Scottish Highland Cattle, Isle of Rum, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Highland cattle near the track from Kinloch to Harris below Askival. The weather could be quickly changeable and bleak while I was on Rum, even though it was still late summer. The misty moorland conditions reminded me very much of being on my local moorland area of Dartmoor in Devon, but instead of shaggy highland cattle, Dartmoor has wild ponies and shaggy versions of other breeds of cattle, although there are a few highland cattle on Dartmoor too. I didn’t see that many highland cattle on Rum but a lot more red deer there. They have been the subject of research there for many years. It has been important in the development of socio-biology and behavioural ecology. In addition to its status as a nature reserve, Rum was designated a Biosphere Reserve from 1976 to 2002, a Site of Special Scientific Interest on 1987, and has 17 sites scheduled as nationally important ancient monuments. Rum is also noted for its bird life. Its population of 70,000 Manx shearwaters is one of the largest breeding colonies in the world. These migrating birds spend their winters in the South Atlantic off Brazil, and return to Rum every summer to breed in underground burrows high in the Cuillin Hills. White-tailed sea eagles were exterminated on the island by 1912 and later became extinct in Scotland. A programme of re-introduction began in 1975, and within ten years 82 young sea eagles from Norway had been released. There is now a successful breeding population in the wild. My most memorable wildlife encounter on Rum was being able to watch one of these magnificent birds soaring upwards through the steep precipitous valley on the seaward side of Askival and Ainshval.
- © 2012 Duncan Murrell
- Image Size
- 5388x3627 / 23.0MB
- Contained in galleries
- From the Isle of Mull to the Small Isles via Coll and Lunga