Avian influenza: RUM Cuillin

Access through the globally important Manx Shearwater colony in the Rum Cuillin was restricted earlier this summer following confirmation that a bird found dead in the colony was infected with highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian flu.  We have since been carefully monitoring the colony.  We are relieved to report that there is no evidence of catastrophic avian flu impacts in the Rum Manx Shearwater colony.  

This reassuring news and the overall decrease in levels of shearwater activity at the colony as the end of the breeding season approaches means that the risk of incidental spread of avian flu, is much lower than earlier in the season. 

With this in mind, we will be reopening the main Rum Cuillin traverse walking route, from Friday 16th September 2022.  The situation through the spring and summer 2023 will be kept under active review based on available evidence around avian flu. 

Manx Shearwaters can still be present in the colony until mid-October.  Therefore, until 14 October 2022, visitors to the Rum Cuillin are asked to stay on paths, away from the shearwater burrows and not to stay for prolonged periods around the colony, this includes wild camping. This applies to areas above 450m on Barkeval, Hallival, Askival and Trollabhal only.  Please follow any biosecurity measures on the island.  

At this time of year, it is not unusual for fledgling Manx shearwaters to turn up in the village, attracted by lights. Visitors should not touch dead or live birds.