No 488 – The 82 Island Challenge

You may remember the interview with artist Katie Tunn last year regarding her 40 day and 40 nights solo camp experience she did on a remote uninhabited island off the Scot west coast last year? No? Then go back and listen to No 476

The artist in Island residence

Katie is an artist who moved from the hustle and bustle life of London to the quiet and glorious landscape of the remote Island of Skye a few years back to follow her passion for wildlife, caring for the outdoors and to inspire her creative soul. 

She is also an Ordnance Survey Get Outdoors Champion, a Marine Conservationist and a serious Leave No Trace advocate. Living on Skye where the normal population of 10K explodes into 660K during tourist season she see’s first hand every day the impact of so many people, vehicles, inconsiderate camping, irresponsible camp fires and random disposed rubbish has on the fragile infrastructure of this beautiful location.

The same question every time you see this. Why?

Katie now has three islands under her belt with only 79 left to go to complete the 82 Island Challenge. The idea of which came to her when she saw the poster produced by Ordnance Survey and SheffieldSheffield Uni which detailed every island around the UK larger than 5 sqkm. The poster can still be bought here.

Her first trip was to a beautiful waterfall up on the north east coast of Skye and sadly the moment she arrived was spoiled by a pile of human waste left on the track. It enforced once again the need to educate people about Leave No Trace and the simple responsibility of understanding how to deal with moments like this. Education is the key and enforcing on the young how important this is to the future of their planet.

However Katie also shows us her bivvy set up for the night too.

The second island she visited was Berneray. Somewhere she had been before and once again she found the island hospitality to be as simple and and warm as ever before. Research indicates that visitors to Berneray tend to be repeat visitors and thus the impact they make is less, which helps enormously. Katie did camp out on the beach once again in her Bivvy and woke with a fresh head and glorious views.

Iona is another island which explodes from 120 residents to 130K visitors during the tourist season. How can these islands cope with such pressure? Surely there needs to be a limit of access? However in Iona’s case the only vehicles allowed on the island are local, so the visitors tend to stay a day, spend locally and then leave. So the pressure is of a completely different nature.

Already she has picked up the need for visitors to spend locally and support the infrastructure. No matter where you live int he world, bills still have to be paid and mouths fed. Should all visitors be reminded that trying to do everything too cheap all the time, is actually killing the places they wish to visit?

Katie also featured in a local pop video at the same location as her first Island bivvy. It looks completely different with the music.

The story of Mel and her record breaking hand powered LEJOG can be found here

Katie can be found in all the usual places below;

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