Rum National Nature Reserve

Life on the edge

Extinct volcanoes, wilderness and spectacular wildlife await visitors to Rum National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Here, on a mountain top, is one of the world’s largest colonies of Manx shearwater – representing some 30% of the world’s breeding population. Sea cliffs also support magnificent colonies of other seabirds. Red-throated divers breed on inland lochans and golden and white-tailed eagles soar high above the mountains and moorland.

More obscure wildlife includes rare plants, a rich diversity of mosses, lichen and fungi, and thousands of types of invertebrates. Otters also abound along the shorelines.

An incredible mix of habitats supports this wealth of wildlife. Heaths, grasslands, sea cliffs, crevices and peatlands peppered with lochs and lochans have also earned the reserve international recognition.

As you approach Rum, the largest of the Small Isles, the rugged mountains set a dramatic stage for spectacular wildlife and geology.

There is lots to see and do on Rum, whether you want to climb the hills, walk through the glens or join a ranger-led event.

Find out more about visiting Rum NNR.

Listen to our Podcast as Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive of NatureScot visits Rum and explores this magical National Nature Reserve for this first time.  Interviewed by Ian Sargent, Nature Reserves Manager.

Top attractions

  • Watch out for huge white-tailed eagles and golden eagles. Both breed in good numbers here.
  • Wonder at one of the largest breeding colonies of Manx shearwater in the world. Join one of our night-time walks to the colony (temporarily suspended) or watch the birds feeding on the sea during the day.
  • Traverse the spectacular Rum Cuillin – one of Scotland's most spectacular routes. (check for any temporary advice regarding access on the Visiting the Reserve page)
  • Walk or cycle to Kilmory or Harris to see the famous Rum red deer. If you visit during the rut, expect to see and hear roaring stags battling for their harems of hinds.
  • Take the short walk up the Coire Dubh Trail – a good way to get a flavour of the reserve if you have limited time on the island.
  • Head to the otter hide near the pier to look out for otters, feeding red-throated divers, seals and other seabirds.
  • Stay overnight in one of two remote bothies at Guirdil or Dibidil.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.

Adventure and wild swimming on Rum NNR with Calum Maclean
Click for a full description

Calum Maclean goes on a wild swimming, exploring and photography adventure to Rum National Nature Reserve, exploring the landscape, wildlife and Gaelic references to nature on the small isle of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. ©NatureScot

What’s on?

Visit our Events page to see what upcoming events you can get involved in at this reserve.


Reserve manager: Lesley Watt

Rum Reserve Office
Isle of Rum
PA43 4RR

Telephone: 0131 314 4181
Email: [email protected]

Further information

Follow us on Instagram. Share your photos with us #RumNNR.

Find out more about the Isle of Rum Community Trust and what they offer visitors to the island.

Follow our NNR Facebook page for up-to-date information on reserves across Scotland.

Follow NatureScot’s Scotland’s Nature blog and find interesting articles on Scotland’s natural heritage.

Rum NNR is a member of VisitScotland and the GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme).

Enjoyed your visit?

  • Make a donation to support nature and visitor facilities on our NNRs.
  • Let us know what you thought on TripAdvisor.   

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government's Peatland ACTION programme, delivered in partnership with NatureScot and other agencies, peatland on this National Nature Reserve is being restored. Putting peatland on the road to recovery is helping Scotland tackle the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. 

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