WWOOFing on Eigg: Reflections

WWOOFing on Eigg: Reflections

With a bit of a bump, I’ve landed back in the beating heart of London and, all too quickly, my WWOOF trip to the Isle of Eigg feels very far away. My flat lease is ending and there’s cupboards to clear, utility companies to call and the not insignificant task of finding a new place to live. Hi, real life.

So as my final #WWOOFliveUK post (see previous posts here, here and here), I’m sharing the things I’ll miss the most about being on Eigg and the moments I’ll hang on to – ready to conjure them up when I’m inevitably desk-bound at 11pm on a Thursday evening or facing yet another trawl of rightmove. Enjoy – I know I will.

The morning feed and everything it entails 

  • Trying to locate the flock of eight Soay sheep (and occasionally coaxing them home with a tin of pellets).
  • Jumping into Lambie and Flora’s field and a very excitable Lambie running circles around me. Trying to avoid his knee-high horns was sometimes less fun.
  • Chatting to the chickens – they’re wonderfully inquisitive creatures and, in my mind at least, love a wee chinwag as I scatter their grain.

    Chickens and ducks enjoying the sunshine on Eigg.
    Chatty chickens and some less loquacious ducks.
  • Getting jobs done before breakfast – the feeling of accomplishment by the time I sat down to my bowl of porridge each morning was just brilliant.

Food gathering

  • Egg collecting and vegetable harvesting were both incredibly satisfying jobs. Stepping outside to grab the ingredients for your tea before bringing them to the kitchen to prepare is far superior to nipping to the shops and encourages you to really value the produce being used and the effort that’s gone into the growing, raising or laying of it.
Basket of free range eggs collected on the Croft.
The joys of e(i)gg gathering

Living on a croft on Eigg 

  • Looking across to another beautiful sunset, the Isle of Rum silhouetted against a Fruit Salad chew sky, it’s hard not to think ‘why would anybody live anywhere else?’. Romanticism aside, there are reasons for some people not to up sticks and move to the Inner Hebrides – some legit, some not so. But there is no denying the beauty of the place.
  • As I’ve discussed on previous posts, Eigg is mostly powered by renewable energy. For the most part, this didn’t impact on our daily lives. Contrary to what some may believe, the maximum use limit of 5kw at any one time didn’t prevent us from doing anything we wanted to. However, it was fascinating to spy on the little monitor just behind the kettle in the croft kitchen and to have some awareness of your own electrical usage throughout the day.
Solar panels and an overcast sky.
Solar panels and an overcast sky.
  • The night-time up there. To the east of the croft is the Sound of Rum and to the west is a high cliff ridge. When it’s dark, this location makes the croft feel as if it’s sitting in a huge bowl – the other side being invisible Rum, across the dark water. The sky is huge and sits above like a domed observatory and I couldn’t help but stop and stare. I will fondly remember squinting at the pastel Northern Lights with A. and star-gazing – every few seconds a new star appearing to our adjusting eyes.
  • Life on Eigg is necessarily intertwined with the natural world. In London, it’s very easy to forget (or ignore) that there is anything out there which humans can’t control. Flat to bus to tube to office doesn’t require any engagement with nature, aside perhaps a flickering ‘need an umbrella today’ thought. On Eigg, if the weather’s bad, the boat might not come over from the mainland with your favourite peanut butter delivery; or if there’s no wind, you might find your house without power. Sometimes the weather can really scupper things and you need to make alternative arrangements; sometimes you just need to put on an extra jumper and some waterproofs. This real connection with the outside is exciting and humbling.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time WWOOFing – it all went a little too quickly if I’m honest. If you have any questions about WWOOFing, visiting Eigg, or anything else I’ve discussed through my #WWOOFliveUK blog posts, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at isthisfood@outlook.com.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Hatti!
    I’m reading your post on the way to work this morning, oh how I wish I wasn’t commuting and was instead on Eigg! It sounds absolutely amazing and just how life should be without unnecessary annoyances that modern city life has given us. I can’t wait to organise my own wwoof adventure with Peter, you’ve definitely convinced me!

    Did you get much time to explore the place after your wwoof duties?

    I feel your pain in relation to the relentless nature of finding somewhere to live on rightmove. I don’t think there is a more soul destroying thing!! Still, it’ll be great when you do find somewhere.

    Take care, and thanks for a lovely blog to read this morning.xx

    http://www.ohbeans.co.uk

  2. London, what a contrast from where you just came back from, good luck finding something that’s not a rip off. I’ll never understand why you’d want to live in such a busy and overpriced place. Trawling rightmove? Hah, I’ve been doing that for months, looking for the right piece of land, you could always come WWOOFing when I find it 🙂

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