This year the international documentary series Global Perspective has the theme of Islands, and for BBC World Service Radio Nick Rankin travels to Fair Isle, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the British Isles, to see how newcomers find their place in a small and tight-knit community.
Fair Isle is rocky and too windy for trees to grow on, one of the Shetland Islands way north of the Scottish mainland, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea.
At times in the last century Fair Isle’s population became so low that there was talk of evacuation, as happened on the island of St Kilda. But Fair Isle is an outward looking island which has always traded things like its famous patterned knitware, and its community has survived because of its capacity to absorb newcomers and make them its own.
In Sepember 2005 the Fair Isle community of around 65 people advertised for a family to join them, and after interest from all over the world, Tommy Hyndman, a hat-maker from Saratoga Springs, New York, his wife Lis Musser and their young son Henry were the successful applicants. Nick Rankin talks to them and other incomers of different generations to Fair Isle about creating a life there, as well as to the ‘indigenous’ islanders they have joined.
Treasure Isle was produced by Nick Rankin and Kate Howells of the BBC World Service. This program airs as part of our international documentary series Global Perspective: Islands.
Fair Isle Home Page
The Fair Isle web-site illustrates life on one of the most remote off-shore island communities in Britain.
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