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Old 29 December 2014, 02:38   #11
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When boating in areas with sea cliffs, I always take a note of places that I could land on in an emergency. If my main engine failed for any reason.. I would use the smaller auxiliary to power the boat to the beach. I noticed a good shelving beach on the north west corner of Eigg.



Then the sea cliffs started to rear up to dizzy heights... straight from the sea edge



Further round the northern end, although the cliffs still looked impressive.. they stood back from the water’s edge and again, an emergency landing would be possible.



However the remains of a ruined wreck, jammed in a sea cave, proved it was not always possible. This is the remains of a Clyde puffer called Nellie. She ran aground on the sunken reefs off the northern point... then the winter storms forced her hull into the cave.



There are numerous caves in the northern cliffs but I decided not to explore any. I was going to explore the caves on the southern end of the island. They hold a very dark and sinister history ... as you will soon find out.



Unfortunately the battery in my fishfinder / depth sounder was flat after my two days in Loch Nevis. I took things slow and careful as I negotiated the treacherous reefs off the northern tip of the island.



The cliffs continued to rise to the sky and now a descending mist came down to shroud their tops in silver.



I took a last look back to the mainland and the distant hills that surrounded Loch Nevis. They were still clear of cloud... I guessed the rain was set on following me round Eigg.



To be continued.....

.
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Old 30 December 2014, 04:38   #12
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Thanks again for the comments guys..and here is the next part of the journey

I could feel a “shift” in the weather as I rounded the point off Blar Mor .. heading for the Bay of Laig. My maps showed the reef extending some distance out from the headland ..so I gave it a wide berth to be on the safe side.



I navigate by OS maps and compass on my adventures and realise some of you guys frown at this practise.. however in my defence.. I have successfully navigated round most the west coast of Scotland by this method..as well as most the mainland hills..and never once been lost.. not have I ever dinged a propeller on rocks ..so I must do something right. A compass doesn’t have batteries that go flat either.

It was now time to land on Laig Bay..to stretch my legs and have a wander round the deserted sands. It really is a beautiful place and must be stunning under a blue sky.



The SIB was anchored by its nose.. facing into the rolling swell. I also had an anchor rope off the transom and had it secured to the beach. This was to stop the SIB turning side onto the swell by the slight off shore wind. This photo has been my computer desktop picture ever since that day.



Soon it was time to head south again on my anti clockwise course round Eigg.



The wind started to gust and the rain was driven into my face as I passed mile after mile of seacliffs with no obvious place to land in emergency.



I was now approaching the south west corner of Eigg and wondered if the sea would turn choppy off this point. I had heard it can be a bit tidal in this area..and if it was against the wind..it could prove interesting in a small SIB.



In reality..it was nothing to worry about. The wind was dropping again and the rain started to ease



The sea leg going east between Eigg and the island of Muck offered great views of the Sgurr of Eigg plateau.



The sea proved calm in this area too..I enjoyed riding the swell as I made my way to the main harbour port of Galmisdale on Eigg. I had not seen another boat or person the whole way round Eigg. I wondered if the locals were in hiding ?




Then I caught my first glimpse of the huge Cathedral Cave on the south coast of Eigg. However I was looking for another..far smaller cave. The cave I was looking for is known as the Massacre Cave of Eigg. In the sixteenth century ... 395 people were killed in the cave... hiding from their foes from the sea... I will tell that story in the next instalment....



To be continued....

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Old 31 December 2014, 03:53   #13
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I was now a little damp from my circumnavigation of Eigg but still full of enthusiasm as I headed into Galmisdale..the capital town of Eigg.



The Sgurr of Eigg loomed menacingly out of the mist as I passed the ferry landing slipway.



I parked my SIB in the safety of the harbour. The tide was still receding so I knew it would be high and dry shortly.. even though the rain kept it wet.


There was not a soul in sight.. except for the herd of sheep that greeted me as I made my way ashore.



I was heading for the cliffs on the southern side of Eigg by foot. I was curious to see where the people of Eigg were. A winding path took me back to sea level



Where I found the entrance to “The Massacre Cave”. It was a small narrow slit in the rock face. It had an eerie feeling to it.



I cursed the fact that I didn’t bring a torch. My body filled the small entrance and blocked all light. Only the flash from my camera reviled the small entrance..around two foot high and two foot wide.



I forced my body through the gap but didn’t enter the main cave itself. I heard something moving in the deep dark depths. I confess..I was a bit scared..so backed out slowly.



In the 16th century..the entire population of Eigg..bar one old woman.. hid in this cave to escape a fight with their neighbours from the Isle of Skye. Their enemy couldn’t find them.. even though they searched the whole island.. so left again by boat. As they sailed off.. they spotted a lookout on the cliffs above the cave... so returned and followed footsteps in the snow to the entrance.

They then built a huge fire in the narrow entrance and all 395 inhabitants of Eigg died in that cave from the smoke. I was happy the people of Eigg today were not in hiding .. they were in their houses keeping dry.

I camped overnight on Eigg then in the morning made my way round the Island of Muck. Unfortunately the repeated flashing from my camera as I explored the caves..flattened the camera battery..So this is the only photo I managed of heading for the Isle of Muck.



The sea mist came down very thick on my return journey to the mainland.. and I could only see a few hundred yards in front of the boat. Fortunately the sea was flat calm. I took a compass bearing and followed it allowing a couple of degrees for tidal drift. I arrived at the mainland only half a kilometre from Portnadoran Campsite. My adventure to the Small Isles was over.

I wish you all a very happy New Year..and hope you have many boating adventures in 2015.

One of my intended adventures in 2015 will be circumnavigating the Isle of Skye by small SIB. I will hopefully post that adventure on here too. It is not a brand of boat that makes it the best in the world. It is what you do with it that makes it so.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL.
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