The journey to Eigg is in 2 parts. First a train/car/bus to Mallaig, then a ferry from Mallaig to Eigg (all year) or Arisaig to Eigg (summer only).
The West Highland Line, which runs between Fort William and Mallaig, is a famously scenic train ride and is one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World. There are usually four trains a day Monday to Saturday and two trains on a Sunday. Check timetable details at http://www.scotrail.co.uk
Citylink runs daily bus services between Fort William and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness http://www.citylink.co.uk. Shiel Buses operate a service between Fort William and Mallaig. Tel: 01967 431 272.
Please note: no cars can be taken over to the Isle of Eigg. The main road to Mallaig is the A82 from from Glasgow or Inverness to Fort William, then the A830 to Mallaig. You should allow at least four hours for your journey from Glasgow, five hours from Edinburgh, or three hours from Inverness. You can park your car in the car park at the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre, the first building on your left as you come into Mallaig. The ferry terminal is five minutes’ walk from that car park, but you can drive to where the ferry leaves to deposit any luggage before you park. If you have large or heavy items, call the Mallaig CalMac office on 01687 462403 (option 2) and ask about transporting them as freight. A useful web site to visit is www.travelinescotland.com which has a journey planner and all the timetables (contact 0871 200 22 33).
You must book your bike onto the train well in advance of traveling as there are limited bike spaces and its often booked up! Bikes are free on the ferry and train and a great way to get between the bothy and the pier.
Calmac ferries run from Mallaig to Eigg all year round. You don’t need to book for this ferry, but you can call 01687 462403 (option 2) for information, especially in case of potential bad weather. For service status in poor weather see http://status.calmac.info/service-status.aspx. To get one time service status information sent direct to your mobile text ‘CALMAC 19’ to 60030. Text this on the Friday before your ferry departure. Or call Calmac Service Information line for an update on 0800 066 5400.
Sheerwater ferry from Arisaig to Eigg (summer only), booking essential call 01687 450 224
Eigg is an exposed island with occasionally extreme weather, even in the summer. Please be aware that ferries are sometimes cancelled, especially in the winter. We recommend you take out travel insurance, if you don’t already have it, to cover any costs incurred due to travel problems. This can be found online for under £10 for a single trip policy. You are responsible for arranging backup accommodation in Mallaig if needed. For accommodation in Mallaig or Arisaig please see the Road to the Isles website. We especially recommend Sheena’s Backpacking Lodge (dorm bed £17) and Springbank Guest House (£30 B&B) or The Moorings (price available upon request).
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
The bothy hosts, Lucy Conway and Eddie Scott, will meet you off the ferry and give you a lift to and from the bothy at the start and end of your residency. Thereafter you are responsible for your own transport around the island – by foot, bike or taxi. Sweeney’s Bothy is on Lucy and Eddie’s croft and they live in the house closest to the bothy. They will replace supplies, refresh bedding between residencies and help in the case of an emergency, but please be sensitive to their privacy and time.
WHAT TO BRING
Wellies or hiking boots
Slippers or thick socks for wearing indoors
Hat, scarf, gloves
Long johns for outside in cold weather
Waterproofs, torch or head-torch (needed all year round!)
Batteries for torches etc
Sun screen & midge repellent in the summer
Any art supplies required including stationary
Sleeping bag(s) and roll-mat(s) (only required for 2+ occupancy)
Toiletries (please use natural/organic shower products)
Travel insurance – read important information on travel to Eigg below
*Artists should bear in mind that all luggage should be carry-able on and off the ferry by hand, or on the CalMac freight service.*
The studio has an amazing view out over Rum. There is trestle table, 2 benches and a comfortable working stool. There is wall space suitable for propping or hanging canvases etc, and a small library with art books, maps and history of the island.
TELEPHONE & INTERNET
There is no internet or 3G access at the bothy, but there is an internet cafe at the Pier. There is no mobile signal at Sweeney’s bothy. The nearest point for mobile signal (depending on your network) is in the middle of the island, two miles away. Emergency calls can be made to and from Lucy & Eddie’s house. There is a public telephone box at Tigh An Sithean (a few minutes’ walk from the bothy).
The Bothy is designed to suit one person, but it can sleep 2 on a mezzanine bed, with access via a ladder (bedding is provided for this bed only). A further 2 can sleep on the studio floor (roll mats and sleeping bags are not provided). The maximum amount of people allowed at any time to stay in the bothy is 4. Camping by the bothy is allowed, as long as there is still no more than 4 people in total.
There is a wood burning stove with a hot-plate and an oven for cooking, plus a kitchenette with a gas burner, and a sink. The bothy is connected to a central water supply, which comes from a natural spring and is safe for drinking. Pots, pans, plates and cutlery are all provided. There is no fridge, but an outdoor cool-box is provided. Please be aware that only paper, card, cans, and glass can be recycled on Eigg; these should be taken with you to the Pier on route to getting the ferry home. Plastic cannot be recycled; please bear this in mind when shopping and packing for your trip. The bothy has basics like salt, pepper, cooking oil, matches, foil, kindling and washing up liquid. There’s also usually ( although not reliably) a variety of tinned and dried goods (porridge, pasta, rice etc) left by previous artists as well as some herbs and spices, tea and coffee, sugar.
An outdoor shower is installed on the decking outside the bothy, with hot water supplied by a back-boiler on the stove and a solar hot water panel. There is no washing machine. There is a separate composting toilet 15 metres from the bothy, toilet roll is provided.
HEATING & LIGHTING
A wood-burning stove heats the bothy and a solar PV panel powers 3 lamps. There is a plug-socket for charging laptops and cameras but the power source is limited and only essential electrical goods should be brought. The bothy is off-grid, meaning it has a photovoltaic (PV) panel generating enough electricity to provide lighting and allow you to charge a mobile phone/laptop or run a radio. It won’t power a hair dryer, kettle or anything else that makes heat or requires a lot of power.
The Isle of Eigg Shop is a well-stocked shop and has a post office. The post office has a cash point which is free to use, but you are advised to bring enough cash with you to last your stay, in case of any problems. The shop is 4 miles from Sweeney’s Bothy, but can deliver if you order in advance or make an arrangement whilst you’re on the island. The shop accepts debit and credit cards. Most of the year, as well as the shop you can order organic veg and eggs from Eigg Organics.
THINGS TO DO
Next door to the shop is Galmidale Bay Café & Restaurant which is open most days for breakfast, lunch & dinner in the summer months and on ferry days in the winter. It also doubles as a pub most evenings in the summer and occasionally in the winter months. It also accepts debit and credit cards. It takes about an hour to walk from Sweeney’s Bothy to the shop and tearoom, or you can stick your thumb out and catch a lift. You can also hire a bike from Eigg Adventures. There is a restaurant 300m from the bothy, called Lageorna – this is open most nights in the summer months and by arrangement in the winter. There is a range of other accommodation near the bothy, including camping, bothies, yurts, bed & breakfast, self-catering & a guest house. See Eigg Accomodation. Eiggy Bread also supplies and delivers food by arrangement.
Eigg Taxi service: Call Eddie on 01687 482 414 or Charlie on 01687 482 404
If you want your own transport whilst on the island, bring your bike. Alternatively you can also hire a bike from Eigg Adventures.