On reaching the outer skerries of Arisiag I had simply pulled into a tiny sheltered bay and sat awhile. The last hour had been an exhausting mix of headwinds and small chop into which the bow slammed with every stroke of the paddle. The sort of conditions which although not difficult in any technical sense, allow no rest. And after some seven hours in the boat, I was keen to land. With the tide out, I ferried across the wind blown shallows, paddles scraping white sands below before eventually stepping into the still cold shallows and pulling the boat into a weed strewn gully above which was a perfect platform on which to rest, looking out over the sands towards The Cuillin.
I made several brews in quick succession, and watched the ebbing tide slow and stop. With that, the wind eased and I simply basked in the sun, debating my next move.
It was too good to go, so as the water rose, I trotted off among the islands, looking for a suitable pitch. Finding one with a steep shingle beach below that would make for an easy launch the next morning, I splashed back to the boat and paddled over the sands covered just minutes earlier, to set another idyllic camp overlooking the skerries and low summits of South Morar.
Established on one of the larger islands, another lazy evening followed as I explored my surroundings, taking pictures and gathering ticks in equal measure - most spotted quickly and removed without fuss, others requiring a little more care later that night.
The maze of The Skerries - it is easy to understand the popularity of the area though for now, the island was mine, the waters beyond home to otters which rolled in the shallows just yards from the shore as I watched, the air cooling as the sun sank.
Looking back on Rum...
...and later, towards Skye and The Cuillin - what a night it would have been to bivvy on the ridge...
...and then back across the sea to Eigg and Rum - the end of a long and tiring but wonderful day among wild, evocative landscapes. The next morning the shallow bays and channels were a mass of whitecaps driven by warm offshore winds and I paddled from one outcrop to the next before ferrying across the South Channel and on into the calm bay beyond.
The trip ended as it began, on the thickly wooded shoreline, among a mass of gear above the sheltered waters of Loch nan Ceal.
For those less familiar with the area, the map above shows the route taken.