Some people, who we tell of our plans, initially get the impression we are becoming hermits, on some lonely and desolate island-like place; far from any people and all on our own. "I bet your nearest neighbours are miles away", or "Won't you get lonely and miss people?" are two of the responses we commonly get.
But there is actually a whole community of Crofters and Crofts, spread along the south coast of the Peninsula. There are also a couple of guys on the north coast too - looking across to Ullapool. There are three settlements along the south coast: Scoraig (located near the jetty), Carnach and Ruigh' Riabhach (where our croft is located). and one on the north coast, called Achmore. Within these places a total of around 80 people live, work, croft and generally get on with their lives.
The map (above), shows the crofts and settlements, and their relationship to each other and the 'mainland' below the peninsula. As you can see - marked with the red circle - our Croft is almost the furthest one to the east. So we are closer to the car park (at Badrallach), on the path, for walking in; but furthest from the Scoraig Jetty (which can be seen just before the small protrusion to the west), which is opposite the Badluarach Jetty).
It also surprises people that there is schooling in the community too. Both Primary and Secondary - up to age 14. Older kids head over to Ullapool, and board during the week. From what I can gather, they are looking for younger families to move up and 'populate' the school; so if a change to your own lifestyle is needed, check it all out. But not too many of you - the whole point is to get away from the madding crowds, not have them follow us up there!
A number of businesses also work from the peninsula. Here's a list of the ones, I am aware of (apologies if I've missed any and please feel free to drop them in the comments):
Scoraig Weave - www.scorraigweave.com
Scoraig Arts - www.scoraigarts.co.uk
Scoraig Wind - scoraigwind.co.uk
Tom's Bothy - toms-bothy.co.uk
The Bunkhouse - scoraig.com/old/bunkhouse.html
So why, with there being so many people there, is there no easy road access in. I think it has even been offered as an option at times, but the residents have refused it. This is explained succinctly by a sign, that can be found at the Lighthouse (that happens to be in the middle of the peninsula, where it was moved and preserved, by residents, when it was being replaced by an automated one). The sign reads:
"But wouldn't we really like a road here to make life easier? At times, like a pitch dark winters night in the rain with a car-load of groceries, yes, we'd all probably like to just drive up to the door. But we don't lock our doors, we don't worry if our children are a bit late home from school and we talk to each other a lot more as we walk around than we would if we could just get into our cars. The lack of road access is one of the main things that makes Scoraig a special place to live."
So, as this sign suggests, its a unique place, with equally unique people; plenty of them. I've even been speaking to my nearest neighbour, over email, already. He sounds like a very nice, helpful chap; who I'm looking forward to meeting. I know his name and it definitely isn't 'Friday'!