Coastal Plonking – Rum, Easter 2012 Part 2   12 comments

After the excitement of the previous day the weather took pity on us and gave us a grey and dreary day so we could have a lie in. After the usual routine of breakfast (I’m still struggling with the best backpacking breakfast – I hate muesli and now I’ve decided I hate granola as well) and a couple of brews eventually the inevitable calls of nature force you out of the tent.


Looking west


I know these as zawns (Cornish)

It wasn’t half bad so we went for a pre-lunch stroll along the coast to the north, taking in the Bullough family Mausoleum. It really is a very odd thing to find in a such a remote site but it’s quite atmospheric in a macabre sort of way.


Down among the dead men, women and children


Things you don't expect to find

The cliffs are superb but I was surprised not to see any nesting seabirds. Rum does have a large colony of Manx Shearwaters but they nest up on the slopes of Askival and Hallaval on the main ridge. As we walked the views opened out and we kept climbing enjoying vistas up the coast and back across Harris Bay.


Looking north

We thought we’d head up to find the little Loch Monica but it proved elusive until we realised we hadn’t climbed anything like as high ad we’d thought. We eventually found it nestling under some nice little crags and took a stroll along their edge before we decided to head down as the rain returned. We had at one time thought we could take a walk over Orval and down over Bloodstone Hill to camp near the bothy at Guirdil but as the weather was so unsettled and we had lovely pitch (with dry stuff in it!) we decided to stay put, but it would be a cracking stroll even if you just walked the coast as the terrain didn’t look too punishing.


Loch Monica

It proved to be the start of the worst spell of the weather of the weekend as it tipped it down for 4-5 hours so we had lunch and a little afternoon snooze.

Around 5ish the weather changed dramatically and the sun came out while the mountains were still swathed in streaming clouds.


The weather improves


Our home from home



We took in a long stroll in the other direction just enjoying the superb clear views and clambering around on the coastal rocks and multiple small headlands. This is an activity we’ve come to perfect over the years and termed “coastal plonking”. It normally involves scrambling very close to the water’s edge until someone gets wet (or in my case until someone steps on a rock that wasn’t there and falls on his hand resulting in a trip to casualty to have his hand stitched up but that’s another story)


Looking south


Ruinsival and the cliffs to the south

The light was just superb and I reeled off huge numbers of photos but it’s hard to catch the mood. In essence we were on a remote Scottish island with the whole bay (in fact what felt like the whole island) to ourselves.


Down by the waters edge


Harris Bay, Canna in the distance

Amazing how life’s little problems just melt away when you find yourself at one with the hills and you get a real perspective. I’ve been pretty busy at work the last couple of months and I often find it hard to leave it behind and unwind at home. Here it suddenly occurred to me I hadn’t thought about work since I landed in Glasgow. This is proper relaxation. One of my work colleagues is also a keen walker and he mentioned that he often “communes with the mountains” when he needs to think. I think we can all empathise with that view


Barkeval and the Abhainn Rangail


GM does the chores


Moody mountains


Ruinsival from the tent door

Time for tea (chilli and rice if you’re interested) before we decided we needed to light a fire on the beach which I’d been looking forward to all weekend. That’s for another post to come so for now here’s a little video slide show of the day’s coastal wanderings.


12 responses to “Coastal Plonking – Rum, Easter 2012 Part 2

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  1. That late afternoon sunlight looked gorgeous and you’re right that mausoleum looked very atmospheric.
    My favourite backpacking breakfast is a Mountain House porridge with raspberries – I’ve tried other porridge variations but keep coming back to that one.
    Like the music…


  2. I’ve been through a porridge phase before but I can only handle it with loads of sugar and then you have a major washing up exercise. What I really want is a full fried breakfast! Time to go back to my default of digestive biscuits with cheese I think.

    We were very lucky to get such a stunning afternoon after such a nasty afternoon. We had a cracking evening as well and the next day was pretty good as well, more Rum posts coming up

    Glad you enjoyed the vid and music.


  3. Bacon supernoodles are my breakfast of choice when backpacking. Harris bay is a superb spot to mooch about for a day, splendid isolation. I hope that you managed to get over Guirdil as it is even better. Look forward to finding out in the next post.


    • Indeed it was a splendid afternoon, I could mooch professionally especially on the coast. Afraid we didn’t manage Guirdil, we had to head back to the ferry the next day. I need a trip to walk the coast round to Guirdil and then aroud to Kilmory and Samhnan Insir which all look stunning. Noodles for breakfast has to be better than pigeon-loft scrapings 🙂


  4. ‘pigeon-loft scrapings’ is that the new breakfast by Mountain House?


    • I should be in marketing I reckon, make a fortune. Never ceases to amaze me, the number of bright, cheery, delicious sounding breakfast cereal names there are, and they are all the same, like eating the dust I sweep out of floor of my garage.

      Which kind of indicates that I have eaten the the dust I sweep out of floor of my garage. They were hard times then……


  5. Again great pictures, those marginal conditions bring out the best in the landscape. Some evenings are superb for mooching and pottering around, especially when the tent is up and you can relax.


    • Harris Bay is right up there with my favourite spots. just breathtaking and we were lucky we got to see it in fine weather on 2 out of the 3 evenings

      There’s no better way to spend an afternoon, just aimlessly poking about on the coast and then retiring to a cosy tent in the evening. I actually enjoy lying in a tent in the rain and just listening to it batter down of the roof, kind of soothing (in a hoping it will stop at some point kind of way) 🙂


  6. Like

  7. Must try some coastal plonking myself, looks like a fine way to spend the day.
    Some great photos there Andy, you’ve managed to catch the atmosphere brilliantly.
    Whets the appetite to get out there!


    • Hi Paul. Coastal Plonking is a fine way to spend some quality outdoor time when the weather rules out the tops. I like to think I’m a bit of an expert at it 🙂
      Rum has some wonderful coastline to explore and there is still more for me to see. Hoping to get over to Jura next Easter for more of the same


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