If you search online, there is more than one island in the vicinity of the Hebrides has the name ‘Pabaigh’, but it matters not. Any of the islands in the Outer Hebrides is worth a visit. But the Pabaigh I have set foot on is particularly special.
It’s the type of island you could imagine Robinson Crusoe inhabiting. This island has it’s own Robinson Crusoe. The difference is, he is voluntarily shipwrecked and he owns the island, so it’s best to ask permission if you feel like spending time there.
He lives quietly and peacefully with his family and friends, with just a sip of electricity that comes from a very small wind generator. It’s just enough to power his small fridge.
Charles stops by every so often with his boat filled with some essential supplies, and occasionaly some food. When we were lucky enough to be granted a trip to see his island, we were met with good weather, warm smiles and whisky. Why would you ever want to go home!
The island has an interesting history. Many years ago, outlaws sought shelter on its rugged shores to evade justice. Rather than pursue them, the authorities reckoned that leaving them to their fate would be justice enough. It was. Years later, they asked to be removed to the relative comfort of prison.
During the second world war, a German U-boat used it’s western most bay to shelter, leaving supplies for a landing party. No soldiers were ever found, but the supplies were discovered intact.
When we visited its west beach, we discovered something new. While Charles disappeared to dive for some scallops & my mum was away skinny dipping, the rest of us were tumbling about on a machair with Charles’ dog Bamsa. While we ran up and down it’s steep edge, something silently dislodged and tumbled down onto the beach. A human skull stared up at us.
The skull was very old, and likely we had stumbled upon the site of a burial, rather than a murder. It reminded me of just how old this place is. (The rock that forms the outer hebrides is amongst the oldest to be found anywhere on the planet).
We popped the skull in a bag to take back to Robinson Crusoe. And with mystery and mortality on our minds, we charged back up the beach. Escorted by Bamsa, who orbited us in huge happy loops, we went exploring to see what else the island would give us. It was a day for finding treasure.