Kenneth Steven looks at Rum, a wild and windswept Hebridean island, and responds to its landscape in poetry.
Kenneth Steven looks at Rum, a wild and windswept Hebridean island, and responds to its landscape in poetry. Rum is the largest of a group making up the 'Small Isles', Rum, Muck, Eigg and Canna, lying west of the fishing port of Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands. 'I don't know a Hebridean island more beautiful to approach. Every time I do I think of it again as a treasure island.'
Its remote and rugged beauty attracted an eccentric Victorian industrialist, who bought it and attempted to transform it into his own vision of an island home, complete with a castle. 'The castle itself was built of red sandstone and shaped from the Isle of Arran. Greenhouses were brought for the growing of peaches, grapes and nectarines. There were heated pools for turtles and alligators; an aviary was constructed for birds of paradise and humming birds.'
It was not to last, and Kenneth looks at what's left of the island fantasy today, leaving him with a profound sense of sadness.