September is usually spent taking a breather from the frantic pace that comes with the volunteer season and allowing the body to recover from the physical endurance of bracken and bramble bashing for a solid two months amongst all the other tasks we completed since March! October has been spent getting knuckled down in front of the computer catching up with all the paper work, forms and the yearly dreaded things like the end of year reports and the like. Normally a dead whale would have a subdued effect on me but after a report from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme that there was a dead Minke Whale washed up on the north west coast of the island it meant a day out of the office, hurray! Myself and the SWT warden have been trained by the SMASS to carry out sampling and investigations towards dead strandings on our shores to send back for analysing and hopefully finding out the cause of death. On this occasion we had to wait until the weather calmed down for us to venture out as it is a bit of a trek over the saddle and round to the puffer cave. Unfortunately on arriving it was clear that taking samples was not possible or useful as the Minke was already in advance stages of decomposition but we did however take some measurements and photographs to be sent in for documentation. Other than checking out the male 21ft Minke whale it was a beautiful day with the welcome company of sunshine! After living on Eigg most of my life I am always delighted when Eigg can still surprise me with its beauty, the colours in the sea, walking up and over the hill to get such magnificent views it is a welcome reminder on how lucky we are here.


John reluctantly having to get in the picture for perspective reasons!


A tiny window of view of Rum and Skye after walking up and over the saddle


Looking back into Cleadale on our return journey.


August saw the season end of all the volunteers for the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. On the 31st of August we waved a fond farewell to the remaining 4, only 3 in the photo as one left on a different ferry just to avoid a photo!


It is always sad to see the volunteer season come to a close as volunteers add so much to our wee community and a reminder winter is looming! Not only does a whole load of tasks get done but the addition of six new faces makes quite an impact socially and always interesting where everyone comes from and each person usually has a fairly unique story on how they came to be on Eigg.

In 2015 volunteer season we had 11 SWT volunteers, 18 IEHT volunteers, 6 IEHT conservation holiday volunteers. There was also 18 volunteers for other organisations on the island plus a further 4 summer workers. That is a grand total of 53 volunteers from April to September!

Hopefully 2016 will be just as successful, next years application forms have now been updated and available for download.

I thought this was pretty cool and worth sharing… a previous volunteer has set up a little website with a sound map she created of Eigg click HERE if you are interested in hearing some sound bites of Eigg…