When we were planning our Scotland trip, Chris said he'd found an Island called Eigg that he really wanted to go to. It is part of of a trio of islands called Eigg, Rum and Muck... imagine living somewhere called Muck!? We did some research and found out it has less than a hundred inhabitants and is only 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. Eigg has its own community owned electricity supply using only renewable energy. There was a community buyout in 1997. Being off the west cost of Scotland there is an abundance of bird and sea life. You could see eagles, whales, dolphins, otters, seals or any of the other 200 bird species. We looked at accommodation options and found a static caravan on its own beach... we had to go!
The boats running to and from the island are hit and miss as they are totally dependent on the weather. The day we arrived at the Mallaig port was raining and windy and we waited around for at least an hour to hear if the boat would be going. Eventually we were told we would be going, but on a much smaller boat than usual. We had a rocky two hour boat trip and eventually arrived in Eigg. It was pouring with rain and we had planned to walk across the island to our caravan. We sheltered for a while and then someone came and opened the shop for the new arrivals... we bought a few bits and then the shop owner asked if we were staying at the caravan as it was theirs! They gave us a lift down and left us to it.
It was a lovely little caravan, totally cut off from the world. We had no internet, phone signal or electricity. We had a gas stove, woodburner and candles. We were told the lady at the farm at the other end of the beach made homemade ready meals that she left in her porch with an honesty jar. We made our way over there and found out she'd run out. She invited us in for tea and said she'd had a party the day before and had some leftover lamb we could have with some potatoes and veg from her garden... and wouldn't take any money for it. She gave us some tips on exploring the island and we said goodbye... on our walk back she zoomed past us on a quad bike with her daughter on the back!
After an evening sitting by the fire reading by candlelight we woke up to a sunny day and sheep wandering past our window. We had pre-ordered eggs (from Eigg... ha ha), bacon and bread which we had for breakfast before heading out for a walk. The farm lady had told us the beach of singing sands which was the next beach along was beautiful and a short walk. Well the walk was stunning... I couldn't believe I was in Scotland! But it wasn't short. We made our way over slippery rocks, scrambled up a cliff, nearly stepped on a dead sheep that we thought was a white stone, and eventually made it to the beach.
There was no-one else on the beach... just us. It was beautiful! We walked around a bit and I sat and read while Chris walked up and down the shore. I did wander what he was doing walking up and down, but he eventually came back, got on one knee and asked me to marry him. After 8 years together I was totally unprepared for this... I don't even remember what he said. Of course I said yes... and we slowly made our way back to the caravan.
On the walk back we came across a crofting museum, which was an old house with the front door closed and the key in the door. There wasn't anyone else there. We just let ourselves in and had a look around. It was wonderful. For dinner we had pre-booked a meal at the only restaurant on the island - Lageorna. It was in the house up the road from our caravan and was run by the mum of Jacqueline who owned the caravan. The meal was a set price of £30 and there was no menu... you ate what you were given. We had a view of sea and the food was really good! There were only 2 other tables and we're both quite shy (sort of!)... so we kept our engagement to ourselves... Chris was in the process of getting a ring made, so we decided to keep quiet until we had the ring... which turned out to be 3 months!!! So we actually had a painfully long time of not telling anyone. In hindsight I'm not sure we would have decided to keep quiet for that long but once we had decided not to tell anyone we had to run with it!
On our last day we had a slow morning. We visited the little church, walked slowly back to the pier. Had lunch at the cafe and checked out the shop full of local crafts before getting the boat back to Mallaig. We didn't get to see any wildlife, but this was a wonderful island. It was so good to be cut off from civilisation for a couple of days. Eigg is now a place filled with special memories we will never forget. I'm sure we will be back again soon!