always something new to discover.
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Rum Woodcock Russian Recovery - July 2012


Another Rum ringed woodcock has been recovered in Russia.  The bird was ringed in Kinloch on the Isle of Rum two days after Christmas in 2011 and was shot in Derevik in the Russian Federation on 20 April 2012.  This was a straight line distance of 2219km.

View Woodcock EW27941 in a larger map Zoom out to see full distance

This follows the first report of a bird ringed on Rum in March 2010 and shot in the Voznesenskiy District of Russia the following month, a distance of 3046km.

View Woodcock Recovery EW27778 in a larger map Zoom out to see the full distance

Both birds were probably on migration through Rum when they were ringed but could have been on their breeding grounds when shot in Russia.  While the woodcock is a species that breeds in Britain and on Rum, the winter population is swelled by many thousands of birds escaping frozen conditions in the east of Europe.  These birds usually start arriving in Britain in November and those that pass through Rum often carry on further south and west to Ireland, as another bird caught on Rum demonstrates.  This individual was ringed in Kinloch on 17 December 2011 and was shot just 23 days later in Ballymote, Ireland.

View Woodcock recovery EW27913 in a larger map Zoom out to see full distance

Woodcock ringed, weighed and measured on Rum (c) Sean MorrisRinging studies of winter woodcock on Rum have also shown that a small number of birds spend the whole winter from November to March on the island and also return in subsequent winters.

More information on woodcock can be found at the Woodcock Network

Sean Morris, Isle of Rum





Crofters finally arrive on croft - June 2012



Getting to the track (c) Nic GoddardAfter two months of actually living on the island,the new crofters Nic, Ady, Davies and Scarlett have finally made it onto the croft The final hurdle - crossing Kinloch River (c) Nic Goddardlsnd with their mobile home.

Thanks to a crew of helpers from Eigg headed up by Alisdair Kirk and a team of fellow Rum islanders the static made the final mile from the nature trail to croft 3.

It was an epic journey with many dark moments as we lost wheels, scrambled down banks and paused for 6 nights in a particularly midgey spot on the nature trail, but with much blood, sweat, tears, beers and swearing, we finally got there and are thrilled to be 'home'.  

The full story can be found here



Bike Hire now here - June 2012


Cycle hire (c) Fliss FraserBike hire is now available on the Isle of Rum. 

Fliss and Sandy have now have bikes for hire. Whether for a half day trip around the village or a whole day of adventures in the NNR, they have a range of mountain bikes to suit, although no children's bikes at the moment.

For more information call into the Craft Shop, e-mail or follow this link to their website.

We wish them every success.




Conservation Volunteers Wanted for 13th-16th July - June 2012


The Isle of Rum Community Trust Ranger Service is looking for 6 volunteers to assist with Rhododendron clearance (using the Lever and Mulch technique), and wildlife Rhododendron (c) Mike Werndlygardening in our Community Garden.

We would prefer applicants to have some experience in this field already i.e., students and trainee land managers who would like more to add to their CV. However, other applications will be considered. You will need to be physically fit, have a good sense of humour and an interest in the environment (and not too bothered by midges; midge jackets will be’s not always bad on here anyway!?).
Successful applicants will be provided with accommodation for the duration of their stay (in our new cabins) and ferry tickets to and from the island (you will have to make your own way to Mallaig our nearest port), and everyone will be rostered on for cooking duties (1 in 3 not bad).
The evenings will be free, so plenty of time to explore. The island has red-throated divers, manx shearwaters, golden eagles, otters and many other interesting species.
If this is for you please send a CV and short covering letter/e-mail to Mike Werndly or IRCT Office Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rum, Inverness-shire PH43 4RR by Friday June 22nd.  Successful applicants will hear back by June 29th at the latest.

Rum Jubilee 'Street' Party - June 2012


Rum Jubilee celebrations (c) Georgina McMillanThe Village Hall deck played host to the Rum community's Jubilee celebrations. Pimms, jelly and sponge cake were all enjoyed on the warm Tuesday evening to celebrate the Diamond Jubliee of Elizabeth I. A big thank you to Vikki and co. for organising the event.






Isle of Rum Croft to Let - June 2012


The Isle of Rum Community Trust has one bare land croft available.

Croft No.2 is a bare land croft extending to 5.36ha on semi-improved sloping ground overgrown with rushes, and will require a significant amount of work to improve it to anything beyond rough grazing.  However, the croft enjoys an open, south facing aspect with fine views across to the peaks of Hallival and Askival, up Kinloch Glen, and out to Loch Scresort.

Crofting offers the potential for both new housing and new economic opportunities, and two of the three crofts on Rum are now let.  Nic Goddard, the island’s newest crofter, is very excited to be part of the latest chapter in Rum's journey.  She says; “This is an amazing place to raise our children, make our home and create a living for ourselves. Within a very short time we already feel part of the community and very much at home."  Their vision for a low impact, self sufficient, sustainable lifestyle in an unspoilt corner of the UK was perfectly answered with the opportunity of becoming crofters on Rum.  “The island provides the perfect backdrop to make our dreams come true".

Interested parties are encouraged to visit the island before making an application for the croft, and community members will show people around and answer questions.

Rum Croft 2 (c) Georgina McMillan

This is an exciting time to be part of the small but growing community on Rum, with several development projects underway and a number of new residents settling here over the past year.  We are looking for people with enthusiasm and vision to join us on our adventure!

Please contact for an application pack.  Deadline for applications to be submitted: Friday 31st August.  Applicants may be invited to an interview in September.


Climate Challenge Fund wins - May 2012


In April IRCT was awarded a grant of £19,475 from the Climate Challenge Fund for the Greening Rum project. This will enable us to continue heading towards a more eco-friendly existence here on Rum. The money will help with the following projects:

We will be able to invest in a Community Polytunnel, giving everyone the opportunity to have a small plot to grow their own fruit and veg in, thus helping to reduce some of our food miles.

OWL monitors will be issued to all households. These will show us the amount of electricity we are using at any one time and will help us to be more aware of our consumption rates and hopefully make us more efficient.

Our Wildlife Garden is going to have a rotor composting bin. As the garden is a central area to a number of households and close to the shop, we hope a communal composting area will help us reduce our food waste to the benefit of the wildlife garden.

Finally, and most excitingly, the grant will allow us to not only double glaze our Village Hall, but top up the insulation to make it much cosier and more fun to use in the winter.

We look forward to seeing these changes take place and will report on their progress.

Deer Observation Hide at Kilmory - May 2012


The start of May saw the completion of the long talked about deer observation hide at Kilmory.  The hide was built by Sandy Fraser for the Edinburgh University Red Deer Project, funded in part by The Guinness Trust.

Kilmory Deer Hide (c) Ali MorrisThe hide has two sides, one reserved for researchers with the other always open to the general public. There are great views of the Hide from Kilmory Graveyard (c) Ali Morrisbeach and the river all the way up to the mountains in the south and it is a commanding location for getting up close and personal with wildlife.


The researchers have put up a selection of informative posters and would like to encourage everyone to leave their nature observations on the sheet provided as otters, eagles, basking sharks and, of course, deer can regularly be seen from this location.


Deer Study Area sign with hide in distance (c) Ali Morris
There is also a new sign at the start of the Glen Shellesder path , informing people that as they carry on to Kilmory, they are entering the deer research area.
For more on the deer project visit their website here

New Tenants for Croft 3 - Rum welcomes the Goddard Family - May 2012


The Goddard Family (c) Nic GoddardGoddard's new home arriving to Rum (c) Nic Goddard

Rum welcomes its newest residents - the Goddards from Sussex - who were successful with their croft application earlier in the year. They've already been out exploring the island, experienced their first Rum ceilidh and taken part whole heartedly in community events.They've also been getting used to the 'Rum factor' and finding their feet and from the looks on their faces, they're definately enjoying themselves. The 'Goodards' are certainly Good value! - welcome to Rum  – we wish you all the best with your new life on your Rum croft.

To follow the Goddard's blog, click here


Egg Thief caught out on Rum - May 2012


On 28 May 2011, a local Rum resident observed a man acting suspiciously in a remote common gull colony on the Isle of Rum.  Alison Morris, a long-term resident of the island and a field researcher for the Red Deer Project based at Kilmory was out in the study area conducting individual deer checks during the calving season. 

‘I was sitting out on the hill, tucked in tight as the weather was pretty poor for the time of year when I spotted a man entering Shamhnan Insir from the east.  This is in no way unusual, other than causing some disturbance to the deer that I was observing and I waited for him to pass through the area.  I thought nothing more of it until he started walking into the middle of the gull colony.  I began watching him more intently, wishing he would move on quickly so the gulls would be off their eggs for the shortest possible time.  However, he began acting very strangely, dashing about in the colony, picking up eggs for some minutes before disappearing into a black-house.’ 

Being out of radio contact with the rest of her team and with a very patchy mobile phone signal, Ali continued with her deer checks despite being very nervous and spending the rest of the day looking over her shoulder.  On her return home late that night after a long calving season day, Ali told her husband, Sean, of the bizarre scene that she had witnessed earlier in the day and he immediately told her to phone the police.   

The following morning, Ali and Sean Morris met with Richard Kilpatrick, the Scottish Natural Heritage National Nature Reserve Manager to inform him of the situation.  After several conversations with the police and keeping an eye on the suspect man, the police decided to come over to have a chat with him.  On arrival at the Rum Ferry Terminal, and asking the man for his details the Wildlife Crimes Officer immediately placed Matthew Gonshaw under arrest.

Matthew Gonshaw has served three previous terms in prison for egg theft and a raid on his house in London, as a direct consequence of his arrest on Rum, revealed almost 700 clutches of eggs, some from highly protected and vulnerable species. This resulted in his fourth jail term of 6 months imposed by Thames Magistrates Court on 13 December 2011.  On 24 February 2012 Gonshaw was issued with an ASBO at Stratford Magistrates Court banning him from visiting Scotland during the bird breeding season for the next 10 years.  He was also banned from visiting any RSPB or Wildlife Trust land for the same time period.

Gonshaw appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court on 11 May 2012 charged with the offences committed on Rum.  The court heard how Gonshaw had gone to the Isle of Rum, a National Nature Reserve in May 2011.  Later police searched him and found 20 eggs and an egg blowing kit in his rucksack.

Gonshaw admitted illegally taking and destroying seven meadow pipit eggs, and five others that could have been reed bunting or blackcap as well as eight Manx shearwater eggs.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson told Gonshaw “You have been unable to provide any explanation for your twisted behaviour and have shown no remorse whatsoever. You may call yourself a wildlife collector. You are in fact a wildlife destroyer.”  Sheriff Neilson jailed Gonshaw for the maximum 6 months allowed by law, his 5th jail term for wildlife crime offences and banned him from visiting Scotland during the bird breeding season for life.

If it had not been for the vigilance of local residents and in particular, the attention to detail from Ali Morris who was only in the location due to her job with the Edinburgh University Red Deer Research Project, Gonshaw would have got away with his mission.  It is a credit to the community of Rum to have caught such a prolific egg thief.


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