Stacey Dooley meets … hardly anyone as she films on a remote island


With a travel case as neat as her long black coat, she had packed all the essentials normally needed for an overnight stay.

However, the star of the TV series Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over may not have been quite prepared for the rugged terrain of the remote island of Gometra, where she had to maneuver the wheels of her luggage with great care.

Upon arriving at Gometra House, Miss Dooley then realized that she had failed to pack a torch, the ultimate condition on an off-grid island, for those sudden overnight trips to the bathroom.

This popular former winner of Strictly Come Dancing might not have been prepared for the impact this island visit would have on her town girl ways, either, but what a difference a day makes.

Gometra, an island off the northwest coast of Ulva, which lies to the west of Mull, can only be reached by boat or by an eight mile hike, via Ulva, at low tide. There is no electricity, no public water supply, no cars, no store, no general practitioner, no ferry, no surgery and no school.

A visit here would open the eyes of most people and by the time Miss Dooley left Gometra she had seen the good and the bad of living a simpler life and had learned the need for everyone to do their part to save the planet. .

In the Eco Warriors episode of his Sleepover series, which airs on Channel W at 10 p.m. on Monday, May 17, the famous documentary filmmaker swears: “I’m going to leave here and think about where I’m traveling, what I’m eating, what that I consume. . ”

The presenter is seen settling in for a candlelit evening, with island owner and conservationist Roc Sandford and his daughters, Savannah, 22, and Blue, 18.

Mr Sandford said: “Stacey is amazing, she was fitting in well, but I think she was a little worried at first because she didn’t know what she was going for.”

He added: “She referred to herself as being a city girl, who didn’t know what she was doing in the country, she said she should have brought two torches, but she brought a thermos flask she left, so that’s my memory of the visit. ”

There is no television at Gometra House and The Sandfords, who are all environmental activists, and Miss Dooley chatted over dinner.

Mr Sandford recalled: “We had rice and dahl that Savannah made and Stacey made the bread, it was delicious, we showed her how to grind the flour.”

After dinner, the entertainment saw the family perform mini-plays, as they do at the Gometra Theater Festival, which normally takes place in the summer when a few visitors join the island’s population, which fluctuates between five and nine. .

The film crew and Miss Dooley, who was holding a candle to light up the action, joined in the fun and reflected on the evening in her program, she said, “At home I would be on the couch, watching Netflix with a cup of tea. ”

While the film crew slept in the two, Miss Dooley stayed in a room in Gometra’s house, with no heating or hot water.

During the day she turned to log cutting and went for a walk on the rocks with Savannah and Blue, but passed on the offer to join them for a dip in the sea. No packed swimsuit maybe. to be?

Blue, who made headlines in February after spending 30 days in an underground tunnel in Euston Square Gardens in London, protesting the HS2 bullet train project, and Savannah, are environmental activists.

At a deeply moving part of the program, they tell Miss Dooley about their decision never to have children, because of the state of the world.

Although Mr Sandford finds the choice of his daughters sad, he thinks it is their decision to be made. His personal mission is simple, he wants to stop the destruction of the planet as a result of a man-made climate emergency.

He wants people to examine the way they travel, what they eat and how they warm up, in order to reduce carbon emissions.

His own efforts are to follow a vegan diet and avoid the luxury of a heated bedroom, even in the freezing depths of a Hebridean winter.

He added: “When it’s cold, I will have a quilt under me and two quilts above me – the thirteen types of tog. Then I will wear thick socks and two layers of long woolen underpants, a waistcoat. wool, a wool polo collar, a wool hat and a hoodie.

I am extremely comfortable, you can be comfortable without polluting. ”

The 63-year-old abandoned his car, in addition to stealing, years ago. His only trip off the island since the spring 2020 lockdown has been to visit the GP’s office in Salen, on Mull, to get vaccinated against Covid19.

While not connected to the outside world at home, it has the advantage of global communications in a 12-by-10-foot wooden shed that serves as its office.


About Lillian Coomer

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