Updated: Sep 21
Linger Longer on the Small Isles.
Travel guide to Eigg and Muck
This trip covers the vibrant Isle of Eigg and its relaxed neighbour Muck. Both quite distinct in character, appearance and size - a two week trip allows time to fully appreciate and experience both these isles and everything they have to offer.
Our itineraries are not meant as tick lists. We’ve included some highlights here but we encourage building in time for both ‘doing and being’ allowing for days of activities and days to meander. We believe this is the best way to enjoy a trip to the Small Isles. Read more about our ‘why’ behind slow travel here.
Week 1 - Eigg
At 5 miles long and 3 miles wide, Eigg is the second biggest of the Small Isles and the most populated with just over 110 residents. It has a thriving green community producing around 90% of its electricity from renewables. The island has a fascinating history with plenty of sights to explore - from the Singing Sands beach overlooking Rum in the north to the massacre caves and dark cathedral on the south coast. An Sgurr peak (the rocky peak), the largest pitchstone ridge in Europe, provides the island with its distinctive outline and makes for a great walk with far reaching views over the other Small Isles and beyond.
Arriving in Eigg
The ferry docks at the pier right next to Am Laimhrig (Gaelic for anchorage or safe haven) the community building which hosts the shop (with post office), Galmisdale Bay Cafe & Bar and Eigg Adventures. Public toilets and showers are available in the newly built Wash House - Taigh Nighe.
A range of accommodation is available on Eigg from camping pods and yurts to cottages and b&b’s. There is even the opportunity to tour the Small Isles on a boat. For more information on what’s available check out this page.
Some accommodation is walkable from the pier but if you are staying on the other side of the island, you can phone Charlie Galli on 01687 482404 for a taxi or check with your accommodation provider for other options.
There is an incredible amount to take in on the Isle of Eigg. Below is just a flavour of some of the highlights. Please also visit the Isle of Eigg website for even more suggestions.
The coastline around Eigg offers fantastic opportunities for wildlife spotting with the waters around the pier one of the best locations for whale and dolphin spotting. Minke whales are regular visitors between July and September. Further exploration of the coastline with its hidden beaches around Galmisdale Bay and Kildonnan are possible with kayak hire from Eigg Adventures.
Scottish Wildlife Trust employ a seasonal ranger who provides guided wildlife and nature walks and activities throughout spring and summer. See the pier noticeboard for more information.
Eigg has a fantastic variety of birds and plant life. May, June and October are some of the best months for birdwatching but there is something of interest every month of the year.
The shop sells packs of postcards illustrating waymarked walks on the island.
Walk or hire bikes from Eigg Adventures and head over to the Singing Sands on the north-western part of Eigg. Listen to the quartz sand sing underfoot on dry days and enjoy a picnic whilst marvelling at the views over to mountainous Rum. If you fancy something a bit more challenging head up Sgòrr an Fharaidh and the Finger of God and enjoy the views of Laig Bay and the Singing Sands and out towards Rum and Skye.
Climb An Sgurr on the Isle of Eigg (5 miles) for amazing views over the Small Isles and beyond. Allow 3-4 hrs for the 8km walk.
Eigg Adventures can provide guided walks on the island. They also offer bike, e-bike and kayak hire, can provide archery lessons and organise sailing trips.
Visit the Cathedral cave and Massacre cave on the south of the island and learn about how the entire population of Eigg was massacred in the 16th century (visitors are advised to not enter the cave due to the risk of falling stones).
Take a trip to the crofting museum at Cleadale and explore what living in a croft house was like.
Read more about the island’s geology and archeology here.
Find out more about the island's historic community buyout in 1997 here.
Cycling is a fantastic way to get about the island with one single paved track across the island and very few vehicles.
Check out the off road Gruilin Track which leads out to the ruined settlement of Gruilin overlooking the Isle of Muck.
Bike hire starts at £20 per day per adult and £15 per day for children with discounts for hires of more than 3 days with Eigg Adventures.
There are lots of places to get food on Eigg:
Close to the pier - Galmisdale Bay Cafe & Bar serves up excellent home made food set against a stunning backdrop.
Lageorna Restaurant on the north-west side of Eigg offers a set price menu, made with the finest local produce (fruit, game, lamb and fish from Eigg, Muck and Rum). It’s not open every night, so booking is essential; call 01687 460081.
The Isle of Eigg shop has a range of fresh and baked goods, fish, meat, tinned food and general supplies. If you are visiting the island you can email a food shop order to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferably 10 days in advance) to pick up when you arrive on the island. There is a £5 charge for a pre-order/ delivery service.
Pick up free range eggs and organic fruit and vegetables from Eigg Organics.
Rest and Be Thankful - This patio tea garden in Cleadale serves very tasty home-baking.
Laig Bay Brewing Co - pick up a locally brewed beer from Galmisdale Cafe.
Eigg is home to a wide range of creative practitioners and events. From photographers and musicians to artists and craft makers. There is a web of creativity that connects and surrounds the island. Below gives you just a flavour of what is available
Sign up for Eigg Feis. Held every year at the start of July, the Feis is a 3 day celebration of Gaelic culture. This family event offers children the chance to receive expert tuition in a variety of instruments (experience not always necessary). The festival ends with a family ceilidh where you can dance the night away.
There are regular and impromptu traditional music sessions held at Galmisdale Bay Cafe and Bar in the summer months.
Basket making tuition is provided in small tutored classes by All About Willow.
Creative residencies are available year round at Sweeney’s Bothy - a bespoke, small-scale, off grid bothy that looks out across the Bay of Laig to the island of Rum.
Visit the craft shop at Galmisdale to support local artists and makers on Eigg.
Go on a croft tour at Eigg Organics and find out more about the history of crofting on Eigg, what a croft is and what Eigg Organics does. (£10pp/ children free).
Good to know
Refuse - Please dispose of all refuse at the large container located at the pier. There are also recycling facilities for plastics and bottles located here. Please note that there are bins placed around the island for any plastic you see whilst you are out and about.
The pier is usually a hive of activity when the ferry arrives - supplies and deliveries arriving and residents carrying out essential duties. Please be mindful of this and observe all signage/ guidance.
Visit the Isle of Eigg website for information on facilities, accommodation and activities.
There is no public transport on Eigg but you are only ever a couple of miles from anything. Consider hiring a bike from Eigg Adventures or calling Charlie on 01687482404 for a taxi.
From Eigg you can take a day trip on the MV Sheerwater to:
Rum on a Tuesday (2.5 hrs on Rum) or
Muck on Wednesdays and Saturdays (as well as Mondays throughout July and Aug). This allows for 3hrs on Muck.
Please note that sailing times are subject to change. Check here for the most timely information on departures.
Further resources/ reading
Eigg - Our Island https://vimeo.com/183018089
Week 2 - Island hop to Muck
For week two of your slow travel experience, we suggest island hopping (a 30 minute boat journey - check the ferry timetables page) to the smallest of the four inhabited Small Isles - Muck. White sandy beaches pepper the coastline, perfect for picnicking or taking in sunrise or sunset with plenty of opportunities for whale or dolphin spotting. Much of the island is used for livestock and the enterprising and friendly locals use wool for a range of traditional crafts that are available for sale in the local craft shop - The Green Shed. The island is the perfect place for families, wildlife enthusiasts, walkers and anyone with a love of the outdoors.
Arriving in Muck
The ferry docks at Port Mor on the southern side of the island. The tearoom is a 5 minute walk from the pier and is open from 11-4pm Mon - Sat during the busy season. The food is homemade and includes fresh shellfish when available. They also offer a great selection of baked cakes and sweet treats popular with locals and visitors alike. (Contact for dinner reservations). Public toilets are available in the community hall nearby.
Most visitors enjoy the walk to their accommodation from the pier (Muck measures about 2.5 miles from East to West making most things walkable) but if you need help with luggage, get in touch with your accommodation provider for options.
Muck is a fantastic place to watch wildlife - look for the Isle of Muck guidebook from the craft shop for the best guide to wildlife on the island.
Families/ groups can charter wildlife trips around the Small Isles on local boat - MV Lochan. Spot Minke whales, dolphins, seals and more. Contact Colin MacEwen for prices/ availability t: 01687 462362 email@example.com
Visit Horse Island at low tide for a chance of seeing a variety of seabirds and puffins.
Listen for the distinctive rasping call of the elusive Corncrakes on the island.
Take a pair of binoculars and look for the colony of seals at Port Chreadhain.
Watch for golden and sea eagles in the skies over the island.
Walking/ Places of interest
Muck is the perfect size for exploring on foot. A map of all the island walks is available at the craft shop adjoining the tea room.
Complete the Isle of Muck coastal circuit (14km’s/ 5-6hrs) and take in all the natural beauty of the island.
Climb to the highest point on the island - Beinn Airein (451ft) for great views over Muck and beyond.
Head to the beach at Gallanach Bay. This is an easy walk with plenty of opportunities to divert including to Port Chreadhain where you can look for seals and terns.
Visit Shell Bay on the north-west of the island - named for the shells that cover the beach.
Take a dip in the mermaid’s pool on the south of the island where many islanders have learned to swim over the years.
The Small Isles have quite a dramatic history. Their landscapes point to a time when this coastal area was dominated by active volcanoes. Muck is almost entirely made of lava - probably from a volcano on Mull.
There are 5 ancient monuments on Muck.
A’chille - the old village located above Port Mor
Toaluinn -a recently discovered building believed to be of Norse origin.
Caisteal an Duin Bhain a mix of prehistoric and more recent buildings at the western entrance to Port Mor.
Two cairns at Ard nan Uan on the west side of Gallanach. Dating from the Neolithic or early Bronze Age, 2,000BC.
Cairn on the summit of Beinn Airein, the highest point on the island.
There isn’t a shop on the island so take food provisions with you. Either purchase a food shop at the Co-op in Mallaig before getting on the ferry or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your food order the day before the ferry and call to pay for supplies between 6-7am on the day of the ferry. The items will then be boxed up, with your name and island and put on the boat to the island.
You can order lamb (including cuts of mince, cutlet chops, loin chops, shanks, diced, rolled shoulders and whole or half legs) from the local farm (01687 462362 email@example.com/ Colin & Ruth MacEwen) and fresh shellfish (lobsters, brown crab & prawns of various sizes) from The Little Red Boat (firstname.lastname@example.org t 01687 462136 m 07444 799 787).
The tearoom is a hub for islanders and visitors alike providing homemade lunches, morning coffees and afternoon teas. During peak summer months, dinner can be booked on specific evenings. (Check opening times outwith summer season`).
Visitors can also visit Gallanach Lodge for meals. Make a reservation here.
The Green Shed, a rustic tin building near the island's pier, sells lovely handmade gifts as well as eggs and homegrown produce. It’s open 24/7 and works on an honesty box basis. The local primary school children are also included in the venture with a special corner in the shed where they sell items including hand-made cards to raise money for the school.
Visit the Isle of 20 website to purchase goods by islanders.
Good to know
The Community Hall was completed in 2012 for islanders and visitors to use. It is open 24/7 with public toilets, shower, washing machine, sports facilities, pool, foosball, library, heritage area and wi-fi. Donations for use.
Visitors are warmly welcomed to the island and invited to take part in any event that happens to be going on at the time of their visit.
The Green Shed is where local islanders sell handmade gifts and local produce. It works on an honesty box basis. There is also a defibrillator stored here.
In Scotland, you can go on to most land to enjoy the outdoors – as long as you behave responsibly. This is known as Scottish access rights and is different to the position in England and Wales. When you are enjoying the outdoors, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Further advice on wild camping is available from NatureScot here.