We can never really tell what the day will hold, as we weighed anchor at Glen Elg Bay yesterday morning, this was never more true.
The wind direction was southerly and as our heading was 26nm south, it wasn’t so good for us, we could have tacked all the way, but after a general discussion it was decided not to bother and to head straight to Eigg on the engine.
The issue with tacking is; that as a general rule of thumb we would have to times our distance by four to get to our destination, and in this instance be hadn’t been ashore for 30 hours, so the prospect of another eighteen hours in light winds on the boat wasn’t greeted by glee from anyone.
We set off at 7.30am on a heading of 218’ and that was our tack straight into Eigg, but before eight am we had seen dolphin’s and seals playing in the over falls around us.
Going into Eigg harbour at 12.30 which was low tide was a good shout as all the dangerous rocks were exposed! We anchored as directed in the almanac at 1 cable north of the ferry terminal. We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed ashore by tender to the pier. Here we split up for our own adventures ashore, but all agreeing to meet at the shop/café/bar/post office (one building does all) at 5.30.
Sean and I set off thinking that we would take the road leading to the old harbour, and see where that took us, well we had gone no further than five minutes, when we met a man tending his vegetable plot, he was obviously in the mood for a chat, in as much as we were in the mood to quiz him about island life. So forty minutes later, we had established Chris had spent some time in Fowey and knew several of the people we did, from Polperro, Looe and Fowey. Chris had gone sailing on his boat about five years ago, once he and his wife arrived at Eigg they never left, and he now owned a bothy by the foreshore, which he let out in the summer, whilst he could move back to his boat. He also supplemented his income by growing his own vegetables, pigs and chickens!
Sean and I moved on from Chris and completed a circular walk as directed by another local further along the road, the walk took us the best part of two hours, taking us initially inland to the primary school, the we took the road to the coast, and took a footpath off to the right once we were at the mill, which would have been graded moderate by the ramblers association!
So once back at the community building at the quay, we got ourselves some refreshments and sat amongst the locals outside enjoying the sunshine. Chris was amongst this group, we all got chatting and it wasn’t very long before we were being regaled by funny stories about island life.
Apparently the old village shop was in the centre of the island and run by a lady called Peggy. A holiday maker went into her shop one day to ask for a newspaper, Peggy said’ is it todays or yesterday’s you’ll be after’ the customer looked at her strangely and replied todays, to which Peggy said ‘ then you’ll have to come back tomorrow for today’s then’.
On another occasion a helicopter landed on Ruhm island which is next to Eigg and offloaded two T.V. licensing inspectors, and they prosecuted a number of the islanders for not buying a T.V license. The helicopter then landed on Eigg where not a television could be found on the whole island! They did find one satellite dish, although there was no television on the premises, this gentleman was prosecuted on probability!
The island is quite relaxed with vehicle licensing, car insurance and drink drive matters, but when the police leave the mainland to carry out checks on Eigg, there isn’t a car to be found on any road, they are all off road, not in use! Apparently a shout goes out over the VHF channel to alert the islanders. Obviously when we were there we didn’t see a single car in use, they are a well behaved lot these islanders!
We were told they did have a ‘Special’ but he was sacked for drink driving!
Chris suggested that we move our boat into the inner harbour and pick up his strop, but this could only be done an hour either side of high tide, so it was with some regret that we left these gentleman and repositioned the boat. Now we did this so that we could paddle ashore, and then walk back to the boat carrying the tender later in the evening on our return from a Ceilidh, as the boat would dry out in her new position, low tide was at 1am.
Off we went to the Ceilidh in the village hall, but not really knowing what we should expect. What a surprise, we had an evening of laughter and fun, the five piece group, playing the small pipes, a double base, beat box, guitar and fiddle, had most of us up on our feet, dancing all sorts of Scottish jigs. Obviously helped by the ‘correct size’ measures poured at the bar!
The evening took an unexpected turn about midnight, when Mo who was on another boat (Marian and Simon had previously met Mo and her husband Paul in the Caledonian Canal), ripped the tendon in her ankle when dancing, a serious case of ouch! The foot swelled immediately, and Mo was unable to support her owned weight, thankfully in one respect her boat was against the harbour wall, but on the other hand the tide was low and it meant getting Mo down a ladder onto the boat.
There was a first responder at the Ceilidh, who helped Mo into the car and then she drove us all to the quay in her land rover. It was with enormous difficulty that Mo, was hoisted back onto the boat, with the aid of four other people, the doctor was then summoned. Meanwhile Marian and I had walked round to our side of the bay to retrieve the dinghy and bring that back to the boat, in the dark (less daylight now we are coming south again) across slippery seaweed and sand, we did giggle as we slipped and stumbled our way back.
It could be said we had a smashing day out on Eigg, we discussed staying a couple more days, but the weather is due to change tomorrow. Rain is predicted and although Eigg was lovely for exploring in the sunshine, none of us were so keen to stay in heavy weather for a few more days.
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