It was quite a lot different then, really. There were an awful lot more of the original Eigg folk here who I suppose were getting on in years. At that point, most of the folk would’ve had a croft. And the island were very ... two separate halves really because there were the crofters in Cleadale, who were pretty independent from whoever happened to own the island at the time, and then the other side of the island were mainly people who had come in to work for Schellenberg, doing all sorts of different things. And a lot of the houses that were all tenanted were holiday cottages that the estate ran as a sort of holiday business. But it were just a different atmosphere then. There were a lot of enthusiasm when we first came here because previously the population had got quite low, so, I would say, that folk who were here at the time were really welcoming to people, especially if they were young families. You know, young children, the school had got really low so they saw all the new people arriving as being real ... breathing a bit of life into the place. But there were a lot of different ... I mean, the first few years we were here, there were a big turnover of staff so a lot of people came and went. It’s a shame because a lot of them were good folk that would’ve been really up for making a life here. But it was quite difficult working for Schellenberg. He was ... He just ... He would come and go an awful lot and change his mind an awful lot and interfere with what people were doing quite a lot, and he certainly weren’t very keen on giving people security of tenure, which was a lot of what led on to what we did later really. I mean, that were mainly the reason for the buy-out, to give people security and opportunities to run businesses and do whatever really.

  • Maggie Fyffe
Thursday 4th February 2010