Frequently Asked Questions.
When and why did you leave Rum?
We left Rum in spring 2019. There is a long list of reasons why the time was right for the four of us to move on, a short version includes:
Having never built the cob house and having outgrown the caravan after 7 whole years in it. Having arrived on Rum as 2 adults and 2 children we were now 4 adults and life for us had simply moved on, while our surroundings had not.
Ady and I were no longer as able for the survivalist lifestyle thanks to age and injuries and were keen to find fulfilling new challenges . Davies and Scarlett were ready to spread their wings and there were simply not sufficient opportunities for them on the island.
So what happened next?
We keep this blog fairly regularly updated so have a read back and find out! We were also persuaded by our old friend Ben Fogle to appear on a revisited catch up for New Lives in the Wild – return to the wild. It was filmed during the summer of 2020 and aired in spring 2021. Obviously a 45 minute catch up show with plenty of flashback material only allows a limited amount of time to bring our story up to date, but feel free to leave a comment and we are happy to answer most sensible questions!
Have you finished building your cob house yet?
No, we have not. The spring of 2015 was very slow to arrive and the summer never really happened at all, so it did not get built during the year following the filming of New Lives in the Wild. Despite having lots of support from volunteers and friends progress was far slower than we’d hoped and we reached a point where we reconsidered how feasible the project was without an army of people working on it.
This was disappointing as it meant several winters in our ‘rather basic caravan’ (to quote Ben Fogle) but as ever we have used the lessons learned to improve our ideas about what happens next.
The cob house is still a project we would love to one day work on, but we are realistic about the resources in terms of people power that it would take and currently as a family we are unable to provide the hospitality that such a large group would require in terms of hosting them with food, shelter and facilities.
Do you have any photos of your house or the plans?
See above for the answer to photos of the house! We don’t have detailed plans, at least in part because we are not even sure ourselves exactly what it will look like. The cob project is going to grow from the earth and everyone who helps build it will also help shape it. Having a proper image of what it will look like is like trying to predict what a child will look like as an adult. If you google for images of cob projects though you will get an idea of the sort of vision we have though. Curving walls, cosy nooks and spaces, an open plan main area for cooking, living and eating in, small private spaces each for sleeping and keeping our ‘stuff’, lots of natural materials and windows.
I blogged about how we came up with the proposed lay out, as a collaborative family project developed over time with everyone’s ideas and input in my post ‘draw a house’.
Do you take volunteers / WWOOFers?
We have previously hosted volunteers and may well do so again in the future but in 2019 we will not be taking any volunteers. We do not have any large group projects planned and are not resident full time on the Croft ourselves at the moment. If you are visiting Rum and are interested in Croft 3 though please do get in touch as if we are around we are happy to meet you and show you around the Croft, talk about our adventures and chat.
Who lives on Croft 3?
Croft 3 is our Rum base although we are currently living on the mainland, still close enough to Rum to visit regularly and keep an eye on our livestock (which friends help us out with when we are not on island), stock up the Croft 3 shed with crafts and produce and catch up with our crofting life.
During the global pandemic the island has been totally locked down, Ady is now a key worker for the NHS and we all have work / volunteer responsibilities and roles here on the mainland so visits to the croft have not been possible.
We still have the croft tenancy and have a five year leave of absence which will give Davies and / or Scarlett time to decide if they would like to return to the island and work the croft. In the event that neither of them does we will sell the tenancy. In the interim once lockdown eases we will be back to the island as often as we are able.
Did I see you on telly?
Quite possibly! We were on Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild which first aired on channel five in August 2015. The show has since been aired worldwide and appears to be regularly repeated. A catch up revisited show was filmed in 2020 and aired in 2021.