An Introduction to Eigg.

Start. Galmisdale.

Route. Galmisdale - Galmisdale Wood - Galmisdale House - Cnoc Airigh Mhic Dhonnachaidh Mhic Neill - An Sgurr - Cnoc Airigh Mhic Dhonnachaidh Mhic Neill - Galmisdale House - Galmisdale Wood - Galmisdale.

Notes. There we were on the summer service sailing between Arisaig and Eigg, our intention to walk to a couple of caves with a grizzly history. As Eigg grew larger an intense desire overcome me, the urge to climb An Sgurr, the sharks fin of volcanic rock that dominates the islands skyline. Sometimes you instinctively know what your partner is thinking, without a word spoken the decision was made, An Sgurr was there to be conquered.

Close your eyes imagine a landscape very different from today, a landscape born of fire and ice. Over 58 million years ago a massive volcano on the island that is now Rum blasted tonnes of super heated ash into the atmosphere, rivers of molten lava pouring from rents in it's side, one particular flow filled a prehistoric river bed. Over millennia the land rises, ice and water erode the softer rock leaving what geologists describe as the largest exposed piece of pitchstone in the UK, this pitchstone ridge is the most distinct feature on Eigg, the rock is heaven to walk upon and we were about to climb it.

After disembarking at the Galmisdale Slipway we ascended the road, passed the islands store and restaurant, at the top of the hill the path swung left guiding us through woodland of birch and oak, the forest floor was alive with bluebells, primrose and wild garlic, the smell was overpowering. On exiting the woods we were gifted with awesome views over sheep pastures, Galmisdale House stood dwarfed by the massive cliffs of An Sgurr. We walked through the field, passed to the right of house then swung left. After passing behind the buildings a small cairn marked a path junction, we turned right stepping onto the path that would guide us under the cliffs of An Sgurr then hopefully up them. Over heather and bracken moorland we ascended, a narrow but easy to follow path under foot, every so often red dots kept us on track, after passing under the impenetrable cliffs the path unexpectedly turned up hill ascending through a steep(ish) rake depositing us in a high grassy valley. We turned left ascending over wonderful rock, akin to climbing over sand paper, the path then cut along the south edge of the ridge before depositing us on the summit.

The views were absolutely staggering, mind blowing in fact, the precipitous cliffs of Rum crashed into the sea, the eastern tip of Canna, not so hilly but on the to do list, Muck almost within touching distance, and Skye up to now my favourite of all the places we've visited in Scotland, a place to return to again and again, a liberal sprinkling of small islands, islets and rocky reefs littered the west coast, the coast we've been driving and walking through all week. Sadly time was running out, we had a boat to catch, the last ferry back to the main land, with haste we re-traced our steps with thoughts of making another visit soon. With a little time to kill we opted for lunch in the Galmisdale Café, boy was I surprised, there isn't a posh city restaurant in all the city's I've visited over the years that can compete with this island café, and it's cheap. Make the crossing if not to walk just to dine.

view route map.


Approaching Eigg looking to the most distinctive feature on the island, An Sgurr.

The west coast of Scotland seen over the pier and breakwater, the island was bought in 1997 by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, a partnership between the residents of Eigg and the Highland Council, the standing stone to the right commemorates the event, a grand turning point in the islands fortune.

Galmisdale House rests forever in the shadow of An Sgurr.

Looking back over the Sound of Eigg to the hills of the mainland.

The formidable cliffs of An Sgurr.

A wonderful view to the coast of Arisaig, look closely you can just make out the beautiful beaches of Morar.

Dwarfed by the landscape, An Sgurr towers above us.

Our first view of the island of Rum.

Seen from under the cliffs of An Sgurr the mountains of Rum, Ainshval, Trollaval and Askival.

Sue ascends the grassy rake that leads to a high valley and easy scramble.

Seen across the Sound of Eigg, Muck island.

Sue stops to drink in mouth-watering views.

A stunning view from the summit ridge, the many mountains of Rum.

Yours truly poses on the summit of An Sgurr with the island of Rum as a backdrop.

One of many spectacular views from the summit of An Sgurr.

Viewing Laig Bay from the heights of An Sgurr with the Isle of Skye across the horizon.

Another view to the Isle of Skye.

Disappointed to be leaving but we have a boat to catch.

Looking back to the distant drama of An Sgurr.

The grandest object on Eigg.

Galmisdale House with a sunlit An Sgurr rising behind.

View taken towards An Cruachan from Galmisdale.

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