In early September 2014 a group of geologists, storytellers, artists and educators will spend 6 days at the Glebe Barn on Eigg, in a project inspired by Hugh Miller and his Hebridean tours. The programme will include events with the Eigg community, the Primary School, and the boat “Leader”, which sets out from Oban on 6 September on a voyage inspired by Miller’s classic book “The Cruise of the Betsey”. There will be a group of geologists, geographers, artists, writers, ecologists, storytellers and historians on board the boat.
Many partners are already involved in the project, including the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, Friends of Hugh Miller, the Geological Societies of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Eigg Heritage Trust and Eigg History Society.
The project on Eigg will offer opportunities for informal interactions between members of the group. Some events will be scheduled in advance, but much will be weather dependent and there will be space for discussions, excursions, sample collecting and scientific research. We may get involved in developing new material for the interpretation centre in the Old Shop, and preparing a new edition of “The Geology of Eigg” guide book.
Saturday 6 September Travel to Eigg. Depart Mallaig at 2.25pm for Eigg. Fossils on the ferry – informal sharing of fossils and information about local geology and the Betsey project with passengers. Arrive 3.40pm.
Sunday Afternoon guided walk to the north end of Eigg. Miller’s first discovery of Plesiosaur bones was at the boulder beach near Eilean Thuilm at the north end of the island. It is a strenuous walk from Cleadale to the beach, but allows us to experience some of the terrain that Miller travelled over and explore a remote and wild part of Eigg. Boulders of the “Reptile Bed” are still found at the beach today.
The walk to the north end will only be possible in reasonable weather, and a shorter alternative walk to the Singing Sands, also visited by Miller, would be possible.
Monday-Wednesday Possible projects include a visit to Eigg Primary School to share Hugh Miller’s story with the pupils and work with them to explore different aspects of the geology and social history recorded by Miller. This might also involve producing new material for the interpretation centre, which is near the school.
Members of the “Leader” group will also spend time on Eigg and there may be opportunities to travel to Rum and or to cruise around the islands. The Lochaber U3A Geology group will visit Eigg on Monday for the day, some of the group might stay overnight.
Tuesday evening A ceilidh at the Glebe Barn or the community hall for members of both groups and the local community to share stories, music, etc.
Thursday Depart Eigg for Mallaig. Repeat of fossils on the ferry.
The cost of staying in the Glebe Barn, with food provided by the excellent Eiggy Bread catering team, will be about £250-£300 per person. Some fundraising is taking place, but it is expected that most participants will contribute to the cost of their own bed and board.
For more information about the Eigg project and to register your interest in taking part, please contact Angus Miller, Scottish Geodiversity Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 555 5488).
Joyce Gilbert, Royal Scottish Geographical Society, is the lead organiser of the overall Betsey project and can be contacted at email@example.com 01738 455050.