Walk: An Sgùrr - Eigg sunny side up

[Nose of An Sgùrr]

An Sgùrr is the highest point on the Isle of Eigg. With one of the most eye-catching and unlikely appearances of any hill in the country, it promises one of the most memorable island ascents anywhere in Scotland. The gigantic volcanic monolith is a pitchstone inselberg, formed as softer surrounding basalt eroded away over millions of years. Sheer cliffs appear to block passage on all sides; indeed, an ascent of the east-facing Nose is an extreme rock climb. Luckily for ordinary mortals a fairly straightforward path sneaks around to the hidden rear where the slopes soften. The ridge to the summit is surprisingly broad, but takes nothing away from the sensational views over the Small Isles, Skye and the Scottish mainland.

[View over Eigg, Eilean Chathastail and the mainland from the summit]

Name: Walk: An Sgùrr - Eigg sunny side up ★★★
Length: 8 km / 5 miles
Ascent: 400 metres
Main summits: An Sgùrr (394 metres, sub-2000')
Start / finish: Eigg ferry terminal, Galmisdale, G.R.: NM 484838 ///apple.goes.blown

Route: Galmisdale - cottage at Nead-na-feannaig - follow base of An Sgùrr north side - join ridge at NM 458848 - summit of An Sgùrr - return by outward route
Terrain: Track to just beyond Nead-na-feannaig, then clear path to summit. Path has several short boggy sections and a steeper rocky stretch on the ridge where the odd hand might be needed - however, it's much more straightforward than the shape of the hill suggests.
Wildlife today: Sheep. Several dolphins, numerous seals and seabirds seen from the ferry to the island.
Weather today: Sunny with a gentle breeze on the summit, temperature in mid-teens.

[Looking towards a cloud-capped Isle of Rùm from the summit ridge]

Getting to Eigg

Most visitors probably arrive on the CalMac sailing from Mallaig, but there's also a seasonal passenger ferry from Arisaig run by Arisaig Marine Ltd. The latter option makes single-day trips feasible on certain days, otherwise you'll need to find accommodation on the island which can be tricky. Cars aren't normally allowed on the island without a permit.

[The summit ridge is rocky but surprisingly broad - occasional blobs of paint mark the "path"]


Route credit: Walkhighlands

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