They survived a year in the wilderness of the Highlands.
Now the remaining cast of a TV show have finally left their remote home – to virtual anonymity.
Instead of being crowned reality TV celebrities and fought over by agents, the 10 who made it through the 12 months have learned that only four episodes have been shown – the last seven months ago.
The remaining 13 contestants quit earlier in the show – with many saying they couldn’t handle the relentless Scottish midges.
Eden, the ground-breaking Channel 4 project, saw 23 strangers cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves in a corner of the West Highlands.
Intended as a combination of reality TV and sociology experiment, the participants were challenged to create a new model of society. But just as in the Biblical Eden, temptation proved too strong on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.
With the group torn apart by sexual jealousy, hunger and feuds, more than half the cast quit.
Struggling to live off the land, they resorted to smuggling in junk food and booze.
Local resident Maria Macpherson said yesterday: “The last 10 have left. In the end the show was a joke. Some of the participants were even seen in the dentist at Fort William needing treatment after eating chicken feed grit.
“It has not done this area any favours – it has just not lived up to expectations.”
Last July and August, four episodes were broadcast, starting with the cast walking through a gate in the 7ft fence that enclosed 600 acres, five miles from Acharacle.
A Channel 4 spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that Eden had “drawn to a close” and would be aired later, but no date had been confirmed.
She said: “The appeal of Eden is that it was a real experiment and when filming began we had no idea what the results would be and how those taking part would react to being isolated for months in a remote part of the British Isles.
“That’s why we did it and the story of their time, including the highs and the lows, will be shown later this year.”
Locals in Ardnamurchan are still holding out hope that Eden will one day provide a boost to tourism.