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Sep 26 2014

Taransay: The Island that Inspired me to Travel

While I was making my way around the western islands and highlands of Scotland, I came across an island that, 14 years before, had first sparked my interest in exploring the world and having a bit of an adventure.  For that reason, it  undoubtedly had to be a Foto Friday one week.  This is that week.

At the start of this millennium, this small Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides, which had been uninhabited since 1974, became the focus of a BBC TV Series called Castaway 2000.  Basically, 36 people who were carefully selected, set up home, and formed a community on the Isle of Taransay for a year.  One of those whose life and career completely changed as a result being part of this year-long, televised, social experiment was Ben Fogle.  I remember avidly watching and following the series throughout the year, wishing I had known about it, so I could have applied to take part.  Whether I would have been chosen is another story but, at the time, I would have loved to have had the chance to find out.

We were all led to believe that Taransay was a remote island.  If I’m honest, I was a little disappointed to find out that the island isn’t actually that remote.  In fact, it’s less than 2 miles from the Isle of Harris, separated by the Sound of Taransay, which you can see in this photograph.  I was standing on the overcliff at Luskyntyre beach on South Harris when I took this shot, so you can see the island isn’t far from the larger Outer Hebridean islands.  I suppose I was a little naive to think it was so remote because things are never as they seem on TV.  Nonetheless, it definitely aroused my interest in exploration and adventure, although it wasn’t until 2008 when I finally did something about it and travelled around the world.

Because of the significance of this island to me, I really wanted to actually go and plant my bare feet firmly in the white sand on one of the beaches, but that wasn’t to be.  When I spoke to someone at the Tourist Information Office in Tarbert, the main town on the Isle of Harris, I was told that it was privately owned, so I couldn’t visit.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed; I was, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  At least I got to see the island, albeit from afar, that first aroused my curiosity to explore the world and have some adventures of my own.  Maybe, one day, I will set foot on the island and experience living on it firsthand for myself.  Having said that, I had a wonderful adventure exploring other Outer Hebridean islands on that trip.


You can see exactly where the Isle of Taransay is in relation to the larger island of Harris.

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Have your say

What TV series, film, or photograph inspired you to get out there and travel?  What was it that piqued your interest?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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