An artist who lives on a tiny Scottish island where people use wheelbarrows instead of cars says there is more freedom and no crime
15.09.2023 - 14:37
Easdale Island sounds almost mythical.
The tiny island off Scotland's west coast has no vehicle access, no crime, and plenty of wheelbarrows, according to Lisa McQueenie, an artist who has lived there since May 2022.
McQueenie is one of 60 people who reside on Easdale, which is less than 10 hectares in size, or around 1 square foot, making it the smallest permanently inhabited island in the Inner Hebrides, according to its website.
She currently runs an art gallery out of her home, selling a range of hand-made items including sea-glass jewelry, crystal necklaces, and driftwood houses.
Speaking to Insider, McQueenie said she moved to Scotland from Blackpool, a bustling seaside resort town in England, at the beginning of 2022 because she longed for a change of pace.
After a four-month stint in the nearby town of Oban on the Scottish mainland, McQueenie said she and her partner decided to relocate to Easdale after she accidentally discovered the island during a walk in a rainstorm.
The artist said she was walking on Seil, another island that's connected to the mainland via a bridge that overlooks Easdale, and was blown away by its beauty.
"It took my breath away. You know what it feels like when you see a rainbow? I was like, 'That's amazing,'" McQueenie said.
Shortly after, McQueenie and her partner were able to find a home on the island.
Unlike some other islands in Scotland, there are no bridges connecting Easdale to the mainland. There is one small ferry with 10 seats, which can make transporting suitcases and large belongings to the island slightly tricky.
But McQueenie said she and her partner's new neighbors didn't think twice about helping them move their belongings from the ferry to their home.
"They were like little ants, toing and froing, bringing the stuff to our house," she said.
"This is what really takes your breath away..." McQueenie trailed off, appearing to hold back tears. "The unconditional love. People do something and they don't expect anything back."
This sentiment was echoed by Donald Melville, another Easdale resident who has lived on the island for 30 years. Speaking to Insider earlier this month, Melville said the islanders "speak to everybody" and are welcoming to all visitors and new residents.
Island veterans don't see the lack of transportation as a hindrance, McQueenie said, adding that almost everyone uses wheelbarrows to get their groceries and other heavy items off the ferry and to their homes.
McQueenie said she still sometimes forgets that there are no cars and often looks while crossing the street out of habit.
"There's quite a lot of freedom," she said, adding that people don't have to worry about their children or their pets potentially getting hit by a car.