The historic isle of Inchcolm is advertising for a manager to live on the island and care for its beautiful medieval buildings.
For certain hardy souls, the prospect of living in virtual solitude on an isolated isle sounds pretty close to heaven. Aspiring Robinson Crusoes should take note of a recent job posting by Inchcolm, an island in Scotland’s Firth of Forth.
Located to the north of Edinburgh, the 22-acre island has had a long and storied past of full of devout monks, military adventures and helpful hermits. The island takes its name from St. Columba, a missionary who was claimed to have visited the island in the 6th century.
Its early years are shrouded in mystery, but Inchcolm was thought to have been the site of numerous religious orders throughout the centuries. Real records of the island’s habitation start in the 12th century, however, with the building of its Augustinian monastery at the behest of a grateful monarch.
Hermits had previously dwelled on the island – when King Alexander I was stranded on Inchcolm in 1123, a friendly recluse was said to have fed and looked after him, which led to his founding and financing of the later monastery. The island was variously attacked by raiders, occupied as a military garrison, used as a prestigious cemetery, and even had a mention in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
It’s quite a lot of history for one small island, and its new manager will have to quickly get up to speed. Several ferry tours drop by Inchcolm and give visitors an hour and a half to see the well-preserved monastery and ruins of the ancient cells where hermits spent their lonely days.
Fortunately, Inchcolm’s new manager won’t have to endure a totally hermetic existence, and the cozy two-bedroom cottage next to the monastery has a few more luxuries than prior inhabitants of the island were accustomed to. Another staff member will share the cottage and provide company during Inchcolm’s 8 month season, from March to October each year.
The pay is £20,000 for the season along with board in the cottage, but drawbacks include having to bring food and potable water from the mainland, along with limited television and internet reception. Regardless, the job has reportedly attracted more than 100 serious applicants from as far away as South Africa, America and Italy.
According to Historic Scotland, who run Inchcolm, the real allure of the job is the novel environment. “The main thing about living on the island is that it offers an adventure and the chance to experience new things,” said a spokesperson. “You have the whole island to yourself in the evenings, to enjoy beautiful views and the stunning wildlife.”
Applications are being accepted for the post until February 15th – aspiring island hermits can find out more at: Historic Scotland
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