If you are a big fan of Scottish Islands or island hopping in general, there is a good chance that you will have heard of the name Andy Strangeway.
Andy was the first person, not only to land but also sleep on all 162 Scottish Islands which are 40 hectares and above in size. He achieved this amazing feat in 2007. Since then, he has added to this total, which now stands at an awe-inspiring 168 islands, the last three being Craigleith, Lamb (where Andy helped Uri Geller to land on his own newly purchased island) and Bound Skerry.
Even after completing such a remarkable achievement, Andy remains level-headed. He thinks it must be the Yorkshire-man in him. I recently had a long telephone conversation with Andy about Scottish Islands, Access Rights to Scottish Islands and Rockall.
The first thing that came across to me was Andy’s passion for each subject. Andy was in his mid thirties (a gentleman never reveals his age) when he started on his epic quest to land and sleep on all 162 Scottish Islands. Now I happen to know that he was the same age then, as I am now – which filled me with a little bit of hope that one day, in the very distant future, I could possibly emulate Andy’s achievement. However, I have a long way to go. To read more about Andy’s exploits on Scottish Islands, go to the Island-Man website.
Access Rights to Scottish Islands
One of the projects that Andy is currently working on is about cementing access rights to Scottish Islands. Andy explained to me that he feels it is incredibly important for everyone to have access to all Scottish Islands – whether that is to land on or to camp wild on. Andy believes that one of the greatest contributions we can all make in protecting our wildlife and wild places, is to reduce our carbon footprints by undertaking adventures and holidays within the UK and the Scottish Islands in particular. He is working diligently with the relevant local authorities to bring this issue to a wider audience.
Andy has harboured (pardon the pun) an ambition to land and sleep on Rockall since he slept on the last of the recognised 162 Scottish Islands back in 2007. Rockall is just 25 metres wide, 31 metres long at its base and 21 metres high. It is over 180 miles away from the nearest land (Soay – part of St Kilda). Only 100 people have ever landed on Rockall and of those only 4 have actually slept there. Near the pinnacle of Rockall is a small 3.5 by 1.3 metre ledge, named ‘Hall’s Ledge’ after the first man to land there, Royal Navy Officer Basil Hall in 1811.
The training for Rockall has included Andy becoming the first person to sleep on the four most extreme points of Yorkshire and the summits of the three Ridings. Andy is at an advanced stage of planning for the Rockall adventure and he has one berth left (for which he has invited proposals) and hopes to set sail sometime during the summer months of 2011. For more information on Andy’s Rockall adventure, go to the Mission Rockall website.
As a result of Andy’s many exploits, he has brought a wider knowledge of Scottish Islands and the issue of access rights to the general public and to the mainstream media. I can say with great confidence that it’s good to have Andy on our side.
Hopefully in years to come, I can say, “I’ve done the Strangeways”, in the same way that walkers/climbers complete the Munro’s. It would be great to be the second person to land and sleep on all 162 islands. Now, that’s a challenge …
So if you are a fan of Scottish Islands and hadn’t heard of the name Andy Strangeway before, remember it. Because I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing it again soon.