More than 400 people apply to live on tiny Scottish island

A search for new residents for the island of Rum has attracted more than 400 applications from around the world.

Rum in the Inner Hebrides is trying to grow its population with four new homes attracting more than 3,000 inquiries from around the world. PIC: CC /nschouterden
Rum in the Inner Hebrides is trying to grow its population with four new homes attracting more than 3,000 inquiries from around the world. PIC: CC /nschouterden

Applications came in from a number of countries, including Argentina, USA, Australia, Spain and Italy with a number of bids made from Londoners looking to swap the city for island life.

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The Isle of Rum Community Trust put out a call for tenants after building four new two-bedroom eco homes.

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More than 3,000 notes of interest landed in the trust’s inbox, with inquiries coming from countries including India and Pakistan and 35 official applications made.

The population of the island in the Inner Hebrides stands betwewen 35 and 45 with hopes it will increase to around 60 with the new accommodation. The greater resident numbers will support the island school, which has a roll of just two, as well as future investment and infrastructure projects.

Steve Robertson, development manager at the trust, said he was “very pleased” with the response and added that the Covid-19 pandemic may have helped to drive the high level of interest.

Mr Robertson said: "Perhaps Covid-19 has helped and certainly it has been mentioned a few times. If there is further lockdown, you have all the space on the island, the beaches, the cliffs.

"There does seem to be something special about the idea of completely breaking from whatever life you have and moving to a small island.

"It can work really well for people. Some people might not stay forever, but it can be a really nice section in people’s lives.

“The trust is now doing the work of sifting through the applications. The reckon there are a lot of really good candidates.”

He said consideration would particularly be given to small families and those who had a a business they could take to Rum.

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Mr Robertson added: “Trades people would be a great asset here. It could be a handyperson but if someone had the tickets for the relevant trades and be willing to use them on Rum, that would be a great help.”

He said some applicants had shown interest in taking up one of the homes and building other properties on the island, to help drive further population growth.

All homes on the island are fitted with high quality fibre broadband, allowing people to work from home, with other jobs in childcare, food production, house maintenance, fish farming or marine and mountain tourism also sometimes available.

Care will be taken to get the right fit of people for the island, where challenges include the lack of healthcare.

Mr Robertson added: “Candidates have to convince the board that they have an understanding of the challenges of moving into a small community.

"Whether you are from London, New York or Glasgow, it is a chalenge. Over the years, we have had people come and leave because it has not worked out for them. Others have come, thought they wouldn’t stay but then have become really key people on the island.

"We might not get it perfect but we will do our best to make it clear to newcomers as to what they might expect from moving to Rum.”

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