In calm seas and bright sun, Lord of the Glens slid softly out of Loch Nevis and Inverie just before breakfast, en route for the Isle of Eigg. In preparation for our visit, we heard a talk on the very important events in the recent history of this small island, highlighting how it has gone from an impoverished, downtrodden community to one that is entirely self-sufficient, relying on electrical power from a combination of wind, water, and solar generation.
There were optional hikes on this surprisingly verdant and productive island as well as the chance to ride bicycles along the island’s one single-track road. The local craft shop did good business and we all had opportunities to speak with local islanders and hear their personal stories of what it is like to live in such a small community.
The sail from Eigg to our next port took about two hours and was in some open water. Although the ship was gently rocking, we all enjoyed the experience and watched the abundant bird life as we scanned the surface for signs of migrating basking sharks. None were seen.
The Isle of Mull is much larger than Eigg; it is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides archipelago and home to some 3,000 inhabitants. Our destination was the main town of Tobermory, which appeared in a splash of brightly colored houses positioned all around the bay.
As always, several activities were offered. There was a walk along a cliff path toward the lighthouse built in the 1800s by the brothers, father, and uncle of the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. There was also a slower-paced historical walk through the village and for the photo enthusiasts, yet another walk with photo opportunities galore.
Later in the afternoon, a representative from the Mull-based Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, came aboard and gave an excellent explanation as to what the trust is, its important research, and its plans for the future. I think most of our group were surprised at just how many cetaceans live in these Scottish waters and just how important the data being collected here is to the marine world in general.
All in all, it was a varied and intense day, and there’s much more to come!