THE building works on the new extended pier centre at An Laimhrig were largely completed in autumn 2022.
It has been an exciting time as the project, which has been six years in the planning, finally becomes a reality.
There is still some additional work to completed on the large green shed which, as well as serving as the plant room for the new building, will also soon be home to the local Coastguard team as well as some commercial units.
The provision of new toilet and shower facilities at Taigh Nighe has proven a huge benefit to visitors, allowing pod guests, sailors and wild campers access to hot water, toilets, a drying room and laundry facilities.
Some 18 months of building work has now been completed, giving us these fantastic new things to support our community and Eigg’s visitors… Taigh Nighe, the Green Shed, an extended and improved shop, craft shop and tearoom, all of which take advantage of the amazing views offered by the site.
There is also a new more energy efficient, biomass boiler which replaces the kerosene previously used.
While the building is open and being used every day, we are still bedding in and getting used to our new spaces. There is lots of landscaping and a safe area for children to play planned, and there remains some final bits to do in the areas surrounding the building. However, we are very excited to have this incredible new facility – a space we are very proud of and excited to grow into.
The building is a testament to the work done by architects WT Architecture, Morham & Brotchie quantity surveyors, structural engineers David Narro Associates, contractors Compass and Harley Haddow, and project manager Fiona Begg.
Eigg Trading own and manage An Laimhrig and surrounding area, and was the organisation delivering the project on behalf of Eigg’s Community and IEHT.
As the focal point of the island, the pier has always been a hive of activity. From the pre-buyout days when it consisted of simply a small tearoom and a separate craft shop, housed in two square buildings with battlements to the current building which was completed in 1998.
The old An Laimhrig complex was the first project completed by the Trust following the buyout and saw the replacement of the tearoom and craft shop buildings plus new premises for the island’s shop and post office which had until then been the corrugated iron building in the middle of the island.
Along with the new building, the completion of the pier saw a more piecemeal development of the entire area with new cattle pens constructed, the green storage shed erected and the installation of two large fuel tanks with the intention of creating an island diesel and kerosene business.
The new building included office space for the Trust as well as a waiting room and has served the island well in the intervening years.
However, the completion of the new pier project in 2004 allied with a more general increase in visitor numbers saw the old building begin to struggle to cope. Indeed, with a population that has now grown to around 110, more space was needed to simply meet islanders’ shopping and leisure needs.
Our new, larger shop has proved to be of great benefit to residents while the extended tearoom – complete with a separate bar area – will help allow for increased numbers of tourists to enjoy island hospitality while also catering to residents in the summer and winter months.
The Trust are hugely grateful to the funders who have made this possible: Highlands and Island Enterprise, Highland Council, the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, Centrica Energy for Tomorrow, SSE Highland Sustainable Energy Fund, and the National Lottery Community Fund.