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The Isle of Eigg

As you approach Eigg by ferry, the view is dominated by the pitchstone stump of the Sgurr reaching for the sky. A remarkable island.

The chief island of the four Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides, Eigg has a habitation history dating back to at least the Bronze Age. Nowadays it is a progressive community which has in recent years secured a community buyout from private ownership and has developed a green electricity network (Eigg Electric) meaning the island runs virtually completely on renewables - solar arrays, wind turbines and a small hydro turbine in conjunction with batteries and a traffic light system for users mean it falls back on diesel generators just 2% of the time.

Size: 11 square miles
Population: 83
Ferries: The Small Isles Ferry (CalMac) from Mallaig; MV Sheerwater from Arisaig.
Airport: none.
Accommodation: hostel, self catering cottages and bed & breakfast
Bike hire: £15/day, next to the ferry pier.
Island Website: www.isleofeigg.org
Map: OS Explorer 397 buy

By the ferry pier at Galmisdale is the cafe/bar/restaurant, post office and shop, craft shop, toilets and bike hire.

On Mondays it is practical to visit on the large CalMac ferry from Mallaig, fare £7.70, which makes two visits to the island thus giving you about 5 hours on the island. On Saturdays you can do similar, with 4.5 hours ashore, though the ferry makes a meandering cruise around all of the Small Isles - ideal if you want to see them all. This is April - October.
Most days (except Thursdays) the private MV Sheerwater runs from Arisaig to Eigg, giving from 4 to 5 hours ashore, fare £18. April - September.

The obvious activity is a walk up the Sgurr. It's about 5 miles for the round trip, taking 3 - 4 hours, on paths from the ferry pier. While approaching it seems inaccessible, but in fact the path turns right underneath the base and leads up an easy route around the back, leading you onto the summit on a pavement similar to the Giant's Causeway or the Isle of Staffa. From here you have, on a clear day, an impressive view across the Sea of the Hebrides taking in the mountains on Skye and Rum, the other islands scattered around you in the sea, and mainland Scotland.

Other things to see on the island include the Singing Sands at Laig Bay. This is across the island's one road which heads about 4 miles across a low ridge to reach the hamlets of Cleadale and Laig. There's a small free museum about half way, and a cottage which offers cream teas.

To the south of the Sgurr is the abandoned settlement of Grulin, and nearby the Massacre Cave where in the 1700s all 400 of the island's residents died during a clan feud - they'd hidden in the cave and the MacLeods of Skye set a fire at the entrance which asphyxiated everyone. En route here at low tide you can also visit the Cathedral Cave. This is a 2 hour walk.

Posted by Andyf 07:14 Archived in Scotland Tagged hebrides inner_hebrides eigg isle_of_eigg small_isles sgurr an_sgurr sgurr_of_eigg

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