Saturday, 9 November 2013

Eigg bound

A request from my husband to visit Scotland, some enthusiastic researching from my part, and weeks of anticipation as we awaited our trip to Eigg. Finally the day arrived, and our adventure began, with a train journey from Glasgow to Fort William, which didn't disappoint. At every turn, another stunning landscape to take your breath away, and more than once many stags on the hills seemed positioned there just for our delight. We were almost sorry to arrive. In Fort William we stayed in a nice hotel with a swimming pool, and after a swim we ate a really good pub dinner in their lounge, and chilled out with baths and TV. The next morning we rose bright and early, ready to embrace the next part of our journey - the fabled train ride to Mallaig, hailed by many as the most beautiful stretch of train travel in the world! More of the same awaited us, with hills, lochs and moorland as far as the eye could see, and many stops, at many remote Highland towns. Eventually we arrived in Mallaig, just in time to catch the ferry to Eigg. We spent the whole journey outside in the freezing wind, as we'd heard stories of whales, dolphins and seals here, but all we saw were lots of birds. The ferry docked and we'd made it! We walked along the only road in Eigg, leading us to the heart of the island, and here we found our yurt. The next few days were spent in a blur of rain, shoes drying by the woodburner, home-made desserts being delivered to our door, long long walks, boggy ground, and snuggling under four duvets. It was the kind of remote, wet holiday that makes you feel like you're doing something worthy, and a bit difficult. Halfway through our stay, whilst walking on an empty beach with plastic bags on our feet, we came across two Frenchmen with a message. The last ferry for the week would be leaving the island in one hour, as a poor weather forecast meant it would not sail on the Friday when we'd planned to leave. This presented a fun challenge for us, as we were an hour's walk from the yurt. The decision was promptly made to turn around, head back as fast as possible, pack at lightning speed and request a lift to the ferryport. I knew I couldn't travel on my little legs as fast as Matt could on his long ones, so I urged him to go on without me. I don't think I'll ever forget the image of him running up the hill as the hailstones set in! I trudged on, battling the elements all the way, and arrived at the yurt like a drowned rat, to find everything packed, car waiting. At the ferry port we watched, sodden, as the ferry battled the wind for two hours, trying to reach the shore. As soon as it did we hopped on. I peeled off my layers of waterproofs, shoes, plastic bags and wet socks, and sent Matt to buy tea and chips. No hanging about outside this time! In the meantime the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shone on Eigg as we left it behind. Back in Mallaig we found the most spotless backpackers I've ever seen and gloried in the luxuries of central heating and TV. We discovered that with plenty of local walks, we'd have more than enough to do here, and stayed two nights. The next day was spent walking in the rain again, taking in the Singing Sands at Morar and a local Loch. On Friday we treated ourselves to a swim instead of walking, and whiled away some time in a cosy cafe, reading. Then it was back on the trains to Glasgow, where we spent the final night of our Highland adventure. What fun we had, how wet our feet, how wholesome and fulfilling... and what a lovely photo album we have filled!

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