A COUPLE living on West Cork’s Long Island will be offering wild camping breaks for people looking to escape Groundhog Day.
Tracy and Peter Collins believe the proximity of Long Island – which is just a five-minute ferry ride from Colla Pier in Schull – makes it the perfect getaway destination.
‘We decided to open up our land to encourage others to spend more time in nature,’ said Tracy, who predicted they will be ready to offer wild island camping by June.
‘Spending time outdoors has many physical and mental health benefits,’ she said, ‘especially after having to cope with so many restrictions during lockdown.’
Of course, there is no way of knowing what restrictions will be in place in June, but inter-county travel seems like a realistic prospect.
‘Long Island would be perfect for people looking to castaway and explore a change of pace,’ said Tracy.
Each West Cork island has its own unique features, but Long Island has the distinction of being just 4.8km long and 0.8km wide.
The fact that it has just one road and a rough track that extends to the Copper Point Lighthouse means visitors can’t get lost, either.
Despite Long Island being such a small island, there are many adventures to be had, such as cliff walking the west lands, seal watching, and sea kayaking.
But as part of a tourism business, the couple will be organising events like foraging, bush-craft, nature studies, and wildlife photography.
Guests will be able to pitch their tent overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy uninterrupted views of Fastnet Lighthouse, Cape Clear and the other Carbery Islands in Roaringwater Bay.
Tracy and Peter will provide the sites, well water from a tap, compost toilets, and, perhaps, a luxury of a breakfast basket filled with home-baked goodies.
‘Wild camping is about getting away from the busyness of campsites, caravan parks and getting close to nature, so there’ll be no showers, shops, pubs, or traffic and very few people,’ said Tracy. ‘The emphasis of this experience will be on freedom so you can immerse yourself in the joy of your surroundings.’
The couple speak from experience. They relocated from the UK to Long Island in 2016, and made their own castaway dream a reality. They bought a shell of a fisherman’s cottage and renovated it, while their 11-acres is, unsurprisingly, wild.
‘The unique magic of Long Island touched our souls and brought us alive. Now, we’d like to share that magic with others,’ said Tracy.