The Isle of Eigg
The month of May brings on our annual trip to Scotland, this year we’ve chosen the Small Isles and this blog is all about The Isle of Eigg. Dave and I have been heading up to Scotland at this time of year for a fair few years now, we’ve never had bad weather and the dreaded Scottish Midge is still sleeping (almost).
Now we have the Robot, gone are the days of cycling and free camping in the middle of nowhere, for now at least. We have to think about food and food that the almost 2-year-old will actually eat. He’s not too much of a fussy eater and thankfully a camping stove favourite of pasta and red sauce with cheese goes down well.
Last year we went to Knoydart and had a food shortage that stressed me out with my at the time 10 month old. This time we made sure we had a decent supply of food packed in our bags so we didn’t have to rely on the shop and whether it was well stocked.
We travelled up to Scotland with an over night stop in a campsite in Glencoe and we parked our car in Mallaig. Thankfully they let you park for free around the bay so you can catch a ferry on foot and you don’t need to worry about coming back. On foot with camping stuff for 3 is a tad heavy but we managed it by making the Robot walk and carry his own tiny backpack with his mini lightweight toys. He still amazes me how much he’ll happily walk, it’s slow but often miles!
We caught a CalMac ferry over to the Island of Eigg, they don’t run every day so its worth doing your research. Also it’s worth noting that if use a petrol stove, like we do, do not have it on show. They do not let you carry on petrol cans without a permit. As we’ve been on the Islands before with petrol we did not know this. We had to abandon our fuel in Mallaig never to be seen again… It’s great catching the ferry with a toddler because ultimately its brilliant!
I may have used the term camping lightly before, when researching the islands, I spotted that most of them have camping pods and on asking whether they were available they were. I pulled rank (if you’ve read this, you may figure out why) and requested the pods to sleep in with the luxury of mattresses and the ability to stand up and sit down!! We booked these with Eigg Camping Pods. At £35 a night it was well worth it, they charged for the Robot at an extra £5 which I was a bit grumpy with because he’s under 2 but I didn’t quibble with them because you can’t get a camping pod in the Lake District for less (not researched!!).
They’re a year old and pristine too, with electric, a heater and kettle so you can’t complain really. They all have a fire pit and easy to collect wood which was our fall back method of cooking tea as we only had what fuel was left in the stove to get us through the next 5 days.
You have to love the view from the camping pods:
After a restful nights sleep and a leisurely morning of double breakfasts and collecting water and firewood we decide to hire bikes so we could explore the island. We got these from Eigg Adventures. They help run the camping pods and they are based at the end of the jetty where the cafe, shop and toilets are. All within a 2 minute (5 with a toddler) walk to our pod. This is also where we could shower and get water from while on the island. We set off over the Island with a picnic:
We cycled to Laig Bay, a bit further along is Singing Sands and after speaking to people after I’m kicking myself for not going because apparently it is the better beach. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but this after knowledge didn’t spoil our fun for the day and is probably debatable! We ate our sandwiches on arrival then took off our shoes and went to explore the sand and sea…
It was absolutely beautiful, the sand is a striped yellow and black and we pretty much had the beach and view to ourselves. The view over the sea is stunning showing off the Island of Rum in all its fabulous glory. If the Robot had his way he’d have been fully naked and splashing around in the sea, however with the sun we limited him to legs and a jumper, then a t-shirt. It’s May, not August and the sea was freezing! Needless to say I let Dave entertain him with the boings and splashes in the sea.
After the sea got too much they ran around the beach, jumping on abandoned sand castles. It kept them busy for ages. I made the most of the dual parenting and chilled out with the bag and biscuits!
Other than the shop we didn’t use the many different mini cafes on the Island as we had enough food to eat with us, they all looked good and if we go again we’d factor a meal out at them… When we got back to the camping pod that evening we cooked tea and had quick showers. While I put the Robot to bed, Dave went for an explore on the bike, the bonus of longer light nights in the Summer. It was a beautiful day and one we won’t forget.
The next day it was time to leave the island, however with a toddler we woke at 6am and had 4 hours to kill before even leaving the camping pod let alone the island. We ate breakfast and took off on a short bike ride up the hill to see a bit more. I absolutely love the shape of the mountain on Eigg – An Sgùrr – it looks so impressive standing all high up there.
While on holiday we often talk about re-visiting places and we often decide that we probably wouldn’t go back, not because they aren’t amazing but because there is always new places to explore. The Isle of Eigg is not one of these places! We definitely would like to come back one day when the kids are older, with bikes and tents. We’d free camp, climb the mountain, visit the other beaches and definitely eat out in the main cafe!
Have you ever visited the Small Isles of Scotland before? After The Isle of Eigg we caught the ferry on to the Isle of Rum which is coming very soon…