The tiny diamond-shaped island of Pabay lies in Skye’s Inner Sound, just two and a half miles from the bustling village of Broadford. One of five Hebridean islands of that name, it derives from the Norse papa-ey, meaning ‘island of the priests’. Many visitors since the first holy men built their chapel there have felt that Pabay is a deeply spiritual place, and one of wonder. These include the great 19th-century geologists Hugh Miller and Archibald Geikie, for whom the island’s rocks and fossil-laden shales revealed much about the nature of Creation itself.
Len and Margaret Whatley moved to Pabay from the Midlands and lived there from 1950 until 1970. Leaving a landlocked life in Birmingham for the emptiness of an uninhabited island was a brave and challenging move for which nothing could have prepared them. Christopher Whatley, their nephew, was a regular visitor to Pabay whilst they lived there. In this book, based on archival research, oral interviews, memory and personal experience, he explores the history of this tiny island jewel, and the people for whom it has been home, to create a vivid picture of the trials, tribulations and joys of island life.