4 Interesting Facts About Eigg

Feast your mind on these four interesting tidbits about Eigg!

Eigg is the most eco-friendly island in Great Britain

On 1st February 2008, we switched on our electricity grid which serves the entire population of the island with completely renewable energy, thus making Eigg the most eco-friendly island in Britain! Our system uses a 9.9 kWp PV system, a 24 kW wind farm and three hydro generation systems (combining for 12 kW).

In conjunction with a backup system made up of diesel generation and batteries, we now have continuous renewable power throughout the island. We’re proud to say that we were the world’s first community to launch a completely off-grid power system that solely relies on renewable energy; we receive plenty of visitors each year who come from far and around just to see our power systems!

Our moorland plateau is over 1,200 ft high

Fancy a brisk walk? Then why not take a hike up to the highest point on Eigg, An Sgurr. The peak of An Sgurr is an impressive patch of pitchstone which you can clamber upon for that ‘top of the world’ feeling. On a good clear day you can get a commanding view over the other small islands, the Outer Hebrides and even the mountains way out on mainland Scotland. Besides the view, there’s plenty to see whilst you’re up on our moorland plateau. Due to its altitude and climate this part of the island is home to a number of different plants and creatures which you can spend a whole day spotting should you wish. Don’t forget to take your binoculars!

At one point in history there were over 500 people living on Eigg.

This massive boost in population came during the 18th century when the potato was introduced as a crop to the island. The successful growth of this new plant led to a boost in health for the rest of the island and also a diversification in their output. Soon the islanders were happily growing oats, as well as farming cattle for milk and beef.

Ever at the mercy of their lords, this productivity has often been been disrupted by disgruntled lords who often insisted on their subjects using equipment and machinery that they have provided so that they could levy more tax from them. Our population has not reached this heady high since; around 100 people currently live on Eigg.

Eigg Islanders have travelled far and wide

It can be tough eking out a living on our island: you don’t have easy access to many of the modern luxuries that mainland folk take for granted. Cinemas, supermarkets, hardware shops and discos are all very exotic pleasures here, but at least we’re better off than our predecessors. Without access to an electric grid and being largely shutoff from the rest of the world, many islanders from Eigg have chosen to abandon ship (so to speak) for greener pastures. One particular exodus led to a handful of families emigrating to America in 1821, they settled on a plateau not totally dissimilar to the one we have on our island and they named it Eigg Moutain. Little remains of their settlement their today, but the area is still well loved as a recreational space for hunting and winter sports.