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Scottish anchorages


The Eilean Chathastail/Galmisdale Bay anchorage has always struck me as rather unsatisfactory because it is shallow north of the pier and rolly south of the pier. This is a pity because it is an extremely interesting island to visit, for the walk up the Sgurr in particular.


On the old jetty there is a café and bar selling the usual stuff and open in the evenings for straightforward home-cooked meals as well, but check times on their website (ph 01687 482 487), bike hire, and a craft shop also selling the usual stuff, all are friendly and helpful. And camping pods have sprouted.


Eigg was once notorious for its awful lairds, greedy or bonkers or both, and here we are talking 20th century not the very old days. However, there was a celebrated community buyout in 1997 — for £1.5 million — and the island is now a much more harmonious place, as you can see from its very good website. Indeed, the population has increased from about 60 before the buyout to just over 100 in 2017. According to one commentator in 2017 "Eigg's success has come from genuine fusion of Hebridean culture and mainland counterculture". Well, maybe. The island now even has its own electical grid fed by its own renewable energy sources (wind, water and sunshine), most impressive. And on Eigg you will find the doctor for the Small isles, if you should need one.


Poll nam Partan is certainly sheltered but seems to me rather too shallow, certainly at springs, but with the Antares chart I imagine a good spot can be found. There is a bit of a volcanic sandy beach for the bucket and spade members of the crew, but the beach behind the new pier is better if a little overshadowed by the pier itself — an overlarge roll-on roll-off confection.


Up from Poll nam Partan you will find the 1790 Old Manse which I and a few families rented in 1981. Sadly it was then left to rot for many years but in 2014 the new owner started to restore it — hurrah! And it looks good judging from his blog. A bit further on across a small valley you will find the remains of Old St Donnan's Church, 16th century.


The Singing Sands are in the bay just north of Laig Bay which can be anchored off, but they didn’t sing for me when I walked on them, maybe I walked in the wrong way in the wrong place at the wrong time. However the beach is great and the cliffs behind impressive with their amazing shapes best seen in a low evening light, and the view of Rum is even more impressive. And even more impressive again I understand is Lageorna, a B&B with a restaurant which welcomes non-residents (ph 01687 460081).



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27 The Old Manse, Eigg - a disgrace

Galmisdale Bay

The Old Manse, a sad ruin but now almost restored

"Four myle lange and twa myle braid, guid maine land, with a paroche kirk in it, and many solan geese, and verey guid for store, namelie for sheip, with a haven for heighland bottis".

Dean Monro 1549