Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Sgurr of Eigg and its squalls

I wondered if there would be many fellow passengers getting off at Eigg with the intention of climbing the Sgurr. I prefer my hill walks to be in solitude rather than in the company of crowds. To my delight most folk stayed on the boat to go on to the Isle of Muck. Of the few that disembarked with myself, they headed for the cafe bar on the pier head. By the time I reached the monument commemorating the local people buying the island from its absentee owners in 1997, I was alone with my thoughts.

I stopped briefly for a photograph then hurried on as I wasn’t sure how long the walk would take. I had decided to keep walking for two hours. If I hadn’t reached the top by then, I would turn back to make sure I didn’t miss the boat back. Although I scurried on at a good pace, I felt relaxed walking in the beautiful surroundings.

Wild flowers grew in abundance along the narrow roads. Far more than on the mainland back home. I wondered if it was because of the islanders not using chemicals to kill weeds or pesticides to preserve crops, or perhaps not covering the roads with salt and grit in the winter months ? Butterflies and dragonflies were in abundance too.

Then the trees began to disappear and the open moorland started to open up. Ahead I saw the classical view point of the Sgurr of Eigg with the farmhouse on its lower slopes. I couldn’t resist taking the shot too but was a little sorry the sky was so grey and featureless looking.

Following a rough path, I was soon gaining height quite quickly in the moorland foothills. Looking back towards the mainland, I saw the weather was closing in a little and heavy squalls were now dumping their rain water over the sea.

The purple heather was in full bloom and looked lovely. The bog myrtle filled the air with a sweet peaty perfume, then the cloud descended on the summit hiding it from view. My mood darkened a little in sympathy with the darkening sky. Then I stopped to put my waterproofs on as the rain started to pour down.

Fortunately within five minutes, the squall had past and the rock started to loom out the mist. I looked at my watch and saw an hour of my landing time had gone.

I couldn’t hang around any longer..it was onwards and upwards ..... if I was to get to the top

No comments: