Island living

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Marigold
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Island living

Post by Marigold »

The island of Rum, in the Inner Hebrides, is seeking new residents. Would anyone be tempted? I wondered what advice Diane and HenGen might have for applicants.
https://uk.style.yahoo.com/remote-scott ... 20543.html

Also see the island website with more info; http://www.isleofrum.com/news.php
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LadyA
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Re: Island living

Post by LadyA »

Sounds tempting!
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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Marigold
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Re: Island living

Post by Marigold »

Did you click the link to the application form? I can understand why they want to discourage freeloaders, but it does sound very thorough, shall we say. No use us applying, we have some of the skills but not enough energy, and I’m not pregnant or likely to be. I see the original form had a closing date in April, now extended to the end of August, so you all still have a chance to consider a new start! They claim to have better broadband than here in Hampshire, though.
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Island living

Post by Hen-Gen »

Interesting Marigold. They’re not the first to try this kind of recruitment campaign. They did it here in the 80s. Having holidayed on Rum on two occasions I wouldn’t move there unless you like the look of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies.😀
High, black hills swirling with mist. Midges that attack with eagle-like ferocity. But different strokes for different folks.
On a more serious vein island life does not suit everyone. The number of people who move to islands but then leave after a year or two probably outnumber the actual population. Different kinds of social pressure exist which many find irksome. Lack of access to facilities dispirit others. Finally the weather can be challenging. Balanced against this, in most cases, are supportive and caring communities, cheap housing, lack of crime and beautiful scenery.
Having said all that I hope the community on Rum are successful. Most island populations are in free fall and communities that have existed for millennia may collapse in this generation. The total population of all populated islands (about 87 islands) is about 105,000 I think. And two thirds of this number live on just four of these islands (Lewis/Harris, Orkney Mainland, Shetland Mainland and Skye) In the 19th century on most islands it was many times this. On Fetlar there were once 900 people. It’s now 63. Some islands, as a result of community buy outs or having good landlords, have got growing and vibrant communities. Eigg and Gigha spring to mind. Others, like Fetlar, are increasingly becoming retirement homes in the Atlantic Ocean.
A cottage on an island in the eye of the storm
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LadyA
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Re: Island living

Post by LadyA »

Marigold wrote:Did you click the link to the application form? I can understand why they want to discourage freeloaders, but it does sound very thorough, shall we say. No use us applying, we have some of the skills but not enough energy, and I’m not pregnant or likely to be. I see the original form had a closing date in April, now extended to the end of August, so you all still have a chance to consider a new start! They claim to have better broadband than here in Hampshire, though.
No, I didn't. I don't think I could uproot myself at this stage, and move away from family.

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Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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Marigold
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Re: Island living

Post by Marigold »

No of course not. I was just interested to see what they are looking for.
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Island living

Post by Hen-Gen »

Uprooting is an issue for many. It means separation from family and friends at least on a regular basis. I was 60 when I moved here but had been visiting the Scottish islands all my life so had, perhaps, a familiarity with the social conventions and way of life.
Also having limited financial resources it meant I was able to afford the kind of life I could not do on the mainland of Britain.
One of the questions that sooner or later arise from locals is why you did. An underlying inference is that you were running away from something. It’s hard to explain that one might be running towards something that you imagine may be a softer and older perception of the human condition and the way it interacts both with one another and with the environment.
Would I recommend it as a course of action for others to follow? I would urge caution and advise them to really think it through. It has worked out for me but clearly doesn’t for a large number of others. No one wants their communities to be swamped by incomers but either by retaining young folk or by phased immigration the 83 underpopulated islands would be reinvigorated by the infusion of about a quarter of a million people.
A cottage on an island in the eye of the storm
dianefairhall
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Re: Island living

Post by dianefairhall »

We bought our house here two years ago. I lived in Scotland when I was young and started school here. Like Hen-Gen I've been to many Scottish islands but loved Lewis as soon as I saw it on holiday in 2013 so that's the one we chose to move to. They say here that if you can last two winters then you'll stay. We've done our two winters now and we're going nowhere.
Apparently there was an influx of people from Halifax a few years ago but they've all gone again, it doesn't suit everyone. Lewis/Harris is slightly different from other islands in that most things are closed on Sundays. It doesn't bother me, I rather like it in fact as it reminds me of my childhood. I don't suppose it will last many more generations.
One really big advantage is the feeling of community in the settlements. During the lockdown we have had volunteers delivering our medicines and shopping, fetching chicken food, etc.
I've not been to Rum but I've been to Eigg and they have a strong community there, too. I don't think I'd like to live on a smaller island than Lewis, though. Stornoway is half an hours drive north, Tarbert (Harris) about the same south. I can live with that. Having to go off island to do my shopping wouldn't suit me.
I think Rum would be a wonderful opportunity for young people and I wish them well.
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Marigold
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Re: Island living

Post by Marigold »

I liked your very thoughtful reply, HenGen, based as it is on experience rather than wishful thinking. I wonder, if your quarter of a million new residents arrived tomorrow, would island life be changed so much that all those who had chosen it for the space, solitude and unspoiled territory might then want to move on somewhere else?
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Island living

Post by Hen-Gen »

Well there’s always that risk Marigold. But much as I love my lifestyle it’s no future for the islands to be a retreat for middle class retirees like me. On this island 17 of us are of pensionable age. There are only 4 who are under the age of 16. The islands need jobs in order to sustain populations that are viable and dynamic. I’m not talking about large scale immigration. A quarter of a million people distributed among 83 islands proportionally to the current populations would be about a 150% increase. In this island that would increase the population from 63 to about 150 which is still a fraction of what it once was. It then keeps the primary schools, doctors surgeries and ferry services going. Once you lose these then the island becomes unattractive to potential immigrants and to the endemic young folk and you are locked into a downward spiral. As Diane says some places, like Eigg have transformed themselves with state aid and forward looking residents. Others like Lewis are big enough to thrive.
My interest in this is that as a Community Councillor I know that the greatest single wish of the community here is to arrest the population decline and then to grow it. This needs a raft of interconnected initiatives by the government, local authorities and island residents. I also know that in small islands discord can also destroy the communities. Without going into salacious detail Canna, Papa Stour and some years ago Rum itself suffered these kinds of experiences.
Fragility is the word bandied about by those with an interest in the Scottish islands. It is only since moving to one that I have fully realised just how true this is.
I’m sorry if I sound like a preacher on this subject but I consider it a duty to do anything I can to help with the aspiration of saving such communities. Notwithstanding the importance of safeguarding rare birds and plants, human beings are an endangered species in most of the islands. Dereliction is everywhere and much land is falling into neglect and virtual abandonment. The once thriving crofting communities are disappearing.
A cottage on an island in the eye of the storm
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