As an undergrad Geology student you have to undertake what’s called a field mapping project at the end of year 2. The field mapping project is essentially about spending 6-weeks out at some location trying to understand the geology and make a geological map. It’s great fun. I chose the Island of Eigg to do mine….
Eigg? I hear you ask. Where is that?
Well, it’s an island off the west coast of Scotland below the Island of Skye. At the time I was there, it had about 50 inhabitants mostly living in the south of the small Island. I ‘lived’ on the north end of the island and sometimes I didn’t see anyone for days on end…..
I took two tents there as my intention was to camp. After day one, the first blew down snapping a pole and after day 3, tent 2 was also uninhabitable. Camping on the old monastery’s grave yard wasn’t my cup of tea really anyway. I found an inhabitant with a caravan willing to rent it to me for the remainder of the stay.
Somehow, it was an idyllic time for me. I had quite a few strange experiences on the island that are discussed in my book Inner Journeys and I won’t repeat here. Being alone on a beautiful but windswept island was simply amazing. For the first 3-weeks, I truly was isolated and alone and somehow you think. Really think when alone like that. You think with an intensity that mostly isn’t there. I would like to repeat the experience one day just for that ability to think.
Towards the end of my stay, I did meet a few folk. I started helping a fisherman in the mornings on his boat pulling in his lobster nets. I went to the island dance and met a bunch of people my age who were also there for the summer helping out on the estate. My father joined me for a week at the end and we shared a precious week as father and son nonstop talking about geology, life, and all the other stuff you discuss with your Dad. We climbed the mountain and walked the coastline. We made fires on the beach and we checked out rocky inlets for pretty stones and rocks. It was a week I shall never forget and nor did he.
Discover the island – now much changed I might say – via its website.
By the way – my field mapping project went pretty good too. I won the Department prize for the best project in my year!