Monday, 26 September 2011

Eigg and a rough crossing

The forecast was for winds gusting up to 35 m.p.h. with showers and sunny spells and getting dryer for the evening. I wasn’t prepared to brave the seas in my own boat so I decided to catch the commercial boat from Arisaig to the island of Eigg.

I had discovered that in the summer months from the end of April until the end of September it sailed to Eigg then onto either Rum or Muck before returning to Eigg and then back to Arisaig. That meant that I had four hours ashore if I got off at Eigg before the boat returned. A plan was formed.

The Shearwater boat sails at 11am each morning however do check the timetables if you decide to take a trip as it varies where it goes depending on the day of the week. It was a nice bright but breezy morning when I went to catch the boat.

I was first to board so had my choice of seats. I wanted to get some photographs of the journey and although the rear seats looked inviting, I decided to sit just under the rear end of the canopy. My decision was based on previous experience in boats, even though I suspected my view could be obstructed by other passengers.

Sure enough, the boat soon filled with people and most headed for the rear seating. The boat made good headway in the sheltered waters of the South Channel of Loch nan Ceall. I managed one or two photos as the passengers looked happily at the seals and skerries but I was in no hurry to take photos. I guessed what would happen shortly.

Once we broke cover of the skerries, the waves began to break in the freshening winds.

Moments later a large wave broke and sent spume completely over the roof of the boat drenching the passengers sitting in the stern. Two of the younger ones, soaked to the skin tried to be braved and pretend it didn’t bother them, until another couple of waves came over the roof.

I then had my unobstructed view off the back of the boat. I was very glad I was in the commercial boat as my boat wouldn’t have stood a chance in the heavy seas.

Under an hour later we were pulling into the shelter of the harbour on Eigg.

That is when I got my first good look at the Sgurr of Eigg. This volcanic plug rises 1292 feet almost vertically from sea level and my plan was to get to the top and back to the harbour in time for the boat returning four hours later....


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hi Donald, I would never have made it up that Sgurr!

Donny Wilcox said...

Hi Douglas.. I thought that too when I first saw it...but ...

Perhaps next summer when we both have more time ?.. where there is a will there is a way :-D