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"Rum may get temporary visitor accommodation" - December 2011

08-01-2012

SNH Press Release 23/12/2011

Temporary visitor accommodation may be installed on the Isle of Rum following concerns about the hostel in the island's Kinloch Castle.

Most of Rum is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and managed as a national nature reserve.

Kinloch Castle, also owned by SNH, is a major visitor attraction and the main provider of visitor accommodation. However the building requires major investment, well beyond the reaches of SNH's budget. SNH has spent over £1 million on the castle in the past few years. But despite this and major efforts by staff the hostel is unable to offer accommodation to the standard visitors expect of a modern hostel.

Last year SNH announced it may have to close the hostel part of the castle within two or three years due to increasing repair and maintenance costs, and began talks with the local community about business opportunities in visitor facilities.

SNH is now looking into the possibility of installing high quality temporary visitor accommodation in case the hostel has to close before the community is ready to take advantage of the business opportunity.

Sarah Bentley, SNH operations manager, explained: "We have had numerous problems with the hostel, including the discovery of dry rot in part of the building, falls and weakness in some of the plaster ceilings and difficulties with the boiler. The facilities require significant investment to bring them up to a reasonable standard. We are therefore exploring the best option to ensure we can continue to provide facilities for people to visit the island and enjoy the spectacular beauty of the national nature reserve and the principal wings of the castle.

"We have been working closely with the Isle of Rum Community Trust to develop plans for longer term accommodation and facilities on the island. This is progressing well, with a feasibility study due to start in January. However, given time scales for funding, planning, construction etc, it is unlikely that any new facility would be ready for two or three years.

"Accommodation for visitors next season will either be in the castle hostel as normal or in temporary visitor accommodation of an even higher standard. The temporary accommodation will reduce the risk of an emergency closure leaving Rum with no visitor accommodation. As new accommodation develops it will allow us to focus our resources on conserving the castle itself."

Vikki Trelfer, the Isle of Rum Community Trust's development officer, said: "Kinloch Castle and its hostel is a real draw for visitors to the island, but the community has been aware for some time that there is uncertainty over its future. Closure of the hostel will create space for much-needed business opportunities both for private individuals and for the Community Trust to generate an income by providing accommodation and services for visitors."

Ewan Macdonald, Chair of Kinloch Castle Friends Association, said: "It is important that visitor access to the Castle and reserve is maintained and we welcome the plan to provide alternative temporary accommodation. We are committed to to the conservation of the Castle and its contents and would prefer that its state was such that visitors could continue to use the hostel. We appreciate that SNH has allocated considerable funds to essential maintenance in the past few years , but that has not been enough to prevent deterioration. It is therefore important that this new unplanned expenditure will not divert funds from the necessary work in the Castle."

Even if the hostel closes, SNH will continue to run tours of the main wings of Kinloch Castle, showcasing the Edwardian interior. The organisation is also developing a conservation plan for the castle to conserve the fabric of the building. Works are currently being carried out on the castle roof as part of this plan.

 

Rare mussels found near Rum / MPA for the Sound of Canna? - December 2011

03-01-2012

"Rare mussels found during marine surveys" by Lewis Smith - fish2fork.com - 30/12/2011Fan Mussel (c) telegraph.co.uk

The largest living collection of rare fan mussels in British waters has been discovered around Scotland’s Small Isles. More than 100 of the mussels, a species that fishermen used to believe fed on the bodies of drowned sailors, were located during a series of surveys of Scottish waters over the last year. Mussel fans were one of several rare species to be uncovered in waters where they were either unknown or hardly ever seen. They are the largest shellfish in British waters – growing up to 48cm long – and are among the rarest and most threatened.

Sailors once believed them to eat the bodies of the drowned because they have thin, silk-like threads that look like golden human hairs. The threads allow the mussels to hold on to the sea bed by clinging on to objects as small as a grain of sand. In previous centuries the threads were prized for use in gloves – Henry VIII was reputed to have worn a pair. The mussels, which get their name from being fan-shaped, protrude from the surface of the sea bed and they are especially vulnerable to destruction from scallop dredging. Numbers have also fallen because in previous years they were a popular souvenir among divers. Scotland’s largest horse mussel bed was pinpointed near Noss Head, Caithness, during the 15 surveys this year that covered 2,000 square kilometres of the sea.

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"Scotland's white-tailed eagles reach record numbers" - December 2011

17-12-2011

WildlifeExtra.com  - 16/12/2011White Tailed Sea Eagle (c) Chris Gomersall / RSPB

A record year for country's largest bird of prey

December 2011: This year has proved another record breaking year for breeding pairs of Scotland's largest bird of prey. White-tailed eagles soared to new heights despite heavy storms throughout the 2011 breeding season. Conservationists, and many sea eagle enthusiasts, had been concerned that the high winds felt across Scotland in May could have had a detrimental impact on breeding white-tailed eagles at the vulnerable part of the season when most nests contain small chicks. Indeed, some nests failed including that of BBC Springwatch star, nicknamed Itchy, who experts fear lost his chicks in the storm.

However, the bad weather failed to blow the species off course. Recent survey figures for the 2011 breeding season reveal that there were 57 territorial pairs in Scotland, an increase of ten per cent on the previous year. A total of 43 young fledged successfully from these nests.

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"Woof' Family hope to Head for Rum" - December 2011

17-12-2011

The Scotsman - 15/12/2011

They went in search of the Good Life and believe they have found it on a remote Scottish island. After nine months of travelling the country in a 30-year-old campervan, working on farms and crofts, the Goddard family from Sussex are ready to put down roots and have set their hearts on becoming nearly a tenth of the population of Rum.

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Join the 'Friends Of Rum' - December 2011

13-12-2011

The Friends of Rum are a committed group of supporters who help the Isle of Rum Community Trust to achieve our objectives by providing an income for projects, sharing their skills, and through in-kind donations.

Friends of Rum:Handover Celebrations 2010 (c) Georgina McMillan

  • Receive 2 newsletters per year with updates on what we’ve been doing
  • Get a 10% discount on IRCT accommodation (just the campsite at the moment)
  • Have achance to be part of Rum’s development by putting
    forward ideas and providing valuable feedback
  • Enjoy opportunities to join our special Friends events
  • Are able to volunteer for specific practical projects and become part of the community
  • Demonstrate their commitment to the vision of the Isle of Rum Community Trust

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Storm Damage on Rum - December 2011

12-12-2011

Trees hanging at the crossroads (c) Georgina McMillan

Scottish School of Forestry Students helping with the cleanup (c) Georgina McMillan

The 8th of December brought high winds to Rum and most of Scotland. Luckily no-one on Rum was injured but we had lots of trees come down in the village.  We were very lucky to have the Scottish School of Forestry Inverness visiting at the time who were amazing at clearing trees and brash in the village.

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Rum Featured on 'Landward' - November 2011

12-12-2011

Landward the outdoors TV program came out to Rum in the summer and filmed three short segments for their autumn/winter shows. The focus was on the Rum ponies, Manx Shearwaters, red deer and community development.
The segments will be featured on BBC2 in the November episodes. The first will be shown on BBC2 at 7pm on Friday the 4th of November 2011. Repeated on iPlayer

 

"Goats to Remain on Rum" - October 2011

12-12-2011

SNH Press Release - 24/10/2011

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is to maintain a healthy and viable population of feral goats on the island of Rum, even though some are being culled to protect the island's fragile habitats. The goats are thought to have been on Rum for at least 200 years and, along with eagles, red deer and Manx shearwater, have become an established wildlife feature of the island's national nature reserve. Over the past ten years there has been a marked increase in the size of the feral goat herd, for reasons that are not entirely clear. This has been shown to have a negative impact on protected fragile heaths and grasslands.

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Vote For the Rum Byre Development - September 2011

12-12-2011

Help the Rum Byre Development - We need your vote...

Rum Byre (c) Vikki Trelfer
Rum Byre (c) Vikki Trelfer
Rum Byre (c) Vikki Trelfer
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Book - 'Eccentric Wealth - The Bulloughs of Rum' - August 2011

12-12-2011

New Book by Alastair Scott - This is the first book dedicated to exploring the myriad myths and rumours about the Bulloughs of Rum, ranging from their humble beginnings in Lancashire cotton mills to their world-leading inventions which afforded the fantasy world they created on Rum.  Stripping away the hearsay from fact has does nothing to diminish the extraordinary lives they led - indeed, there is a host of spicy new revelations to replace the ones that lack corroboration.  This is not a dry biography but an enthralling read about how the other half lived when they, the nouveau riche, broke free from the social and moral bondage of Victorian Britain. Essential reading for everyone with an interest in Rum and its icon, Kinloch Castle!

Available to buy at Kinloch Castle and at the Rum Community Shop, paperback, RRP £9.99.  Published by Birlinn, 2011.

 

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