A community trust has been “swamped” by applications for a caretaker to look after a unique, uninhabited Scottish island with no running hot water and the only electricity is just enough to charge a phone or a laptop.
Applications have now closed for the unpaid job.
Candidates who want to live for the summer on Isle Martin may not have too many mod cons but can instead enjoy natural beauty, bird watching and archaeology.
Isle Martin is situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, three miles north-west of Ullapool in Wester Ross.
It has been the site of a monastery, a herring curing station and a flour mill. Now recognised as a bird sanctuary, it is owned and managed by a community trust. Tourists visit by ferry in the summer and there are a couple of houses to rent.
The nearest mainland is less than a mile away at Ardmair.
The 400-acre island lies below the towering cliffs of Beinn Mhor Coigach and opposite the ancient Viking Fort of Dun Canna.
The Isle Martin Trust was established in May 1999 as guardian of the island on behalf of the communities of Lochbroom and Coigach after it was gifted by the RSPB.
But after advertising for a “temporary resident” caretaker/housekeeper last month, it admitted the number of applicants was overwhelming. It has now closed to any more candidates.
“We’re sorry but due to the publicity we have been swamped with applications and messages,” said the trust.
“Thank you all so much for your interest but we are unable to respond to any more communications for the foreseeable future. If you have emailed with an application up to 10.30am Saturday May 29 your application will be considered but if you don’t hear from us by June 10 it is not being taken further…..we have sufficient high quality applications.”
“I’ll keep following in case you need someone next year”
Would be applicants were disappointed.
Dave Holdsworth wrote on the trust’s Facebook: “May be a disappointment to read this update, but firstly I’m sure the trust will find among the many a suitable candidate and I wish them all joy and happiness in their new role.
“To those like me, too late to apply and to those who have applied but do not get this post I pray we will all find our places. P.S. If you don’t find a suitable candidate, there are many more here who would like to be considered. Best wishes.”
Kram Royal said: “Gutted I’d of loved this. Former Royal Marines, and Fire Service currently serving as a Police Officer. Previous experience as a gamekeeper for Lord Lascelles, Harewood House and have a power boat licence.”
Even Katie Tunn, who starred in the TV survival series Eden, wanted to apply.
“Ah, I’m too late. I’ll keep following in case you need someone next year,” she wrote. “Hope it goes well and good luck to all the applicants!”
The trust had welcomed “expressions of interest” for the voluntary post “on our community-owned island from June to end September”.
It is probable that the island has been inhabited off and on for several thousand years
There is little in the way of documented history of Isle Martin prior to the late 18th century, although the island must have been an important place for many years prior to that. It is probable that the island has been inhabited off and on for several thousand years.
The only specific, but anecdotal, references are to a St. Martin who is reputed to have established a monastery on the Island, probably around 300-400 AD and after whom the island is named.
A flourmill was operated between 1939 and 1948 on the old herring station site. Wheat was imported by ship, and flour supplied to bakeries across the north. Most of the mill workforce was brought by ferry from Ardmair on a daily basis.
The last private owner of the island ceased further sheep grazing in 1969. A small herd of Highland cattle was then maintained until 1979, when Mrs. Monica Goldsmith gifted the island to the RSPB and since then no domestic stock have grazed the island.