Situated to the south of Skye and north of Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the Small Isles are designated as one of Scotland’s National Scenic Areas and part of the Lochaber Geopark, renowned for their rich archeological heritage, geology and wildlife. Each of the small isles has its own unique landscape, culture, history and way of life.Eigg is a small hebridean island 10miles off the Scottish west coast. The south end of the island is dominated by characterized by the prominent pitchstone ridge of An Sgurr, the largest of its kind in Europe.Eigg has interesting cave formations including the Cathedral Cave and infamous Massacre Cave, coastal cliff-top walks and beautiful sandy beaches where you can listen to the music of the Singing Sands, watch the Atlantic waves roll in on Laig beach or hunt through the thousands of shells on Galmisdale Beach.Eigg’s varied natural habitats accommodate fantastic species diversity as seen in island’s three designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and three wildlife reserves.
Eigg’s history is rich and colourful with a legacy of human occupation going back to Bronze Age mounds, Iron age forts, Viking graves, Early Christian crosses, coastal caves used in Clan times, Clearance ruins, crofting villages and historic farmhouses. The listed 1920's Italianate Lodge (now the Earth Connections Centre) is surrounded by a mature exotic garden.
Summers see the annual return of marine mammals such as porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks, Minke whales and occasional sightings of Orcas which can be spotted from cliff-top walks or on board MV Shearwater on route to Eigg or the other Small Isles.For a small island, Eigg has an impressive number of bird species, with approximately 130 recorded a year, half of which breed on the island. Resident bird species include a wide variety of woodland and shore-line birds; you can frequently see Golden Eagles soaring above the Sgurr, Buzzards watching passers by from a roadside fencepost or Red Throated Divers off-shore.The varied habitats support diverse and abundant plant-life including over 500 higher plant species and 300 bryophyte species. There are twelve species of orchid growing on Eigg and the cliffs are inhabited by a variety of Alpine and Arctic speices souch ous Mountain Avens and Saxifrages.
Eigg attracts a number of geologists, being well known for interesting mix of igneous and sedimentary rocks and links with Scotland’s infamous geologist, Hugh Millar, who found Plesiosaur bones in a bed of limestone in 1844.Fossils can still be seen in the sedimentary rocks along the shoreline, particularly at the north end of the island, the oldest of which date to the Jurassic Period. Above the sedimentary rocks, a series of basalt lava flows make up a large proportion of the island. The impressive mile long pitchstone ridge of An Sgurr at the south end of Eigg was formed by subsequent volcanic activity.
Eigg is the most populated of the Small Isles with a community of around 100 residents.Following Land Reform campaigns and community buy-out in 1997, the island is managed by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, a partnership between Eigg residents, the Highland Council and Scottish Wildlife Trust. Eigg celebrates its success in creating a vibrant community where young people have returned or moved to make their home and develop sustainable local businesses.Notably Eigg has been recognized for its award winning Eigg Electric Scheme which provides the island with 24hr renewable energy from wind, water and sun.
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