Small Isles – Eigg | The first 100% self-sustaining place on earth

100% self-sustaining

Eigg, the second largest isle of the four Small Isles, does things differently. This Scottish isle is to be the first 100% self-sustaining place on earth. Solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric schemes sprinkled across the island meet the energy requirements of almost all of its residents (in 2010 there were 86 of them).

 

Jewel of the Hebrides

Known as the Jewel of the Hebrides, its fertile pastures, sheltered bays and mild climate have long marked Eigg as an attractive site for settlement, with human occupation dating back to 8000 years. However, Eigg’s history has often been bloody and turbulent with massacres, forced migration and feckless owners visited on the islanders over the centuries.

 

Control of the future

Eigg’s fortunes have improved in recent years, since the island was bought by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, a partnership of islanders, the Highland Council and the SWT. With the buy-out in 1997, the islanders took control of their future, bringing to a close decades of mismanagement by asentee landlords. Notably, the Eigg community has become a hotbed of environmental endeavour, implementing succesfull sustainable energy production and biodiversity development.

 

Walk or bike

Visitors are not permitted to bring their vehicle. Getting around on foot is the norm for most visitors, but there’s a bicycle hire service.
Walk with me across this green island that rocked my heart. Up the distinctive pitchstone An Sgùrr and around the coast and cliffs of north Eigg.

 

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The distinctive pitchstone An Sgùrr.

 

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A bottle of whisky awaits the walker in the middle of nowhere.

 

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The hike goes past Loch nam Ban Mora and down to the abandoned village of Grulin.

 

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Kildonan graveyard and ruins of Kildonan Chapel with its ancient Celtic Cross.  St. Donnan, an Irish missionary, brought Christianity to the island and founded this important monastery.

 

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The Singing Sands (the quartz beach Tràigh a’ Bhìgeil) on account of the squeaking noise it makes if walked on when dry. In the backdrop are the Rum Cuillin.

 

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Around the coast up to the cliffs of north Eigg.

 

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The village of Cleadale.

 

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Laig Bay and the Rum Cuillin.

 

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The Singing Sands (the quartz beach Tràigh a’ Bhìgeil) on account of the squeaking noise it makes if walked on when dry. In the backdrop are the Rum Cuillin.

 

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Basalt dyke on the beach.

 

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More info

www.isleofeigg.net

Eigg Geology & Archaeology – http://smallisles.wordpress.com/eigg/geology-archaelogy-on-eigg

Isle of Eigg walks – www.walkhighlands.co.uk/islands/eigg.shtml

Island Going Green – http://islandsgoinggreen.org

Eigg Highland Clearances App (Gruilin Tour) on Android and iPhone – http://smallisles.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/eigg-highland-clearances-app-published-on-android

Scotland Will Soon Be Home to the World’s First Self-Sufficient Island – http://inhabitat.com/scotland-will-soon-be-home-to-the-worlds-first-self-sufficient-island

Welcome to Eigg: The World’s First Fully Self-Sufficient Island – www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/welcome-to-eigg-the-worlds-first-fully-self-sufficient-island