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Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rum

Rum (or Rùm) is the largest of the four Small Isles off the west coast Scotland. The spelling Rhum was used by the former owner, Sir George Bullough. It has a permanent population of about thirty, centred around the harbour at Kinloch on the east coast.


Inhabited since the eighth millennium BC, Rum has provided some of the earliest archaeological evidence of human occupation in Scotland. Under the changing ownership of various clans and lairds, the population grew to over 400 around the start of the nineteenth century but was cleared of its indigenous population in the first half of the nineteenth century. The island was then a sporting estate and the somewhat bizarre Kinloch Castle was constructed in 1900. Rum was purchased by the Nature Conservancy Council in 1957, and then passed into the ownership of Scottish Natural Heritage.

A summit, called in December 2007, initiated a process whereby islanders have subsequently voted in their majority to see part of the island pass into the ownership of the Isle of Rum Community Trust. The area around Kinloch Village is now owned by the trust, with the intention for residents to have greater control and input into the development of the island and its resources, similar to the situation on Eigg. The rest of the island is still owned by Scottish Natural Heritage, and continues to be run as a National Nature Reserve.

Rum is of exceptional ecological importance, but thanks to its volcanic origins and its present day wildlife, notably red deer and white-tailed sea eagle. With the exception of Kinloch, the island is uninhabited, and offers stunning landscapes and walking.

Get in[edit]


There are two scheduled boat services that connect Rum with the mainland. Both arrive and depart from the new 1 Ferry Terminal, on the south side of Loch Scresort.

The ferries are for foot passengers or bicycles only. Visitors are not allowed to take their car on the ferry, unless they have special permission.

  • The Caledonian MacBrayne [1] ferry MV Lochnevis sails to all four of the Small Isles from Mallaig throughout the year. It calls at Rum once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, twice on Thursday and once on Saturday during the winter; twice on Monday, twice on Wednesday, twice on Friday and twice on Saturday in the summer.
  • During the summer, Arisaig Marine [2] provide wildlife sightseeing cruises from Arisaig, about 10 miles south of Mallaig. Different islands are called at on different days, but the timetable generally allows access to Rum on days when the CalMac ferry does not.

Train connections[edit]

If not travelling to Mallaig or Arisaig by car, you can reach the ferries by scheduled ScotRail train service (although note that the pier at Arisaig is not as close to the railway as the pier at Mallaig).

The famous 'Deerstalker' Caledonian Sleeper provides first class (single cabin) and standard class (double cabin) sleeper and reclining seat travel between Fort William and London Euston every night except Saturday. Local trains connect to Mallaig.

If travelling by day train, travelling to Rum from anywhere further south than Fort William is only possible without an overnight stop in Mallaig on summer Saturdays, when the early morning train from Glasgow Queen Street station connects with the second CalMac sailing to Rum.

Travelling from Rum to points beyond Fort William by day train is likewise only possible on summer Saturdays, when the first CalMac sailing from Rum connects with the train to Fort William and Glasgow Queen Street.

Bus connections[edit]

  • Shiel Bus [3] operate services from Fort William to Arisaig and Mallaig.
  • Citylink buses go from Fort William to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow.


The only sheltered anchorage is Loch Scresort. There are no moorings available. Dinghies can be landed at the old pier. Dinghies can also be landed at the ferry terminal, but you should be aware of ferry timetables.

Get around[edit]

You are not allowed to bring your car to Rum. So the easiest way to get around is by foot or bicycle.

It is about 1 km or 20 minutes walk from the ferry pier, to Kinloch Castle and the main part of Kinloch village. Most of the facilities and accommodation are close together within the village.

A shuttle bus/taxi service meets the ferry arrivals, and can transport passengers and luggage to the village.

There is a track across the island, leading to Kilmory (8km) or Harris (10 km). The track is a bit rough in places, and climbs up quite high. Suitable footwear and clothing is advised. It is also suitable for cycling, a mountain bike or sturdy touring bike is recommended.


  • 1 Kinloch Castle, PH43 4RR (20 minute walk from the ferry terminal), +44 1687 462037. Tours daily in summer, starting between 13:30 and 14:30. Incredible late Victorian castle, built as the summer home of a Lancashire textile tycoon, Sir George Bullough. The construction required 300 men, at a total cost of £250,000. Unfortunately the building is in need of renovation, but the tour is interesting, particularly the orchestrion, the plumbing, and some of the things collected on travels. £9. Kinloch Castle on Wikipedia Kinloch Castle (Q281232) on Wikidata
  • 2 Harris Mausoleum (10 km from Kinloch, along hill track). Greek style temple, in an impressive setting, overlooking the shore. Built for George Bullough, circa 1900, to inter his father, John. It now contains the tombs of John Bullough, George Bullough, and his wife, Monica.


A wide range of wildlife can be seen on the island, and in the surrounding seas.

  • Rum is one of the worlds largest breeding colonies for Manx Shearwater. Every summer around 100,000 pairs of these birds nest in burrows, high up on the Rum Cuillin.
  • The White-tailed eagle, the largest bird of prey in the UK, was reintroduced on Rum in the 1970s. They can be seen fishing around the coast.
  • Golden eagles also nest on the island, they can be spotted soaring over the mountains.
  • 3 Otter Hide (South side of Loch Scresort, 10 minutes walk from the ferry terminal). A nice place to sit and look for wildlife, though the otters can be shy.


  • Climb the Rum Cuillin, a group of rocky hills in the southern end of the island. This includes Askival, at 812 m the highest point on Rum, and listed as a Corbett. Parts of the walk are steep and rocky, some scrambling involved. Starting and finishing at Kinloch, the full traverse is about 20 km, and can take about 12 hours to walk. There is an option for an overnight stop at Dibidil bothy.


Rum Community Hall and General Store in Kinloch
  • 1 Rum Crafts, Shore Road (next to the red phone box). selling a variety of handmade crafts, including knitting, soap and bloodstone
  • 2 Croft 3 In The Shed, Croft 3, Isle of Rum, PH43 4RR (north side nature trail), e-mail: . always open. Crafts and produce
  • 3 Tattie House Crafts (through the village, past the hall). handmade crafts, including paintings, cards, candles and painted fishing buoys


  • 1 Tea Shop (Inside the village hall). A cafe open daily (11:00 - 16:00) from April to September, for hot and cold drinks, snacks, light meals and home baked treats. The wild deer of the island can be sampled in the Venison Stew, which is normally available and highly recommended.
  • 2 General Store & Post Office (Next to the village hall), +44 1687 460328, e-mail: . Post office open 1000-1200 on ferry days, shop open most evenings 1700-1930. A small but well stocked shop, selling a range of groceries, including vegetables, snacks and alcohol. For larger groups, groceries can be pre-ordered, at least one week in advance.


  • There are no pubs or bars on Rum. The castle bar closed years ago.
  • The General Store sells a range of alcoholic drinks. It is open late some evenings, and has some outside seating. So it acts as a sort of bar.


Guirdil Bothy and Bloodstone Hill

Details of all accommodation on the island can be found on the island's website.

  • 1 Rum Bunkhouse, +44 1687 460318, e-mail: . 20 bed hostel opened in 2014, as a replacement for the hostel in Kinloch Castle. From £23.
  • Bothies. Two are maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association at Dibidil and Guirdil. Both are a long walk from the village, over rough paths.
  • 4 Kinloch Village Campsite (Next to the old pier). A small campsite on the shore of Loch Scresort, with basic facilities including fresh water, washing up basins, toilets, hot showers and wooden shelters. £6 per adult per night.
  • 5 Camping Cabins (At the campsite), e-mail: . Two wooden cabins are available, each with 4 single mattresses. These are fully insulated, with solar lighting. From £22 per night.
  • Wild camping is permitted on the island, but you must follow the Outdoor Access Code. You are advised to speak to the reserve office or community ranger before setting out, who can advise you where to avoid during sensitive periods for wildlife. Fires are not permitted when camping wild.


  • The Reserve Office can provide information about the island, as well as outdoor activities and camping. Tel +44 1687 462026.
  • The Isle of Rum community website can be found online at [4]
  • The Village Hall has wifi internet access, and charging for laptops, mobile phones etc, for a donation. There is also a community computer available to use.
  • Mobile phone reception can be limited, but is usually available around the shore, in front of the village hall or castle.
  • There is a BT payphone, in the red phonebox by the shore.

Go next[edit]

Visit the neighbouring Small Isles of Canna, Eigg and Muck. Depending on ferry timetables, these may be possible as a day trip from Rum.

This city travel guide to Rum is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.