No, instead it's our legs that are aching. We are still only just recovering from the Small Isles Games on Muck last weekend. This annually observed ritual takes, as I understand it, many forms depending on what island you are on, who attends and the quality of the after-games entertainment. Last year on Rum I missed it, but Rum was the proud winner of the tug-of-war, coming second to Muck in the other games due to the high number of Muck children taking part (you get a point for everyone who takes part whether adult or child - we think this is very unfair as we only have five children, most of whom are too small to participate...). It sounded like a great day, full of welly-wanging, axe-throwing, three-legged races and a Hill Race for the fitter amongst the islanders. Only the evening was somewhat overshadowed by the after-games entertainment, namely some Eigg participants drunkenly trashing our benches and driving someone else's car into a ditch...
This year everything was most civilised. To my surprise, nearly everyone on Rum was planning to go and so early on Saturday morning we encountered the unexpected sight of everyone up, dressed and slogging towards the ferry with huge rucksacks at 8.30 in the morning. Armed with sleeping bags, tents, cookers, changes of clothing, emergency food, cigarettes and dogs the Rum team trudged down the sunny slipway towards a Calmac breakfast and the chance of seeing whales en route for Muck (I mean we were en route, not the whales, although at one point they did seem to be...)
It was a beautiful day and once we had breakfasted we headed up on deck (well, some of us - others took the opportunity to nap in the Calmac cafe or exchange gossip about last year's Games), excited by the opportunity to see Rum from the Other Side. The Saturday ferry calls at Canna first, then goes round the back of Rum towards Muck before heading to Eigg...a whole different view of our island. We called at Canna and saw that everyone on the island seemed to be going to Muck - there are only about 12 of them, but normally they don't take part at all, so this was an encouraging sight. We marvelled at the number of churches on Canna and the strange sight of cows grazing the fields - like a different world compared to Rum - and were to be astonished again by how different Muck is to either...
|Rum from the Other Side...|
|Glen Harris with mausoleum just visible on the left|
|Approaching Muck harbour, Rum in the background|
Shearwaters flew in huge flocks around the ferry as we approached while I looked in astonishment at how imposing Rum is when seen from the water. We are the biggest of the Small Isles and yet perhaps the least accessible. I thought about how much of the island we could see and how little of it is inhabitable - how hard it is to penetrate into that rocky, boggy interior. But at the same time, how proud I was to live there. Perhaps I was becoming a "Rummite" (or "Rummette") after all - or perhaps it was that team spirit asserting itself in preparation for our very own Olympics!
|The Rumachs arrive at Muck...|
|Tea! And cake!|
|The Men's Flat Race. Where are the Rum men???|
|Getting ready for the obstacle race...arms OUTSIDE the barrel Lesley...|
|The successful team practises their "sledding" technique - Trudi and Nic are dubious...|
|...but it worked!|
|Pushing the quad bike...a well-known Hebridean Sport|
The Tug of War should have followed, which we won last year, so we lined up - yes, even the men. This was a point of honour! The tug-of-war was to be Mel's and my last event as we had to go home (Mel was working) with Bonnie the dog (she can't ceilidh)...so we got into place, grasped the rope and...fell over. The rope had snapped! While they were waiting for a new one to arrive, we sadly had to leave. It was now pouring with rain so we sat in the ferry in the "Dog Area", eating chips and going to sleep, while Bonnie took exception to an unnecessarily adorned English Sheepdog ("why are you wearing a stupid bow in your hair?") and children threw cuddly puffins at us (well, one)...it had been an exhausting and wonderful Day Out!
Although we were not there for the evening, reports state that the ceilidh, barbecue and overnighting were lovely despite the heavy rain - so a successful day out was had by all. I was proud of our team and don't think I have laughed so much since coming to Rum...it was great to know that we can literally pull together...even if we do fall over in the process.
|That's where we live over there, that is!|