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Inhabited, west coast Scottish islands - Eigg

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 The Isle of Eigg is the second largest, after Rùm, of the Small Isles. It is also the most easterly and only about ten miles west of the Scottish mainland. It is roughly triangular in shape with a bite out of the coast (the Bay of Laig) which faces north westwards towards Rùm. There seems to be some dispute if the name has Gaelic or Norse roots although it probably means ‘notched’. Does that definition refer to the ‘notch’ created by the Bay of Laig or the ‘notch’ in the skyline created by An Sgurr (see below) - or is the name derived from something completely different? It would seem that there is no definitive answer to that so it looks like everyone can decide for themselves. That aside, Eigg is roughly 5 miles long, north to south, and 3 miles wide, east to west. Running down the centre of the northern end of the island is Beinne Bhuide, which appears to be reasonably flat on top but surrounded on three sides (not the south) by almost vertical cliffs with grassy slopes below them

Inhabited west coast Scottish islands - Muck

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The isle of Muck is one of the Small Isles which is a small group of islands (normally given as four) just to the south of Skye. I say ‘normally given as four’ because, since I’m including tidal islands in my inhabited, west coast island tour as separate islands, then there are five islands in the group. The fifth, and smallest, is Sanday which is tidally connected to Canna. Muck is the smallest of the four but the second smallest of the five. It is the most southerly of the Small Isles. It lies roughly east to west, and about 2.5 miles long measured that way, and about 1 mile south to north at it’s widest. It has a permanent population of between 30 to 40 (depending upon which article you read - but not very many, anyway). It is fairly low lying with the highest point being Beinn Airen at only 449 feet. Beinn Airen is located on the western part of the island close to the southern coast. The main habitation is at Port Mor on the south coast which is reached by the CalMac ferry from Ma

Scottish politics - an independence and SNP check point update (rant)

 (A serious forewarning to anyone who stumbles across this post (unless you are a masochist of some sort). This post is a rambling rant which I wrote purely for myself as a kind of checkpoint as to where I think the SNP and the overall independence movement currently stands. I wanted to provide a point I could look back on after the next general election, just to see how close my thinking was to what actually transpired. At the same time I decided to publish it just in case I later felt the need to say “I told you so!” to someone. I also have to hold my hand up and admit to this not being, even by my poor standard, well written - as I felt a bit of a rush to publish it before too much time had passed. So, if anyone decides to go ahead and read what follows then please be aware that you have been warned.) Anyway, given recent events, I thought it was time I updated my thoughts on where the struggle for Scottish independence currently stands. The ‘recent events’ in question are; 1 The Ru

Current affairs - the current Hamas/Israel conflict (October 2023)

Before going on, I need to make it clear that I am not an expert, or even a student, of middle eastern politics and that the comments and observations which follow are based only on what I have seen and heard on the TV and in newspapers. While it is impossible to condone Hamas’ attack on Israel (Saturday October 7th 2023), I also can’t help thinking it would not have happened if Israel did not have what I see as a right wing, almost fascist, government.The indiscriminate murder of civilians, including children, is nothing short of atrocious, despicable and inhumane - but if you feel backed into a corner, with no escape, and continually abused, then I suppose an explosion of such violence should be expected. I certainly was not surprised. I would make it clear, at this point, that my comments about the Israeli government are not aimed at Jewish people in general but, as said, at the government. I know there are many Jews who also object to how their government deals with the Palestinian

Inhabited west coast Scottish islands - Coll

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The island of Coll is, in many ways (but not all), Tiree’s twin. It lies just a short distance to the north and east of Tiree and along the same compass bearing. In other words, if you draw a line, south west to northeast, from the middle of Tiree’s west coast to the north eastern tip of Coll, then that line will pretty much dissect both islands lengthwise. Coll is also roughly the same shape and size as Tiree with a similar acreage. Having said that, Coll is more of a torpedo shape, pointed at both ends (if, that is, you consider the small, uninhabited island of Gunna a part of Coll). Coll also boasts numerous sandy beaches. I read that it has even more sandy beaches than Tiree but if that is the case then it does not have as many huge sweeps of sand but more in the way of shorter beaches separated by rocky headlands. Due to the road which runs up the south east facing coast being some height above sea level I was not able to see if that coast hosted beaches or if it was purely rocky.

Inhabited west coast Scottish islands - Tiree

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Tiree is a smallish island to the west of Mull - almost stuck out in the middle of the Sea Of The Hebrides along with Coll. It is in fact the westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides - and it is, for example, further west than Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides (this mainly due, however, to the arc that the Outer Hebrides lies along). It is reached either by the CalMac car ferry from Oban or by plane from Oban airport (but also from Coll and Glasgow). As said, it is smallish - but not tiny. It is larger than, for example, the island of Danna - but much smaller than Islay, Jura, Mull, Skye and the major islands of the Outer Hebrides. It is shaped a bit like an arrow head (with a broken tip) pointing north east. That makes it a bit difficult to define it’s coast lines as there is only one full coast, the west coast, which aligns reasonably well with the cardinal compass points (Note that I am talking here about the general, or average, direction that any particular coast is facing, not jus