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An Sgurr (Eigg)


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This is a wee walk with lots of unique character; it's on the beautiful island of Eigg in the Sea of the Hebrides, about one hour by ferry from Mallaig on the west coast. The island is due west of Arisaig. The current population is about 70 and the island has had a recent stormy history, culminating in a community buyout, thus hopefully ensuring a bright future.

Work has recently also commenced on a new pier and causeway, which will allow the CalMac ferry to tie up. Even this large engineering project however is completely dominated by the fantastic rock scenery of An Sgurr, the peak, a feature visible from a great distance and the point of this walk. The Sgurr is a narrow ridge of volcanic rock, a fine-grained pitchstone. At its west end it soars vertically, forming a formidable pillar. Luckily, the walk sneaks round the back of the Sgurr and requires only a short scramble.

From what will become the old pier at Galmisdale, follow the road east, zigzag through a wood, to cross another road and continue by a track over the now open moor. Go first north then bend back to the west towards the Sgurr, finally skirting it on the north. At the first obvious breach in its defences, a path goes through a rocky gate onto a grassy col. A brief zigzag and short scramble leads to the ridge. Here you will find a peculiar cobbly surface, where columns of pitchstone have been weathered.

The trig point must have been a pleasure to build, perched on the edge and overlooking one of the most beautiful stretches of water in the northern hemisphere. To the north west is Rum, to the east the big mountains of the mainland. All around are scattered more islands; Muck to the south east, Skye to the north, while directly south the craggy point of Ardnamurchan juts out into the sea, the most westerly point of the mainland.

Descent, however reluctantly made, is by the same route.

You will probably wish to stay overnight; this helps the local community. Most accommodation is bed and breakfast. You can contact the local tourist information office in Fort William on 01397 703781 or email them at: fortwilliam@host.co.uk.

For ferry information, Caledonian MacBrayne, Mallaig (m.v. Loch Nevis) Tel. 01687 462403 or 462011, or from Arisaig, Arisaig Marine (m.v. Shearwater) Tel. 01687 450224 (Easter to late September). Note that some days have no ferry service. Also check out their websites at www.isleofeigg.org, www.calmac.co.uk, and www.arisaig.co.uk

 

Maps: OS Sheet 39 'Rum, Eigg & Muck'
Distance: 4 km
Ascent: 390 m
Time: 2 hours
Food & Drink: There is a shop and post office behind the pier.

 

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