Tuesday 28 July 2015
Day trip to Eigg
4 miles walked
Silversands Campsite, Arisaig
It rained all night and persistently all day as well. When I got up I discovered my tent was now surrounded by puddles and bog, which wasn’t a great sign but I just left it and hoped it would survive. I drove back to Mallaig just for the hell of the twisty, turny drive and the views of small white beaches. I parked up by the port and made some cheese and tomato sandwiches with the rest of yesterday’s provisions. A fine breakfast, and washed down with a coffee. I spent some time trying to plan and then drove back to Arisaig to catch the 11 am ferry to Eigg.
The campsite manager had recommended the Arisaig ferry rather than the Calmac ferry from Mallaig as “if they see wildlife they divert to go and look at it”. That sounded like the ferry for me. There were lots of sea kayakers already out paddling in Loch nan Ceal and the Sound of Sleat. We were about halfway across the Sound when someone yelled “whale” and everyone on board scrambled for a view. The boat driver idled the engine and we looked, and looked, and eventually it popped up for a breath. On the 3rd time I finally saw it (it didn’t move in a straight line and we weren’t steady either so you had to be in the right place on the boat and looking in the right direction to get a view). I saw it 3 times and the driver chased it for a bit. It was one, or maybe two (the fins looked different) Minke Whales. Fantastic. I also saw a couple of Dolphins that were playing with some sea kayakers, but they were in the distance.
We were 15 minutes late landing at Eigg but no one cared. It’s a small island that I don’t have a map for nor had I done any research about it so I decided to walk up An Sgurr, the big ‘cliff’ that dominates the island. I bought a postcard with a rubbish map on it just in case, even though it was useless, because I felt naked without a map. It took me just over an hour to negotiate the mud and the bog to the top. It was worth it for the amazing views…not today!
It was still raining and everything was shades of grey. I could see the closer islands and vaguely make out the mainland in the distance but that was it. At least the walk was enjoyable; I like going up hills.
The way down seemed trickier as the rain was coming down harder and the rocks were slippy. Time for a mug of tea and a cake in the tea room.
I braved the weather again to wander around the beach, whereupon I was dive bombed by some terns.
The wind had picked up for the ferry back and so it was a case of hunkering down out of the spray. A few birds but no cetaceans to be seen.
I drove into Mallaig again in the hope of getting some wifi but didn’t succeed. I headed back to the campsite, checked my tent wasn’t flooded, and popped across the road to the field where the Highland Games will be taking place tomorrow. There was a beer tent and some live ceilidh music so I hung around for a bit. It was freezing cold and I was wearing all of my top layers (but still wearing my shorts).