A popular butcher hangs up his apron after nearly 35 years of living off the grid on a remote Scottish island.
Gavin Skinner, of George Skinner & Sons Butchers in Barrowby, finished Friday, before traveling 497 miles north to live as a small farmer on the Isle of Raasay, a short ferry ride from the Isle of Skye.
He will join his three-year-old partner Lisa Loveday, who has lived on the 181-year-old farmhouse since July, after initially deciding to start selling his handmade felted crafts on the island.
The couple, both 51, aim to live off the grid and be self-sufficient with their own livestock, homemade products, a windmill and a wind turbine, a source for their water, wood stoves and wood from the trees. on their land as well as their own bees in the spring for Lisa to make beeswax wraps. Will, Lisa’s 20-year-old son, an agricultural engineer, also joins them.
After settling in, they all plan to convert some of the old crumbling buildings on their land into Airbnb vacation homes to provide visitors with a truly authentic off-grid experience, which they hope will be ready by next spring.
Lisa, from Saltby in Leicestershire, said: “I have always loved Scotland and especially the west coast. We were lucky enough to find the croft on Raasay Island which has around 162 inhabitants.
It is an incredible, unspoiled island, full of wildlife to explore and a fabulous coastline. The island is steeped in history and a geologist’s paradise with some really lovely people.
“Our small farmhouse plays a historic role, built in 1840 and is home to Calum Macleod, a small farm that hand-built the road to Calum on the Isle of Raasay for 10 years.
“If it hadn’t been for him, the road to the farm would be a three mile trail. We also don’t have light pollution and clean air, so hope to promote dark skies for astronomers to visit as well.
Our farm is at the northern end of the island and at the moment there are only two houses with permanent residents and a few vacation homes in use during the season. We are 11 miles from the main village of Inverarish – the journey takes 40 minutes along a single track road.
“Our farm is in the narrowest part of the island, on the valley side of Loch Arnish Bay, directly overlooking the Isle of Skye and its famous Old Man of Stor. Further northwest is the Isle of Lewis and Harris and directly north is the North Pole. Going up the road to the croft, you feel on top of the world. “
Gavin will spend his last day in the family business today (Friday) after joining full time in June 1986 as a third generation family butcher.
Gavin’s grandfather, George Skinner, started the business in Sedgebrook before opening on Main Street, Barrowby. George’s two sons, Colin and Keith, eventually took over with their sister Doreen.
As a child, Gavin lived next door to the store in Barrowby with his mother Pauline and father Colin and younger brother Ashley, who now runs a bakery business in Cornwall.
Although he looks forward to what the next chapter in his life will bring, Gavin has said he will miss his loyal customers.
He added: “My clients have all really been supportive of the move and think it’s fantastic. Many of them have become very good friends over the years so I will miss them very much, but I am very excited about what is to come.
Gavin still hopes to continue his talents as a butcher.
Lisa added: “He wants to continue especially with all the deer around us. His burgers and game sausages always pair well.
You can follow the couple on their new adventure on Facebook via @thetinyroost or @happyroosting. They are also in the process of creating a web page.