Couple from Leeds avoided covid by relocating on a remote island throughout 2020

  • ITV Calendar's Sarah Clark reporting.


A couple from Leeds have taken self isolation to the extreme and avoided the pandemic by relocating to a remote Island off the coast of Ireland.

Luke and Sarah Flanagan moved to Owey Island just two days before the UK went into the first lockdown last year.

The pair are the only residents on the island and have no electrics, gas, running water but they do have decent 4G thanks to a busy shipping lane nearly by to the island.

Luke said: "I think we are in the best place here, we are lucky. When we speak to our families and friends back home, especially people who live in cities and flats, it must be difficult.

"We are so lucky. We are literally the only people on the island now and have been for a couple of months. We might be staying at this rate."

It was by chance the joinery and social worker ended up Island sitting, after seeing an advertisement online. 

The couple, who are now skilled in self sufficiency,  are the first people to stay on the island over the winter months since 1974.

Sarah said: "We saw an advert for someone to come and spend 12 months here so we just thought why not.

"It sounds like an amazing adventure."

Luke continued: "It has a lot of summer residents who go back to their mainland houses through the winter because the weather gets back and you can't get off the island.

"It could be 4 months, obviously it's not for everybody but I think he wanted to promote people moving back to the island so by getting a couple of glampits like us to give it a trial run."

"I am like the worst fisherman of all time, well you are better now. We didn't have a clue when we arrived. There is a local lad here and he taught me how to catch what is around basically.

"We have grown quite a bit of veg in the garden as well. You have, Yeah I have yeah and chickens so we are sick of different egg recipes. Honestly I could write a book on how to use 5 eggs a day."

The pair collect rainwater to drink, use gas bottles to cook, solar panels to charge their phones and have coal fires to keep warm. 

"We basically spent all summer just loading the dingy up with tonnes of coal to see us through the winter. If we get really desperate we'll have to start doing lunges in the living room."

With plans to head home in March, covid permitting, Sarah and Luke say isolating on Owey will be memories they will treasure forever.