An Sgurr & Ben Tighe? Eigg
My brother & I used to attempt a famous Kirk Douglas quote “From the bottom of my stomach”,uttered with real feeling……Michael (D’s) from Wall Street was “Money never sleeps”.
And so it came to pass that Struthers & Semple were certainly sleep deprived yesterday, but were rewarded with a surplus of feeling that more than compensated for the 4 a. m. alarm call. Exactly what feeling that would be I really will be struggling to convey. Never know…….might get close?
“Do you fancy doing An Sgurr on Eigg?” This was Ian’s opener back in May, or even before. Of course, I said, we will be there for the week-end. “Oh no, he said, it would be a great challenge to do it in a day, plus to do a circular walk we could include Ben Tighe”. Well this was several months ago and it had to be a Monday(ferry timings) so we have been looking up MWIS since then, plus having to put other things first – like life.
This week we were promised a high pressure and MWIS stated 80% chance of cloud free tops, plus minimal rain showers clearing as the day progressed. Agreed that we would only go if there was a good to better chance of seeing something, we finally said lets go,go,go. Yes, a day in the life, starts 5.30 drive to Fort William, train to Mallaig, ferry over to Eigg, up An Sgurr round to Ben Tighe and back for the 4.25 p.m. ferry to take us back to Mallaig…….
Ian arrived for his lift at exactly 5.30 and whispered his greetings, not wanting to wake any of my neighbours. We were off and timed it, luckily enough, to get a fantastic improving dawn over Rannoch Moor and through Glencoe. Colours of Autumn coming at us through the glass. It’s Monday morning and we both can’t believe how lucky we are to be able to do something like this. Clearly in danger of waxing lyrical as this was the start of uttering superlatives throughout the journey, on the walk and on the return home.
If the drive got us waxing, the train journey continued a superlative panorama, and the ferry crossing saw the mountains bathed in bright autumnal sunshine. Out on the deck, coffees in hand casting our eyes over, surely, some of the finest country views. Monday mornings will never be the same. An Sgurr is an imposing sight,a wonderful sight, a massive basaltic conglomeration to stand back and stare at in awe. Not a difficult ascent at all. A gentle approach, a steady climb, and was it an hour and twenty and we were on the summit. Off, after only a brief stop, to Ben Tighe…….rough, very rough, going descending the hummocks, rocky ground covered in heather. Slow going. Would we make it in time for the ferry? We had one cut-off – if we get to that next hummock/horizon by twenty minutes we will make a decision, then we had another cut-off, then we had El Capitan’s comment ringing ….. “ All foot passengers are reminded that they are required to be back on board by 4.00 o’clock”. Ferry was due to leave at 4.25 – on this occasion that 25 minutes could be critical. In fact it was – had we pushed on we would have been spending the night on the island. As it was, we turned back and by the side of one of the many lochans had a seat on a purpose-built log seat to have lunch at around 2 o’clock (breakfast being around 4.45 -5.00). Another day for Ben Tighe. Quite a number of walkers on An Sgurr, following us up and each of us in utter ecstasy at this stunning landscape. Clearly, hardly need to say………yes, highly recommended. We may even stay the week-end next time.