After a challenging river crossing in Glen Dibidil on the southeast corner, I opted to head on past Dibidil bothy to pitch my tent amongst the heather and boggy tussocks high on the cliff. The next day, caffeine laden and GORE-TEX clad, I shook the ticks off, packed my wet tent, and made for Loch Papadil on Rum’s south side. As the loch revealed itself in a basin below the mountains feeding into the ocean, the scene was like something from a film. At the head of the loch, a magical woodland with bright rhododendron that looked as if it belonged somewhere like Madeira, and a waterfall crashing down from Sgurr nan Gillean which towered above into the clag. It felt like no one had ever been here before. As if I could discover a never-before-seen species at every step. Though, I wouldn’t know a new plant or animal if it batted me over the head and told me so.
Amongst the woodland, I found the ruins of Papadil Lodge. Once a deerstalking retreat taken back by nature. It had an eerie feel with metal bed frames still inside and trees creeping through every opening. A spooky place if your mind was left to wonder… Though the only thing spooking me was incessant midge gnawing.
Away from the shelter of the woodland, back up high and midge free, I cut my way along the cliffs and down to Harris Bay. As the weather worsened, I took to the hillside once again, and looking up only when greeted by wild goats, I eventually descended into the steep sided Glen Guirdil to reach Guirdil bothy on the west coast. With the bothy occupied, I pitched my tent on what I thought was its sheltered side. But with swirling wind I had a fierce battle with the outer sheet. It flipped over my head like a scene from Carry on Camping, everything got soaked.