Tobermory – Eigg – Inverie

Jun 14, 2019 - Lord of the Glens


Brilliant sunshine, sparkling waters, and glowing green hillsides greeted us in Tobermory. Yet the weather is always changing in Scotland. Showers moved in by breakfast, and the rain came and went throughout the day.

We had the morning in Tobermory, a colorful waterfront town with shops that offered everything from chocolate and ice cream to books and woolens. As the rain eased off, a group of walkers set off for a shoreline walk to a nearby lighthouse. The trail went through a woodland that is a good example of a coastal temperate rainforest, where moss and lichens dripped from the trees and a lush understory of ferns and flowers flourished.

At lunchtime we sailed from Tobermory to the Isle of Eigg, traveling around Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the westernmost point of all mainland Britain where an Egyptian-styled lighthouse stands. As we sailed, we stood watch on deck, looking for marine life and seabirds and observing Manx shearwaters and gannets.

Eigg is a community-owned island that runs on renewable energy supplied by a combination of solar, wind, and water. Looking over Eigg is the mountain An Sgurr (meaning “rocky peak” in Gaelic), a prominent ridge of igneous rock formed about 60 million years ago when lava flowed down an ancient river valley. The surrounding softer rock eroded away during the Ice Age, leaving behind the more resistant rock that creates the peak we see today.

We reached Eigg just as black clouds drenched us with rain, so we paused a moment before setting off to explore the island. One group walked around a loop through woodlands and pasture, with time to stop off at the community shop before returning to the ship.

Our evening sail took us from Eigg to the Knoydart peninsula. As we sailed, we heard a talk on Nan Shepherd and The Living Mountain, which included information on the Scottish Literary Renaissance and Cairngorm National Park. Just as the talk ended, we spotted the splash of a breaching whale in the distance, though it was too far away to know what kind of whale it was.

We berthed for the night at the small village of Inverie on the mainland peninsula of Knoydart, which can be accessed only by walking or boat. After dinner, we heard a photo talk, “Taking Your Photography to the Next Level.” Then the long-lasting summer light allowed time for an evening stroll or a venture to the Old Forge Inn, considered the most remote pub on mainland Britain.

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About the Author

Robin Patten

Naturalist

The natural world has always been central to Robin’s life. At an early age, she was out exploring the Montana backcountry, learning natural history through experience. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in landscape ecology from Colorado State University, followed by an M.S. in Environmental Writing from the University of Montana and a Post-Graduate Diploma from Scotland’s Centre for Mountain Studies. Her studies included environmental history and cultural geography, and her work often focuses on the interactions between cultures and landscapes. Robin still lives in Montana, writing and working from a small cabin near Yellowstone National Park.

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