Scotland 2022: Exploring Eigg

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with a look at the beautiful and interesting island of Eigg.

I continue my account of my Scottish holiday with a look at our explorations of the island of Eigg, the third of four posts devoted to Friday (see here and here).

THE EXPLORATION

There are a cafe and a shop right where the boat drops one on the island of Eigg. Having noted the existence of these establishments we began our explorations. The first point of interest was some information about the island itself:

We then came to a memorial…

Then it was walk uphill, until we came to a footpath that we took. Conscious of time constraints we did not go massively far along the path, though what we saw was very scenic…

There were some more information boards before we got back to the cafe, which we were now ready to patronise. First this, about the geology of the inner Hebrides:

Then this about electricity and green issues:

The cafe proved to be excellent. I ate a bacon bap and drank a reasonably local beer that proved to be of splendid quality.

POST LUNCH

We did a little more exploring after lunch, before heading back to the boat, which we boarded in good time for the journey back to Arisaig. Eigg was very interesting as well as very scenic, and I enjoyed my visit there.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are my remaining pictures from Eigg…

Scotland 2022: The Crossing to Eigg

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with a look at the crossing from Arisaig to Eigg.

I continue my account of my recent Scottish holiday with a look at the boat trip from Arisaig to Eigg. This post picks up where yesterday’s left off.

THE BOAT TRIP TO EIGG

Though not by any means a large craft the boat taking us to Eigg was considerably larger and stouter than the one on which we travelled between Alderney and Guernsey earlier this year. Additionally, the presence of so many islands so tightly clustered together means that the Sound of Arisaig is not by any means as savage as one might expect of sea of the coast of Scotland. Finally, there was very little wind about, which further contributed to the crossing being a smooth one.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the pictures between Arisaig and Eigg…

Scotland 2022: An Adventurous Friday

Starting an account of the Friday of my Scottish holiday. There will be several more posts about the day.

I continue my coverage of my Scottish holiday with a multi-part account of Friday’s activities. In this post I set the scene for several more post.

THE PLAN IN OUTLINE

We had arranged to visit the island of Eigg, which involved journeying to Arisaig (home of mainland Britain’s most westerly railway station) to catch the boat. We would explore Eigg, get the boat back and then pay a quick visit to Mallaig before returning to Acharacle. To ensure not missing the boat we were underway by eight AM.

ACHARACLE TO ARISAIG

The journey from Acharacle to Arisaig is exceedingly scenic. Capturing said scenery on camera was rendered slightly challenging due the problems created by being in the back seat of a car with rather small rear windows, but I did get some good pictures. We arrived in Arisaig in good time, and were seated aboard the boat by 9:30, for a 10AM sailing.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are my photographs from leaving home to getting on the boat…

Scotland 2022: Acharacle

Welcome to the next post in my series about my Scottish holiday. This post focusses on Acharacle where we were staying, and the surrounding area. It covers Wednesday evening and Thursday of the week in question.

Birthday Meal

The evening of Wednesday June 1st featured a belated birthday meal at an excellent restaurant. I opted for smoked venison for a starter and steak for the main course, washed down by a rather good local beer.

THURSDAY: TWO LOCAL WALKS

Thursday had been forecast to be the least good day of the week weatherwise, and it was (although for western Scotland it was far from being bad). During the two periods when the weather was good enough to go out we did first a walk to the village shop, visiting the church on the way back, and then in the late afternoon/ early evening a walk over the Shiel bridge and then part way along one side of the loch that the river turns into in that direction (the Shiel is a very short river). There is a small settlement called Moss, and indeed mosses and lichens grow very luxuriantly in this part of the world.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are my photographs taken in and around Acharacle…

Scotland 2022: Singing Sands – Beach and Back

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with my second post about the Singing Sands.

Welcome to my latest post about my Scottish holiday, my second about the walk centred on the Singing Sands.

ON THE BEACH

We spent a little time on the beach, crossing the river that runs across it at a carefully picked spot that enabled us not to get our shoes wet. While we were on the beach I refreshed myself, having been sensible enough to equip myself with water and a little food. It was a truly splendid location, and I was careful to ensure that I left nothing other than footprints and took nothing other than photographs.

THE WALK BACK

We walked back the way we had come, seeing a few new things on the way. It had been a very enjoyable walk, and I recommend it to anyone who is in that part of western Scotland.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are my photographs from this second part of the walk…

Scotland 2022: The Walk to the Singing Sands

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with the first of two posts about the walk that formed the centrepiece of the Wednesday.

Welcome to the latest post in my account of my Scottish holiday which ended a week ago today. This post is the first of two posts covering the walk we did on the Wednesday. This involved a short car journey to the car park from which the walk began (doing it this way the walk was in region of six miles, three out and three back, which is manageable for all of us).

A LOCAL LANDMARK

The Singing Sands is the name given to a beach because when the wind is blowing it does indeed sound like the sand is singing, and it is approached by way of a good track which runs through what used to MOD territory and then more recently was managed by the Forestry Commission. The beach is accessed by a side path off this track.

THREE DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS

The walk starts alongside a patch of mud flats, then after the crossing of a bridge from which the remains of at least two earlier river crossings can be seen the track heads into the woods, and then finally one emerges to a sight of the beach which is remarkable. I will be covering the beach and the walk back in my next post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photographs from the parts of the walk covered in this post:

Scotland 2022: The Tour of Ardnamurchan Distillery

An account of a tour of the Ardnamurchan Distillery.

Welcome to the latest in my series of posts about my recent Scottish holiday. This post covers the tour of Ardnamurchan Distillery on the day of my birthday, now eight days ago.

A VERY NEW DISTILLERY

The Ardnamurchan distillery was built over the course of 2011 and 2012 and produced its first whisky in 2014. The tour was very comprehensive, taking in the warehouse and every stage of the distilling process. It ended with a sample of the product, which is very distinctive – virtually no smokiness or peatiness to it and sweeter than most whiskies. I rate it very highly myself. I will leave photographs to tell the rest of the story – click on an image to view it full size…

Scotland 2022: The Western Edge of Mainland Britain

An account of a quick visit to the westernmost point in mainland Britain.

I am continuing my series about my holiday in Scotland (after a long and stressful day of travelling back on Saturday I was far too tired to do anything yesterday). We have reached Tuesday (six days ago now), the centrepiece of which was a tour of the Ardnamurchan Distillery. That will be the subject of my next post, while this post deals with the first event of that day.

ARDNAMURCHAN POINT

The Ardnamurchan Distillery is located just west of the village of Glen Borrodale on the northern shore of Loch Sunart, which is the southern edge of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Beyond this to the west is Ardnamurchan Point, the westernmost point of mainland Britain (to give you an idea of how far west the Ardnamurchan peninsula juts out to the west, the Inner Hebridean isle of Eigg is due north of the western half of the peninsula), and our plan was to see this before arriving at the distillery for the 2PM start time of our tour.

Unfortunately, a combination of a later than intended start and the poor quality of some of the roads meant that we only had time for a very brief stop at the Western edge of mainland Britain before turning round and heading back to the distillery.

Here are the pictures from the outward car trip:

I just had time to take two pictures at the point:

The journey back to the distillery was enlivened by an encounter with someone I have dubbed ‘psycho cyclist’. We were behind him on the road and he took a long time to pull into the side so that we could get past, and did so with astonishingly bad grace – swearing at us and gesturing manically. I am normally sympathetic towards cyclists, but this individual did himself no favours with his wilfully aggressive and confrontational attitude. I took a few more pictures heading back:

Scotland 2022: The River Shiel and Tioram Castle

An account of a riverside walk centred on a 13th century ruined castle.

Those who read my first post in this series will not be surprised that following the events of Saturday we were all too knackered to do anything active on Sunday. Thus this post deals with Monday’s activity, a (mainly) riverside walk with Tioram Castle as its centre piece.

The River Shiel

For the first part of our walk we followed the road, but fortunately we were then able to divert on to a well made track following the river bank. The river Shiel is stunningly scenic, and as you will be seeing it has some quite interesting currents and whirlpools. Tioram Castle, a 13th century ruin that one cannot actually enter is located where the Shiel flows into Loch Shiel, a sea loch (for reference, what the Scots call a sea loch the Norwegians call a fjord). Here are some photos from the outward journey…

CASTLE TIORAM

The castle is approached across a causeway, and then along a path that is tricky in places. Here are some pictures to end this post…

Scotland 2022 Part 1: A More Adventurous Than Expected Journey

I am on holiday in Scotland for a week, staying in a place called Acharacle, a small town on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, the westernmost part of mainland Britain. The cottage (actually a glorified caravan which I would be prepared to bet was moved to its current site on the back of a lorry) has a decent wifi connection, so I will to be able to at least some posting while I am here. This post deals with my travels and travails getting here yesterday.

A ROUTE OF MANY CHANGES

The plan was that I would travel from King’s Lynn to Fort William, where my parents would collect me. This is not the most straightforward of journeys and the ticket I booked involved four changes – King’s Lynn to Ely, Ely to Peterborough, Peterborough to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to Glasgow, Glasgow to Fort William, and almost exactly 12 hours travel for the public transport leg of the journey. This would have been fine, but as you will see there was a rather major hitch.

A SMOOTH START

I got to King’s Lynn station in very good time for my train (indeed had I really hustled my way through the station I could have been on the earlier train, but decided there was little point). The train reached Ely very promptly, and I had the good fortune to get a quick onward connection to Peterborough (I accepted this piece of good fortune because although it meant more waiting at Peterborough for a train I had to be on, Peterborough like the majority of railway stations is less exposed than Ely). I found my seat on the train to Edinburgh without undue fuss, and enjoyed some excellent views between Newcastle and Edinburgh. Waverley proved not too difficult to negotiate and I was at the platform for my train to Glasgow in very good time.

The run to Glasgow was also smooth, and the train arrived at Glasgow Queen Street (low level) bang on schedule at 6:00, which in theory meant I had 23 minutes to get upstairs to the main station and find the platform for my train to Fort William. Unfortunately this was the cue for…

NIGHTMARE ON QUEEN STREET

I scanned the information screens for details of my train (on which I had a pre-booked seat – this leg of the journey was supposed to last three and three quarter hours) and found nothing. I sought assistance as departure time drew closer with no evidence of said train in site, only to discover that the service had been cancelled with no notification. After using my mobile phone to tell my parents about the problem I contacted my sister to see if she could help me find somewhere to stay overnight in Glasgow. As the evening wore on it became clear that that was not an option, and we settled on a taxi ride to Fort William station and a pick up from there by the parents. The taxi arrived in Fort William just after 11PM, and it still was not fully dark. The driver’s card reader failed to function due to how far we were from Glasgow, but my parents and I had enough cash between us to cover the fare (and every intention of getting the money back from Scotrail, the cause of the problem) and we settled up and set off for Acharacle. It was nearer one o’clock than 12 by the time we got there, meaning that I had been travelling for some 15 hours, with the only serious time spent other than on the move being the very antithesis of restful, so unsurprisingly I was exceedingly tired. The taxi windows were not big enough for taking photographs through, so in addition to everything else I was deprived of pictures of the most scenic part of the whole journey.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I do still have some photographs, some from the walk to the station and some from the most scenic sections of the parts of the train journey that actually happened…