Go wild on Rum, a dedicated nature reserve with opportunities for wild camping, hillwalking and wildlife-watching.
The largest and wildest of the Small Isles, Rum is a mini-archipelago within the Inner Hebrides reached by ferry from Mallaig. Tailor-made for wild camping, the entire island is a National Nature Reserve famous for red deer, cetaceans and birdlife. Several paths and tracks bisect the brooding mountains packing the interior, and the best pitching places are around the coast at places like Kinloch, Kilmory, Guirdil and Dibidil. Get advise on camping, wildlife, weather and trails from the ranger station near the ferry terminal. And bring in all supplies where possible—the island has only one small shop.
Kinloch is Rum’s only settlement, a teensy village spread-eagled around a forest-fringed, relatively sheltered inlet of Loch Scresort in the island’s east and close to the ferry terminal. It has the island’s only campsite, as well as a ranger station that can advise on the best places to walk and wildlife-watch and a shop. Spot porpoises in the open water and otters along the coast before tackling the bigger island hikes fanning out from here.
Much of Rum is only accessible by tough hiking across pathless terrain, but two locales on the north coast are connected by decent tracks, making for an easier approach for aspiring wild campers. Tramp through Kilmory Glen, site of one of the world’s most important studies of red deer, to reach sandy Kilmory Bay or through Glen Shellesder to the bothy (wilderness shelter) at Guirdil, alongside a rocky beach. Wild camp at either place.
A path—often faint and boggy—twists around the big mountains south of Kilmory to Rum’s seldom-tramped south coast. The way in is only by foot—even boats would be hard pushed to find somewhere to moor along this elemental shoreline. Come here to hike into the mountainous interior and observe one of the world’s greatest Manx shearwater populations during late spring and summer. With flat ground a rarity, the best camping is around the bothy at Dibidil.
The Isle of Canna seems verdant and low-lying after Rum’s mountainous, bracken-covered bulk, and Canna Campsite offers caravanning, camping and glamping pods on its grassy site near the causeway going across to Sanday. This is a fine spot to base yourself for a hiking adventure out to the roadless west of the island, from where the Outer Hebrides are all that stand between you and the full force of the Atlantic Ocean.