Meet the family-of-four leaving Cambridgeshire for remote island with population of 30

Rebecca and Matthew Barley are leaving their rented home in Littleport with their two children Katie and Poppy to live in the...

Rebecca and Matthew Barley are leaving their rented home in Littleport with their two children Katie and Poppy to live in the remote Isle of Rum. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley

A family-of-four are packing up to move 500 miles away to a remote Scottish island with a population of 30.

Rum from a distance. Picture: Supplied

Rum from a distance. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley

Rebecca and Matthew Barley are leaving their rented home in Littleport and are starting a new life with their children Katie and Poppy in the Isle of Rum.

Located on the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Rum is home to around 30 to 40 adults and children and can only be accessed by ferry or helicopter.

Earlier this year the island launched an appeal to get more residents, building four state-of-the-art eco family homes available for “affordable rent”.

Mr and Mrs Barley put in their application in August to live more than 500 miles away from their home of three years with no national grid.

The new family home in the Isle of Rum. Picture: Supplied

The new family home in the Isle of Rum. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley


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Mrs Barley said: “We moved to Littleport around three years ago from Suffolk and really love it here.

“Our eldest has made lots of friends at preschool in Ely and now at school in Littleport and the youngest was due to start nursery in Ely before Covid-19 hit.

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“But instead, our youngest has had lots of time causing mayhem here at home!”

Now, 28-year-old Rebecca and 32-year-old Matthew are looking for an easier and much quieter life in the Isle of Rum and move on December 6.

Rebecca and Matthew Barley. Picture: Supplied

Rebecca and Matthew Barley. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley

The couple have been busy packing up their lives while Rebecca balances a full-time career and while looking after their five and one-year-old.

“Moving date is creeping up fast! As bad as the state of the house seems right now, we are mostly packed with little spread out things left to go,” she said.

“The girls are getting excited and we are getting stressed, if moving so far wasn’t hard enough just add in winter and a pandemic.”

They got the good news in October that they would be moving into one of the four spacious new homes on the island to begin a new life.

The ferry taking people to the Isle of Rum. Picture: Supplied

The ferry taking people to the Isle of Rum. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley

Rebecca has been blogging the process from start to finish, publishing her ecstatic message on October 26 and revealing their new home.

The family’s new home sits on the edge of the village of Kinloch, with clear sweeping views up to the majestic Rum Cuillin.

A spokesperson for the Isle of Rum Community Trust said: “These houses remove a major barrier to accessing the many working opportunities on the island.

“The homes have been made possible with major support from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Islands Housing Fund.

Rum from a distance. Picture: Supplied

Rum from a distance. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Rebecca Barley

“For many years it has been difficult, if not impossible, to think of moving to live on Rum without a job offer and a home to move into.

“Rum has a population of between 30 and 40 adults and children. We have a small, dynamic primary and nursery school.

“All homes have high quality fibre broadband and the island has a wide range of job opportunities such as in childcare, food production, house maintenance, fish farming or marine and mountain tourism.”

In her latest post, Rebecca said: “This time next week we should be settling in for our first night in the new home and we can’t wait.

“The last few bits are coming together, packing and sorting. Has our bedroom always had this much carpet?

“I finish work this Friday, December 4, for a week off for the move.

“Our Internet provider however, turns out that finishes tomorrow. We don’t know when, could be morning, could be evening.”

The island received “an overwhelming” number of applications to live in the four new-build homes and the family will soon get to meet their new neighbours.

Rebecca added: “We are planning a family snuggle up in the lounge with blankets and duvets for our final night in what has been our family home for just over three years.

“There is no doubt we love it here, but as a family none of us can wait to start the next page in our adventures.

“The planning gone into this move, the plans we have when we are there, all of it!

“One final week of packing and the big question will be upon us… will it all fit in the van?!”

To read Rebecca’s blog, visit: www.therumdiaries78141658.wordpress.com/

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