always something new to discover.
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Introducing Rum's new Community Ranger - June 2014


new ranger imageI am delighted to take up the position of Community Ranger here on Rum. I’m an environmental biologist with many years’ experience in nature reserve management and field biology: I have worked with Sandwich terns on Anglesey; saltmarsh birds, plants and Natterjack toads in Dorset; mice on St Kilda and rare plants in southern Portugal. Most recently, I have been running guided wildlife walks in Bristol, while studying for an MSc in Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

I come from Bristol but I have lived in various places around the UK and abroad. Before gaining my degree, I worked in bookselling and as a freelance photographer and artist. My decision to retrain for a career in nature conservation was made after witnessing firsthand the destruction of the rainforests in Tasmania in 2001.

I’ve had a special affinity for the wildlife and communities of the Scottish Western Isles since my first visit to Islay in 2006. I have visited the Outer Hebrides twice and returned to Islay and Jura nearly ten times now. In 2012, I spent four weeks on St Kilda working as a field research assistant for the St Kilda Mouse Project.

My hobbies and interests include:

Writing: “Trudi's Tales from the Field” -

Photography & art:

Sculpture; linocut printing; travel; canoeing; Portuguese language studies; climate change and future ecology; evolutionary biology; Australian ecology; archaeology; anthropology; history of the natural sciences.

I’m looking forward to seeing my first sea eagles, and I want to start canoeing again, but am currently hampered by lack of paddle...and lack of canoe!

Watch out for upcoming events and news via Facebook and Twitter, and my Ranger page HERE.

Rum Bunkhouse Progress - March 2014


If you’re following the updates on our Facebook page you’ll know that there’s been lots happening in recent weeks!

The site was cleared and groundworks completed at the start of the year.The building itself has been constructed in sections in MacQueen’s workshop on Skye, and arrived on the Calmac ferry on the 18th March.

Now that all the pieces are on site it’s just a case of putting them all together, and as if by magic the bunkhouse is growing day by day!

Homecoming Scotland - January 2014


In 1795 Rum was home to over 400 people, but the clearances of 1826 and 1828 saw the eviction of 350 people in total, to be replaced by sheep. Most

Homecoming logo

of the emigrants sailed to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia; all 208 passengers listed on the St Lawrence from Tobermory to Port Hawkesbury (NS) on 12th July 1928 (though it may have been 1926) were from the Isle of Rum, and ranged in age from young babies to 89 year old Allan MacLean. The full list is available online. []

Today the population is stable at around 40 permanent residents, but what happened to our predecessors? When the MacLeans, MacKays, MacKinnons and MacPhadens dispersed across Cape Breton, where did they go? Where are their families now, and do they still pass on stories of the Rum life?

Malcom McKinnon from Rum was the first settler near Kinloch on the Northwestern side of Inverness County, Cape Breton and had a family of three sons and four daughters; the farm is still occupied by his descendants.**

Two brothers from Rum, Donald and Allan McLean, were the first settlers of Beech Hill, Inverness County in 1826. Donald married Ann McDonald who had emigrated from neighbouring Muck; they had 8 children and Ann lived to be 106!**

2014 is the Year of Homecoming - a year-long programme of events and activities showcasing all that's great about Scotland. Elsewhere there are preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, and a range of events to celebrate our national food and drink, the outdoors, and our arts, culture and ancestral heritage. Here on Rum we’re putting together a programme of events for 2014 to entertain, inspire, and get your toes tapping – keep an eye on the Events page for more information.

We always welcome stories and memories from former Rumachs and their descendants

Wherever you’ve been and whenever you visit, you’ll be very welcome so join us and be part of Homecoming Rum 2014!

[**Info from: History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia

By J. L. MacDougall (1922) -]

Rum Bunkhouse - January 2014


Site clearance (c) Ali Morris

The new Rum Bunkhouse is currently under construction.

Site levelling (c) Ali Morris

It will be the first purpose-built self-catering accommodation on the island, and all profits from running the bunkhouse will be put back into development projects in our small community.

The bunkhouse will offer excellent hostel accommodation with a strong environmental flavour, built to a high specification and using sustainable materials. It will sleep up to 20 people in four mixed dorms and one twin room, with free wireless internet available throughout the building. It will feature two fully equipped self-catering kitchens and plenty of dining space to allow groups to eat together. The comfortable lounge will

have a wood burning stove and comfy sofas so you can sit back and relax after a day spent exploring the Nature Reserve.

The building will have level access throughout to facilitate disabled access, with an accessible WC and wet room. The twin room will be fully accessible and the shared spaces and corridors all incorporate space for a turning circle for wheelchair users.

Rum Bunkhouse News - December 2013


This week we have appointed Ian Lever as Project Development Manager to oversee the construction phase of our new bunkhouse. Ian lives on Eigg and has previously worked on Rum as the Development Officer from 2008-10. He has experience of managing a number of similar sized, grant funded projects with other island communities, and we are pleased to welcome him onto the team.

James Macqueen builders based on Skye won the contract to build the bunkhouse and having visited the island a few weeks ago are keen to get started as soon as possible. Unfortunately the weather has not been kind to us with storm after storm disrupting the ferry service recently, so site works will now begin in early January.

We are still on track to open later in 2014 so watch this space for updates!

Twitchers descend on Rum - October 2013


Mourning Dove Twitchers (c) Ali Morris

29th October 2013 was an odd day in the lives of some of Rum’s residents as around 30 twitchers arrived via the

Loch Nevis to see the Mourning Dove that had arrived in one of the resident’s gardens the previous day.

The bird, an extremely rare North American visitor to the UK, was seen at first light then not again all morning despite near constant monitoring. At 1150, it reappeared at the feeding station in the garden and it was hoped that the bird enthusiasts would indeed get a chance of seeing it, before disappearing up into the branches again a short while later.

On arrival, the twitchers set up camp eager to catch a glimpse before having to get back onto the ferry two hours later for the return to Mallaig.There was an intense hush as telescopes, binoculars and cameras we trained upon the fir tree and feeding station. After about 20 tense minutes, the Mourning Dove was spotted, sparking a mad rush for a good position within the crowd. Eventually after repositioning themselves a few times, everyone had seen the bird and the tension began to dissipate.

At this point, community tea shop representatives rushed out with the newly named ‘pop-up’ café of tea, coffee, soup and cakes for our visitors. All donations will be added the Village Hall Improvement Fund. Then as quickly and quietly as everyone arrived they were off again, one man heading directly (well, as directly as possible by water and road!) to Cornwall to see a Hermit Thrush.

A big thank you to everyone involved.

An island playground for children, not millionaires! - Oct 2013


The Isle of Rum Community Trust has been successful in an application to Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Communities and Families Fund’ for £9,500, to create a safe, enclosed play area for young children.The play park will include swings, and a tower/slide unit, and it is the first time that facilities have been provided for young children on the island.

Having an area in the village specifically for small children to play together has long been a topic for community discussion, and a fit for purpose play park came out top in suggestions for making the island a better place for young people from teenagers who have grown up on Rum.

With no scheduled regular activities or after school clubs, a play park at the heart of the community will help parents, especially new parents, from feeling isolated.Rum has only one settlement, so visiting another town or village with good facilities is not an option.The new play park will give island children the opportunity to actively play and socialise, both with resident children and visitors.

“This is great news for our community,” Alison Morris, mother of one, says.“We can help to support parents, especially new mums, to reduce feelings of isolation and encourage parents to come together.”

Funds such as this one from the Big Lottery Fund are invaluable in helping to empower isolated communities with small populations and few resources to make positive changes which improve the lives of residents.

Mega-rare bird visits Rum - October 2013


© Sean Morris

A Mourning Dove has been found on the island in a garden in Kinloch, on the Isle of Rum. In the birding world this is described as a mega rarity as there are only three previously accepted records in Britain. The Mourning Dove is a North American species and has probably been blown off course by the recent strong westerly winds while trying to migrate south in the Americas.

Many thanks to Sean Morris for the picture. Image © Sean Morris

Volunteering Opportunity - November 2013


Saturday 23rd to Saturday 30th November 2013 Volunteering Opportunity on Isle of Rum.

We are looking for volunteers to work with the Community Ranger on a conservation volunteer project. The main work will be in rhododendron clearance using the lever and mulch method but other conservation tasks may be included in the schedule.Applicants with previous experience in this field are particularly encouraged to apply but all applicants will be considered. You will need to be physically fit, have a good sense of humour and an interest in the environment.Successful applicants will be provided with accommodation for the duration of their stay in our camping Kabins and ferry tickets to andfrom the island (you will need to make your own way to Mallaig which is our nearest port). Everyone will be rostered on for communal cooking duties.Evenings will be free so there is plenty of time to explore the island, spot wildlife and experience the culture of Rum.In the first instance please contact Nic at the Rum Volunteer Programme on

Community Teashop Fundraising - October 2013


Like many small communities our village hall here on Rum is the real hub of our island. Used for meetings, home to the Teashop, venue for events, celidhs, birthday bashes, quiz nights and more. Our hall is a little tired though and recently we discovered is suffering from pretty extensive woodworm in the roof. Plans are afoot to treat the woodworm and make our hall an even better venue and we've been coming up with creative and interesting ways to raise the money we'll need to make those plans happen.
We've held quiz nights, raffles and other fundraising events, as well as gratefully receiving donations from Highland Council and visitors to the island. We've also run a very successful Community Sunday Teashop throughout the summer with different volunteers from the community showing off their cooking and hosting skills to run their own teashop each week. We've had themed weeks (French teashop and Geordie teashop were particularly inspired), high end cafe and full and hearty fayre offerings. For the autumn and winter we're carrying on twice a month on the first and third Sundays of each month, so if you're planning a visit to Rum come along - you never know what might be on offer and it's all for a very good cause!

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