On Monday night our life here on Croft 3 was the subject of Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild on Channel 5. The show was filmed back in April when a crew of 8 people, plus celebrity were here with us for a week; living alongside us, learning about our day to day lives now, where we came from and quite how such contrasting lifestyles came about. The researchers for the show approached us having read this blog and despite not being the first (or even second or third) such contact from researchers and journalists after meeting with some of the team, chatting via email, phone and skype (a challenge in itself living here as we do) the four of us decided to go ahead with being filmed on this occasion.
This blog began as a way of staying in touch with family and friends while we were off travelling in 2011, initially charting the start of that adventure and all that packing up our lives to head off entailed – the planning and organising, the reasoning behind doing it in the first place. Once we moved here to Rum we had gathered a following outside of just the people who actually knew us – we met people along the way, attracted attention and interest and on a very small scale news of our adventures had spread sufficiently for this blog and our story to reach out to a wider audience. Since we’ve been here on Rum we have met several people who found us first online and came and said “hello” in person – here on Rum and back on the mainland when we’ve visited. People who are just like us, people who would love to have a similar lifestyle to ours and people who would hate every minute of living like this but are pleased to know that we’re doing it!
Four months after being filmed nearly 2 million people watched us feeding our animals, talking about our lives here, cooking dinner in our caravan, digging out the ground for our house plot. The response has been phenomenal. An overwhelming wave of support, affection and interest in what we’re doing here and why we’re doing it. We’ve had emails, facebook messages, comments on the blog, people subscribing for newsletters and making contact. Old long lost friends have been in touch, people we are in regular contact with from our old lives were finally able to get a glimpse of what our lives here are like, what a wild and amazing place we call home, how very different it is to the life they used to share with us back on the mainland.
Of course a one hour show could only ever capture a snapshot, a brief moment of our lives really, a miserable and cold week of Rum weather worthy of coats and woolly hats. If you were here earlier this week you could have been wearing a midge net and sweltering in the beautiful sunshine. The show focussed on us here on our croft so did not allow viewers to see the wild majesty of the Isle of Rum – the landscapes, wildlife, remote and rugged beauty. Our fellow islanders were mere shadows out of the corner of your eye as you watched but we are actually fully embraced by the tiny community we live in with a full social life and all of the joys and challenges that such a small group of passionate, hardy folk offer. We are realistic and honest about the prospect of self sufficiency and cover our costs here by a wide and diverse range of pursuits including shifts at the shop and hostel, castle tours, teashop and selling a wide array of our Croft 3 produce, foraged fruit preserves, baking, arts and crafts, photography, writing and more. Both Davies and Scarlett have fledgling businesses and we are constantly looking at new ways to both feed our souls and bring a little more cash to the Croft 3 coffers.
If you are reading this as a regular visitor to the blog do check out the show, if you’ve not made it across to visit us here then you will get a bit of a glimpse of our lives. If you are here because you watched the show then welcome, it’s great to know that the taster of what we are doing interested you enough to come and learn more. As I know we have had a lot of new visitors here I will post a few updates on what has changed here on the croft since the show was filmed in the spring, please bear with me on that if you have read it all before, I promise to put in some nice pictures and plenty of my usual rather rambling tangents as I go along.