While I was staying in the rented cottage, I kept walking buy a sign that said "For Sale" -- a plot of land right in the village, with a stone wall all around it and a stone byre in the corner. By this time, I had fallen in love with the island and I called the estate agent on the mainland to see how much it was.
"Make us an offer."
"I don't know -- I don't know anything about real estate in Scotland," I said -- and after some back and forth, they said:
This, I learned later, was about a quarter of the usual price.
Many people said not to buy it: I'd never get planning permission, there was no access etc. One farmer I remember well (more on him later) said, "If you could build on it, don't you think someone would have bought it by now?" And someone else said if HE said there was no access, there was no access.
But my landlord - the one who had said "I can't believe it! Everyone likes you! I haven't heard one bad thing about you! They say you're literary and always get out of the way for cars when you're riding your bike!" said,
"If anyone can do it, you can."
So when I got back to America I talked to the island builder about getting permission and a lot of other people and hired a builder in Wales to make me a shepherd's hut. Working out the details took MONTHS but finally he drove the hut to Scotland, onto the ferry, and to the island:
The children were enthusiastic from the start. My land is across the street from the school, and when they saw it coming,
They cheered -- literally, cheered.
"It's the coolest thing EVER!" someone said.
"Libby, are you SO excited?"
I was, especially after that welcome.
But once I'd got it set up enough to build a fire and make tea for the builder, I liked it inside the hut, too:
Those pictures were taken when the hut arrived and soon after. Being here wasn't always so idyllic, to put it mildly. More on that in other posts. But here's a video tour of the hut in 2014, once everything was really set up: