‘Stranded’ volunteers start a new life on Ardnamurchan
TWENTY-THREE people have settled on Ardnamurchan as part of a new TV show.
The group of volunteers, aged 24 to 55, will have to survive for 365 days in what Channel 4 describes as a remote corner of the UK – or ‘left after Acharachle’ to others.
The concept of the programme, entitled Eden, is to allow the group to start from scratch: build shelter, cultivate the land and form a society among themselves away from mobile phones, politics and the internet.
Supposedly stranded on a 600-acre site, contestants will be captured by 45 cameras, filming 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The first episode aired on Monday night and, while filming is expected to continue throughout the year, the initial onslaught showed the first three or so weeks since the group arrived.
On seeing his new home for the year, Anton, a rowing coach, said: ‘It’s absolutely gorgeous. My job is to survive for 365 days.’
Yoga instructor Jasmine, 24, showed the cameras a toilet created by the campers.
The facilities didn’t seem quite to her usual standard. However, she said: ‘But I have this view and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.’
The series is being produced by London-based KEO films whose application in 2015 to remove public right of access in the Ardnamurchan Estate caused controversy. Some people who live in the area were unconvinced they were was as ‘isolated’ as programme-makers would like audiences to believe, while others were concerned about the environmental impact.
The application was approved by the Scottish Government and restrictions on the area will continue until spring 2017 but Brian Murphy, who is councillor for the area, believes most people have now come to terms with the idea.
Mr Murphy said: ‘At the time there were a few people who were unhappy about it but that was mainly due to the restrictions. I think the majority who live in the area are quite happy about it now. It brings employment before the programme began and during and the hope is it sparks interest in the area and causes an influx for tourism.’
When asked if he could see himself living ‘ Eden style’ he said laughing: ‘Nope. Absolutely not.’
The show caused a reaction online with both locals and foreigners having their say.
On The Oban Times Facebook page Niall Gordan admitted: ‘Personally I detest this kind of programme ... never mind.’
Sylvia McKay said the show is described as another Castaway – the programme filmed in the Hebrides 17 years ago and which brought fame for Ben Fogle.
On the Eden page, Dan Kirton commented: ‘Stunning part of the world!’
Carlo Ruggiero asked where in Scotland was this set – and he received dozens of replies, including one from Neil Mac- Lennan who explained: ‘A few miles from a baker’s, hotel, doctor’s surgery, loads of holiday homes and a road full of tourists in campervans, about 15 miles from where I live.’
He added: ‘Turn left after Acharacle.’
Sue Brown, who runs a tea room close to the set, said: ‘I didn’t realise they were already in when I was there at Easter. Just thought the set was being completed. I did marvel at the fence. Whoever got that contract was laughing.’
The hope is it sparks interest in the area and causes an influx for tourism Brian Murphy councillor
The strangers from all over the UK have to learn to live together for a year.
Supposedly stranded in Ardnamurchan, above, the contestants were given tools, seeds and livestock to start them off.