The view along the path to An Sgurr on the Isle of Eigg, the Small Isles, the Inner Hebrides, Scotland
I had already been marvelling from afar at the dramatic geological feature of An Sgurr on Eigg from the beginning of my Inner Hebrides journey. It’s sticks up so abruptly like an axehead that has sliced through the island. It was formed 58.72 ± 0.07 million years ago; the result of one of the last eruptions of a volcano, the core of which now forms the Isle of Rhum. Thick viscous pitchstone lava of rhyodacitic composition flowed out, filling a river valley. The lava cooled and formed column-like structures, similar to those at Giant's Causeway.
The surrounding basalt was softer than the pitchstone, and hence the valley became inverted, with the pitchstone withstanding the erosion far better than the surrounding rock. An Sgùrr is thus an inselberg. The mountain appears most strikingly in the view of the eastern end, known as the Nose of Sgùrr.
I couldn’t wait to hike up to the top to take in the breathtaking views that I anticipated. This is a view of a farm along the path, with An Sgurr rising abruptly in the distance like the dorsal fin of a gigantic whale. It was a wonderful hike and the views along the way and from the top certainly didn’t disappoint! Looking down the sheer precipitous wall overlooking the sea was particularly dizzying. It would have been the perfect geological feature for constructing the ultimate unassailable castle on top of had anyone been that ambitious.
- © 2012 Duncan Murrell
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- From the Isle of Mull to the Small Isles via Coll and Lunga