I was surprised and amused (bear with me you will see why) to hear an article on the today programme on Scoraig. Scoraig is a stunningly beautiful but remote crofting community on a peninsular in the north-east of Scotland. The only way in is a “ferry”, basically a large rowing boat with an outboard motor, or a long walk in (and it takes a long time to get to the walk start since the road is terrible).
Scoraig has an interesting history on several counts. At the beginning of the 70’s a Cambridge graduate called Hugh Piggott then part of the “back to the land movement” moved into Scoraig. This was part of a general exchange of population I was told, the crofters sick of living without electricity moved out and the hippies who wanted the reverse moved in and took over their houses. Connecting the community to the grid was too expensive. After a few year Hugh thought he would like some power and looking around the most obvious resource was the wind. Being an engineering graduate he built a wind turbine to charge batteries. The first few were not very reliable but he has got better and better at it, runs courses and has been involved with at least one wind turbine manufacturer in Africa.
The community has gone from strength to strength. Its very mixed. When I visited there were still old hippies living in squalor without electricity and people who lived in very luxurious attractive houses. There are now a lot of wind turbines and lots of PV’s and a little bit of pico hydro. It has to be said on the quay I saw lots of bags of coal. There are very few trees on the Scoraig peninsular but there were plantations of saplings to address this problem.
The reason why it came up on the radio yesterday is because they have been advertising for a new primary school teacher but apparently not been straight with people about the remoteness of the community (although this advert seems quite honest). I hope they find someone, its a beautiful place with people struggling to live sustainably like the rest of us.
More info on Hugh Piggott here.