Isle of Eigg
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||5 miles (8 km)|
There is only really one main road on the Isle of Eigg, with two short branches. The main route links the two main settlements, crossing the island from the ferry port of Galmisdale where the Small Isles Ferry arrives from Mallaig to Cleadale on the western shore with its expansive views of the Isle of Rum. Only residents are allowed to take cars to the island (and workmen etc with special permits), but it is easy enough to walk or cycle across the island in a day, but beware that the ferry timetable only allows enough time on the island once or twice a week.
Starting at the head of the pier, the road passes the Post Office and Community Centre, curving round the rocky bay before turning sharp left and climbing steeply uphill. The gradient soon eases, and the road wiggles across some open moorland, with tracks leading off to the scattered houses of Sandamhor. A small woodland stretches back down to the shore, and then beyond that the road dips to cross a stream, before climbing up past a church and standing stone, with views across to Kildonan. Soon the only significant junction on the island is reached, that with the road to Kildonan, and immediately beyond is the island's school.
The old island co-operative store is now a small museum with an eclectic selection of artefacts and information on the island. The forestry on the hill to the left nearly reaches the road for a while, with walks along the forest road, and then the road reaches its summit, and the dramatic views across to Rum will bring you to a brief halt.
The road sweeps round a bend and down the hill, with a sharper bend and steep drop that require care if driving leading into Cleadale. The village is spread out across the hillside overlooking the Bay of Laig, but a couple of tracks provide access to the expansive beach. About halfway through the village, the road climbs up and forks with both branches being public roads, but you've probably already dropped down to the beach for a well earned picnic! The upper branch is technically the U1098, and only adopted in the 1970s, while the rest of the roads on the island have been adopted highway since the 1920s.