How do I get to Eigg? – The West Highland line runs from Glasgow to Mallaig and whether you are travelling from Scotland or England you will have to go via Fort William and from there travel to Mallaig where Caledonian Macbraynes sails out to Eigg. The ferry timetable and other info can be found on http://www.calmac.co.uk tickets cannot be bought or reserved for the small isles but there is no need as it is very rare that it is that busy!
There is also a smaller boat that sails from Arisaig, it is advisable to book on this boat as it is frequently full, more info can be found on http://www.arisaig.co.uk.
On arrival to Eigg the volunteer manager will meet you off the boat and give you a lift to your accommodation.
Is there a shop? – Yes, the islands shop is very well stocked but if you have special dietary requirements you should consider taking particular provisions with you. You can make enquires or place orders with them prior to your arrival through their website – http://www.isleofeiggshop.co.uk Previous volunteers have found the Eigg shop expensive compared to supermarket prices so if you are volunteering for a long period of time and on a tight budget it is advisable to bring dried foods with you like rice, pasta, crackers and biscuits etc.
How much should I budget/wk? – If you were to shop solely from the Eigg shop and also a few nights out in the pub, previous volunteers have suggested to budget approx. £60 – £80/wk but obviously you could manage on a lot less if you bring some of your own foods and weren’t so keen on pub nights!
Is there an ATM? – No, but the shop houses the Post Office where you can make withdrawals at the Pay Point within Post Office hours only. It accepts most banks but would be worth checking with the Post Office before arrival. Eigg shop and Galmisdale Bay Cafe have chip & pin machines where after doing transactions of £10 or more cash back can be asked for.
Is there a pub? – Galmisdale Bay Café doubles up as a t-room and the islands bar. Music sessions can be found every Friday night throughout the summer months. For more info on opening hours and evening meals look at http://www.galmisdale-bay.com
Is there a doctor on the island? – We have a limited medical service on the island by visiting doctors based in Skye with appointments held every Tuesday and alternate Thursday. 999 is phoned in an emergency and depending on urgency patients are airlifted or taken by the lifeboat. NHS 24 is available outwith office hours. It is imperative you inform us of any medical conditions and if you require medications it is essential that you take enough for your time on Eigg as it can be a few days by the time any medication can be sent from Mallaig.
How good is the mobile reception? – Please note there is NO mobile reception at the volunteer house and it is recommended that you tell friends and family before your arrival that this is the case to avoid worry, search parties or missing persons files being lodged!! However a mobile reception can be found from the school in the middle of the island and on towards the pier (south) side of the island. Previous volunteers have found it useful to put credit on their Skype account to allow calls to landlines.
Is there somewhere I can get wifi? – Yes, as there is no mobile phone coverage in the volunteer house we provide wifi instead. Wifi is also available in Galmisdale Bay Café.
Are the midges bad? – Depending on the weather they can certainly be irritating but not as bad as in some Scottish locations. Having a good insect repellent helps (Smidge has been recommended from previous volunteers) and the use of a midge net is ideal along with long sleeved clothing is recommended if you suffer badly from insect bites.
What tasks will we be doing? – You can expect to carry out tasks like beach cleans, litter picking, bramble, bracken & invasive species management, herb garden weeding, natural regeneration management, helping setting up/clearing up after community events and celidhs. You could be involved in individual projects like assisting with a fish project to improve the breeding potential in loch Beinn Tighe so that it will be able to sustain a trout population that has been running in 2013 and will continue in 2014. Once a week there is also an opportunity to have a day helping on a croft giving a chance to meet locals and see another side to living on Eigg. The volunteer manager emails the weeks task timetable and schedules tasks so it will be a varied week allowing a chance to try everything whether you are here for a week or more.
What does the £15/week charge cover? – This covers household running costs only. Volunteers make an enormous contribution to the island of which residents are eternally grateful and subsidise summer places to allow folks from all walks of life to apply. It does cost the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust to have volunteers of which your contribution is valuable but if you are able to make a donation we would be very grateful!
Can I have friends or family to stay in the volunteer house? – No, sorry. Other volunteers have camped on the beach and with permission from the volunteer manager it is possible to use the volunteer house to cook and shower.
More info on the island? – Have a look on www.isleofeigg.net for a comprehensive look at the island.