Eigg, Britain’s most eco-friendly island

July 3, 2017

The small Scottish isle is a world pioneer in sustainable living. It’s also a tranquil spot to kayak, cycle and sail, with spectacular views to some of Scotland’s other beautiful islands

There’s something particularly satisfying about observing an island from the summit of its very own mountain. As we stood at the top of An Sgùrr, the only peak on Eigg worthy of the name (and, for gatherers of arcane facts, the largest pitchstone ridge in Europe), we gazed over the sheer cliffs at a land turned a warm russet by seas of dormant bracken and heather. To the north lay the silver beaches of Laig Bay and Singing Sands, and the imposing one-and-a-half-mile crescent of the Cleadale cliffs. Looking south-east, we encountered a more homely scene – copses on lower slopes, and tiny Castle Island, protecting Eigg’s jetty from the vicissitudes of the Minch strait.

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What was almost as satisfying is that I climbed An Sgùrr in my shirt sleeves. In February. But if that’s just another sign of the weirdness that is climate change, at least no one can blame the good people of Eigg (known as Eigeach or Eiggers), for they have just celebrated nine years of producing virtually 100% of their electricity via the first grid in the world powered by a combination of wind, solar and hydro schemes. What’s more, all the cables are underground, so not a single electricity pylon tarnishes Eigg’s natural beauty.

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