The first plan wasn’t the Isle of Rum but Hebridean St. Kilda. Unfortunately from the moment when I realized, boat trips there were named expeditions, that you have to book 3 days for a trip (from which only one will count for the journey because of ocean conditions) and the most important, that you have to be a damn rich person, I put in my head this quote from my very favourite “Atlas of remote islands”: St. Kilda – you don’t exist.
Sometimes when things are not going well, one may need a drink, so on a lovely Sunday morning we were looking at the map of Scotland and boom – an island called Rum! (And here I have to thank Fanny for helping me discover my pirate/corsair soul last year, showing me that there was really much more than the disgusting polish rum Seniorita).
So the decision was made, for the last weekend in Scotland we would head to absolute paradise. Isle of Rum.
How was it? Here are pictures and a part of the notes I took during these whole 2 weeks:
From Mallaig to Rum
We have 2 hours to repack our bags and leave things which we will not need. The car has to stay in a parking lot, it’s forbidden on the island. We are feeding seagulls and sparrows with food we didn’t eat and wondering whether Berbencula* would be starving. A quick look for the town and soon we are in the queue to the last but one ferry. A first line is boarding a big ship to Skye, our quite small one is next. Waiting, with around us 15 people and three 4×4 cars (why? Do they belong to some wildlife researchers?). Cruise is taking 1 hour 20 minutes. We are eating chips and drinking beer. Finally Yo doesn’t have to be a driver. My attention goes to 3 people: a lonely woman with a huge backpack and some mystery on the face, a black guy, who reminds me we haven’t seen any until now and one woman deep in the corner with no thrill, no nothing on her face, almost like she is dying from boredom. I am thinking we are all going for a life adventure, but with different expectations. Later I heard that the lonely woman escaped from the island with the first possible ferry. The guy became our friend and neighbor from the orange tent. The bored woman is running the only shop on the island – Rum shop, of course. And post office.
It sways a little on the boat. I notice windows are covered with something strange, it gives the funny impression that horizon is not a straight line and waves crush in a spiral shape. I stop looking in this direction because I am not so far from puking. But we can already see the coast. Almost there.
The ferry’s platform is not open completely, to touch the land you have to go through 10 cm of water and believe me, it’s not the right time and place for flip-flops. So I take off my shoes and socks while thinking Yeah! Just saved my zebra shoes. I didn’t know yet, that will be the last ‘funny like a clown’ moment for the next few hours.
Isle of Rum
Here we are. The campsite is like a marsh with high and thick grass. We try to find some spot to pitch the tent between 3 wooden cabins. No way. And heh actually I didn’t save my shoes. Slowly I’m getting mad, but later will be worse. Midges attacks**. A little farther we can see 3 tents. Whew, a great field for tents is just a few hundreds meters from here. We are passing a modern wooden building – bunkhouse, which for one minute was my dreams come true accomodation, but only in my mind. On the right side of the path we have OUR campsite. Everything is wild and wet. Really it’s not much better than around wooden cabins but we manage to find a spot just next to the path on a hillock – only this place is relatively dry. Midges attack more and more (those fuckers are worse than summer mosquitos in Mazury). I am wearing all my clothes, including hat and scarf on my face to protect all holes. I know it sounds horrible, but they want to get everywhere, even into eyes! I look like a ninja carrying sticks from the tent, which we are pitching at the speed of light. In silence and sometimes with mean comments. But as always at the end we give high five.
I have a beautiful plan for this afternoon: doing nothing. Chillaxation in front of the tent with view on the harbour, just rest a little after everyday wows in a past days. It’s never going to happen. I swear I have never felt so homeless before, running away from our mobile home just because of millions of one-millimeter creatures. We need some walk even if it is late afternoon. Direction: Northeast cape of the island. I am walking after Yo with wet, full of mud shoes. But this walk… it will never gonna happen either. Paths are wild and from time to time changing into brooks. We stop talking to eachother and I am seriously thinking to get the fuck away from this place. Suddenly we found another cabin on a small rocky beach, an observation point for otters and sealife. The whole island is like one big observatory for wildlife : that’s why an important activity here is scientist research. From this point we can not go farther, the path obviously ends here. Only bushes higher than me and trees covered by moss. Tension between us is going out of space and we just have to start to fight. I can’t imagine spending the last weekend here like that, but going back to mainland is also out of discussion. I am not that big pussy. We are sitting on the rocks without talking. I am hoping for some wind and rain, in my head one thought over and over again: why this island is so different than the previous 10. Why I can’t find myself here when I just had the most wonderful time as a camper. This weekend can not be that bad that it ruins everything which was before. It wasn’t. From the moment we opened the door of otters observatory my point of view changed 180 degrees.
What happened next will stay in my notebook, but what I can say is I was crying on return ferry, after all that I saw, who I met and what I did first time in my life.
*Berbencula was our spider. She lived under the side car mirror eating midges everyday. She travelled with us from the beginning and got the status of a family member.
**Midges – just check these pics
Ferrytale trip was our summer project through some Scottish islands. From South to North of Outer Hebrides (also known as Western Isles) , with a break on Skye to end up in Isle of Rum. 7 ferries, 12 islands, 750 miles by car and 11 spots for camping nights. Uncountable number of sheep, midges attacks and small rain, also a few unexpected golden hours.