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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Highland Adventures- Isle of Eigg

Star rating 9/10

The Isle of Eigg is pretty much what you might picture for your perfect Scottish hideaway (of course minus the sunshine - for today at least). It is dramatic and beautiful with a colourful and bloody history.

My minor achievement today was climbing An Sgurr, which at 383m is not bad for an afternoon's work. And although the mist obscured the view from the summit, I am assured it is usually pretty impressive.

Eigg was the subject of a community buyout in 1997 from former Olympic bobsleigher and not so great landlord Keith Schellenberg. Today it is home to a small but seemingly thriving community, and some very endearing collie dogs too.

It has a rugged coast line, which as well as being isolated and very scenic, also has some caves with a fascinating history. One is called Massacre Cave, after a sixteenth century clan rivalry which ended up with the whole Eigg community being burnt alive in the said cave. All except an old woman who refused to retreat to the cave, and also refused to give away the hiding place of her clansfolk. Sounds like a tough Scottish cookie.

The same cave was also the hideout for a follower of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The poor wee lamb found the stone a bit hard for a pillow and asked his personal gillie to cut him a sod of earth to rest his head on. His gillie conjectured that it was a pretty pointless exercise as he was going to lose his head the next day - which the story goes he duly did. You just can't get the staff...

Eigg is magical, dramatic and pretty special, and there's no way I'm going to let a bit of mist get in the way of a good story. And I will most definitely return one day.

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