for a moment I could see us heading back to Mallaig. We were brusquely waved off and headed off behind our new mates into Kinloch. Because they were not doing the full traverse, and also because they sounded like they were much quicker than us, we bade farewell at the castle. Never saw sight of them again :o

Boarding the Loch Nebhis
ImageP1030467 by 23weasels, on Flickr

And getting off at Rum
ImageP1030469 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our fellow Corbetteers
ImageP1030470 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Kinloch Cstle
ImageP1030473 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path to Coire Dubh follows the course of the Allt Slugain a Choilich, fairly boggy going in places, with occasional faults in the rock opening like chasms. We crossed at a tiny dam made of rocks and could see the rounded bowl of the coire itself. But not the hills above :( As we ascended Hellival, the first hill, the terrain became rockier, strewn with small boulders and scree. As we neared the top the boulders became bigger and loomed forebodingly out of the mist. There's a steep and awkward descent over what were slippy slabs and a fair bit of care was needed. As on many parts of the route, there are various paths and suggestions of paths going all across the place, so route finding in the mist is a bit of a challenge. We moved onto grassier terrain as we approached the first Corbett, Askival. We noticed many Manx Shearwater burrows - the birds having disappeared off to South America for the winter I guess. Didn't realise that the chicks can be eaten by deer on the island (for the calcium, apparently). There's a narrow grassy ridge that comes to the Askival Pinnacle - all we could see was a pointy set of rocks barring our way. Looked like great scrambling if you were minded and had the weather, but we took the airy bypass to the left and soon came to the jumble of large slabs and boulders that make up the summit area. Nothing too awkward here, but the rocks were slippy in the rain and care was needed. The cairn, of local stone, has a fine collection of mosses growing from it.

Path to Coire Dubh
ImageP1030475 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030476 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Into the coire bowl
ImageP1030480 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030485 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Hellaval
ImageP1030487 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030488 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Shearwater Burrows on Askival
ImageP1030489 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ridge to Askival
ImageP1030490 by 23weasels, on Flickr

...with Pinnicle
ImageP1030491 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards summit
ImageP1030493 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030494 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030495 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Askival
ImageP1030498 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next it was due west, down to the Bealach an Oir. Broad grassy slopes made for easy going and the clouds sometimes lifted enough to give brief views down to Eigg on our left. Trollval is the next on the route - steep grassy slopes initially then rocky boulders predominate. The summit cairn was understated - in fact Allison was looking around for it only to discover she was standing on top of it without realising! As we started to descend the rain came on heavily for a shortish burst, making descent more tricky. Couple of moments where we drifted off-route and came onto more challenging terrain, but took care to get back on track.

Down to Bealach an Oir
ImageP1030499 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up to Trollval
ImageP1030504 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030506 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Another rocky climb to Trollval
ImageP1030507 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mr Hitchcock was 'ere
ImageP1030508 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Massive cairn!
ImageP1030510 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Ainshval
ImageP1030511 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Rocky descent from Trollval
ImageP1030513 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next up is Ainshval - across the Bealach an Fhurain it loomed up imposingly surrounded by ash-grey scree which - with the wisps of clag blowing across it, could have been remnants of a dragon's lair. Up we trochled and met a steep narrow path heading across the shoulder to the summit. A brief glimpse of blue sky met us before being swallowed up again, and the wind blasting across the top was almost enough to knock me off my feet. We then set off along the ridge to the south lining the Nameless Coire and leading ultimately to Sgurr nan Gillean. It was too windy for any ridge walking heroics and I was increasingly irritated at the clag which kept obscuring my glasses lenses needing wiped off every few seconds. It was about 4.15 at this point and I briefly entertained the (lunatic) idea that if we pressed on we might get back to the ferry for the 7.15 sailing - I think this was motivated mostly by disappointment at the crap weather and lack of views. Anyway, as it turned out the descent from Sgurr nan Gillean was very steep and needed appropriate care, with large fissures in the rock opening up and needing traversed higher up. The sky was clearing and we enjoyed good views over to Eigg. Way beneath us I could make out the roof of Dibidil bothy. We left the WH route at the bottom of the steep slopes and followed the more northern of the two streams that led down to Dibidil.

View back to Trollval
ImageP1030515 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030517 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030518 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030519 by 23weasels, on Flickr

desolation of Smaug?
ImageP1030520 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030521 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Ainshval
ImageP1030523 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030524 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eigg from Sgurr nan Gillean
ImageP1030532 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030533 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Steep descent
ImageP1030534 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030535 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030536 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Dibidil bothy
ImageP1030538 by 23weasels, on Flickr

As we approached the bothy we spotted some boots out to dry. Inhabited, then. I planned to make our evening meal there then head back to Kinloch to camp somewhere - it looked about 8km and manageable in the time left, I thought. However I was aware that Allison was struggling with numerous aches and pains. We headed into the bothy and met Chris and Colin, a couple of guys up for a few days from Cambridge. They were very welcoming and the only inhabitants, so we decided to stay overnight in the bothy and head back in the morning - top decision as it turned out. The bothy was a peach- wood panelled walls, recently refurbished, well provided with furniture and a selection of reading material. We made tea, chatted to the two C's and had a generally good evening, admittedly without fire (no wood around here) or beer. Spent some time looking through the bothy visitors book. Seems quite a few folk come for up to a week's holiday, which is a bit weird - but it's Rum :roll: We did watch the sun drop and the moon rise, popping outside for photos every now and then before darkness fell and we turned in for the night. I didn't have an alarm clock with me, so didn't sleep too well, clockwatching to make sure we were up by 5.30. Colin had said it took them 3.5 hours to walk in from Kinloch, and the ferry departed at 11, so we wanted to be away early enough not to rush. We were also kept from slumbers by some sort of gnawing noise from up in the attic - sounded like a gigantic rat :crazy:

Sgurr nan Gillean
ImageP1030543 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030547 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030549 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030551 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030552 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030557 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Moon rise
ImageP1030564 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bothy log
ImageP1030566 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030569 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up and off in the morning by 6.15, just as it was getting light. A lovely morning in prospect, clouds lifting and showing us something of the hills we'd climbed the day before. Waterfalls punctuated our route and when we walked past Hellival it appeared that some giant had just chucked a whole packetful of giant boulders as if they were peanuts, scattered all over the land around Fearann Laimhrige. The moountains looked so good I almost wished we'd traversed back over the top of them, although my thighs were thankful that thought stayed in my head. Back in Kinloch in under 2.5 hours - we needn't have hurried, and spent the next wee while wandering around the village - lovely autumnal feel to it all. No-where was open, so no nice morning coffee and scone, but we did walk to the otter hide - they must have been hiding indeed, cos we saw not a one.

ImageP1030573 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030575 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Path to Kinloch
ImageP1030580 by 23weasels, on Flickr

One of many waterfalls
ImageP1030581 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030584 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030589 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030590 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030591 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030595 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Boulders abound
ImageP1030597 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030600 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Kinloch Bay
ImageP1030603 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030605 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030608 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Good representation of the route
ImageP1030611 by 23weasels, on Flickr

New bunkhouse - looks a fab place for a WH meet!
ImageP1030614 by 23weasels, on Flickr

...once it opens!
ImageP1030615 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To the hiding otters
ImageP1030619 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030620 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Brewed up in the ferry waiting room and headed back on board when the boat arrived on time, taking us over to Canna before returning to Mallaig mid-afternoon. It was probably too late to get a hill in (I'm sure on my own I'd have managed something) so we drove around the coastal road to Arasaig, stopping off for a pint in the Arisaig Hotel before ending up at Gorten Sands campsite - a wonderfully quiet little site that enabled us to pitch just beside the sea and enjoy the sound of waves lapping all night long. A great finish to the weekend.

Helleval & Askival from the boat
ImageP1030626 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030627 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030629 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Tip of Canna
ImageP1030633 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030635 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beach at Gorten Sands
ImageP1030637 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030639 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030640 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030643 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Last edited by weaselmaster on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:23 pm

Enjoyed that ...what a shame about the weather :? I spent 3 nights on Rum the week before you, and will definitely be returning to do the traverse. Looks a big walk mind!!! :shock:
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:54 pm

Great adventure yet again - fantastic photos and description. Rum looks like it packs a lot in to the smaller hills - no chance of getting bored there! Pity about the weather, though.
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:00 pm

Congratulations on your 100th Corbett! :clap: And well done for this trip in not so nice weather.
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:03 pm

Read now for the 2nd time really enjoyed this thanks.
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:43 pm

Nice one , look onto Dibidil from our Croft on Eigg and a view you never sicken of , yet to visit the hills and bothy although looked on them most of my life and can picture their shape in my sleep :D
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Re: Rum Cuillin Traverse

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:00 pm

good to see you got some decent weather :thumbup:
looked great, never been here before but would like to at some point - cheers :)
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