We have been farming the island of Auskerry for 35 years. The stretches of water that separate us and the nearest islands are subject to strong tides, and we are often unable to cross for anything up to 6 weeks in the winter. Even in summertime it can be hard to find a day that is safe to take the two hour crossing in a small boat.
As a result we have had to be very self sufficient in terms of practical skills. We have extended our house from a one-roomed stone bothy to a four bedroomed family home as our family has grown, creating a garden along the way that has to be very hardy as the trees and bushes are regularly battered by salt-laden storm force winds.
As we are the only family living on the island we home schooled our three sons until the youngest left in 2010. Lessons were sometimes a challenge when island life was more interesting, but nothing beats a schoolroom window view of killer whales cruising offshore!
We built our house on the relatively sheltered corner of the island where, at night in the summer we can hear hundreds of sheep hooves shuffling the pebbles beneath our bedroom window. In the winter When the winds blast we are huddled by our peat fire whilst the ‘Rolies’ snuggle into the shelter of rocky crags and caves.