The format of the Malts Cruise includes a series of group rendezvous during the independent cruising periods; a chance for the sailors to socialise, swap stories on their cruising adventures and plan their next few days. Rum, the largest of the "small isles", proved to be a great location for the first of three Malts Cruise get-togethers.
Twenty-five yachts arrived at Loch Scresort on the west side of Rum for the party. The wide bay not only provides plenty of room for the boats to anchor, but also facilities in the small village ashore offer a chance for a shower and top-up of provisions. Around 40 people live on Rum, although the community is boosted to around 200 by summer visitors who come to enjoy the walking and wildlife of this remote island, run as a reserve by Scottish Natural Heritage. In addition to a fascinating lecture of Rum's history, geology, ecology, the island's community wildlife ranger Mike Werndly, led two guided walks to spot rare white-tailed sea eagles. The island is an important nesting location for many birds, but especially the sea eagles which were successfully reintroduced from Norway with the first colony established in the 1970's on Rum.
Another attraction for the visitors was Kinloch Castle, an Edwardian country house now run as a museum and hostel. Many of the cruisers joined in with the specially arranged tours to explore the unique interior of what was once an extravagant building from the high-point of the "belle epoch", padding barefoot across fading Persian rugs and tiger skins covering the drawing room floor. Truly something most did not expect to find on Scottish island!
Highlight of the visit was the the barbeque organised by the Rum Community Trust which was enjoyed by everyone. Local venison featured strongly on the menu and the community hall provided a warm and welcoming venue. Even on a whisky cruise, Rum was very popular!
From Rum, yachts will again head north cruising in company over the next two days, towards the next rendezvous at Loch Harport on Skye, home of the renown Talisker Distillery.