Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Visiting the Isle of Eigg (part 1)

Back in February I was fortunate to visit the Isle of Eigg, part of the Inner Hebrides off the NW coast of Scotland. I didn't blog about it at the time, as I was visiting to assess the island as an Ashden Awards applicant, but now they've come through the judging process and emerged as a winner, it's time for me to share some of the amazing photos from the trip.

There's a lot of photos, so this post will just cover the trip to Eigg, and I'll do another one shortly.

The first thing to say is that it's a long way to Eigg, but well worth the trip. I actually started from near Manchester, having visited another applicant in that area, and I left at 7am, arriving in Glasgow around lunchtime. From Glasgow, I got the train to the port of Mallaig, which took until about 5:30pm, but was one of the most amazing scenic train rides ever.

Not long after leaving Glasgow you're into the Loch Lomond area, with views like this:

but it's not much further and you really feel like you're in the mountains, like at this little station where we stopped for a few minutes:

I was very pleased to have a clean train window, so I was able to get some nice pictures through it. Every now and then I'd time one just right, like this:

As we carried on, it became very desolate but still beautiful:

but a few hardy souls had clearly lived here in the past:

The sun was setting as we were in the Fort William area:

which sadly meant I had to do the rest of the trip to Mallaig in darkness, including the bridge the train in the Harry Potter films drives over - apparently in the summer you can ride on the actual train!

I stayed at a lovely pub/B&B in Mallaig, the Clachain Inn, although seeing as it was February they weren't serving dinner (and had kindly forewarned me of this), but neither was anywhere else, except...
the Fishermen's Mission! I had a good and cheap dinner there of egg, chips and beans, and then went to rest, ready for my ferry trip the next morning.

The ferry left mid morning from Mallaig, but I went down to the harbour a bit early to get a few pictures.

before long we were cruising across a calm sea, with a nice view back to Mallaig:

The weather was most uncharacteristic for mid February!

It's not really very far to the Isle of Eigg, and quite quickly I could easily see Eigg and Rum:

Here's some closer pictures, first of Rum:

and then Eigg:

Some parts of Eigg look quite desolate, like this bit (with Rum poking up behind it):

But other parts are much more gentle, and you start to notice houses dotted around:

Prominently visible is The Sgurr, which is apparently the left over from an eruption of the volcano which formed Rum (according to Wikipedia...)

There's a pier the ferry docks at - although this was only built a few years ago. Prior to that, you had to transfer to shore in smaller boats I think, and if you brought a car to the island, it wasn't going to leave again!

I was promptly welcomed to the island by a sign, but also the friendly people who were my hosts for the next couple of days.
to be continued... (in the meantime, read about why I was visiting Eigg)


Read part 2 of Visiting the Isle of Eigg
Read part 3 of Visiting the Isle of Eigg

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