Rubha Phoil is proud to announce the birth of a brand new nature-based permaculture community.

This page is being updated often, so come back again soon.

Have a look at some pictures here:

Rubha Phoil on Isle of Skye

The creation of the cultural framework of the community is crowdsourced. I am inviting my precious and extensive network to help me create a good framework. This page will reflect the growing project. You will regularly see changes being made, please check regularly. At the moment this page is functioning by comments that turn into FAQ’s with answers. You are welcome to ask any questions in the comments. I will answer them and turn them into FAQ’s.

At the moment the only decision maker is me: Ludwig Appeltans, with my advisory team of elders and friends around me. As soon as the community gets long term members, this will change and the power will be shared.

If you want to make sure that you hear about important stages in the plans and developments, you can registering on the email list. (on the home page, sidebar, top)

The application process to allow people to join in can be found here.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in a comment. All questions are welcome.

Rubha Phoil


1 Who owns Rubha Phoil?

At the moment, I, Ludwig Appeltans am the sole owner of Rubha Phoil.
These are the boundaries: (it includes two gorgeous Eilean Moal and Sgorach)

This is the google location,-5.8960562,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xacabe7f49af7ee8b!8m2!3d57.0640459!4d-5.8952413

To avoid any confusion, here is a letter from the solicitor that acted for the previous owner: Sandra, to confirm that I own Rubha Phoil and all the buildings. If you click on it, you’ll be able to read it better.

2: What are your plans?

In short: I want to calculate how many people the land can sustain. I think there is enough potential to create resources on and from the land to sustain 3 small ‘families’ or about 12 people. I intend to sell a plot of land to one family that want to be part of the permaculture community so that they can own their own land and build their own home. I intend to allow other people, with less or no money to join in other ways too.
Together we would manage our commons, and create abundance to share both within Rubha Phoil and with the wider community. My aim is to develop an environment in which we can make a living off the land. There are possibilities in food growing, herb growing, tourism, shops, teaching, workshops, outdoor nursery, shop, cafe, nature exploration, nature connection holidays for families and small groups, courses and workshops, mountain guides, organising tours, …

3: Is Sandra still involved?

Sandra has retired and is no longer involved in the project or the land in any shape or form. Also the lease of the land to the charity Skye Permaculture, of whom she was a director, has ended. It is all in the hands of a younger enthusiastic generation now.

4: Why did you remove the otterhide?

The otterhide was really dangerous. I could push it down the cliff easily. This picture below is the last thing that was holding it up right. I do intend to replace it. But we’re a bit short of cash at the moment. It needs to be designed and approved by health & safety people and build by professionals, so it will cost quite a bit. If you have any ideas please do let us know. If you know someone who can give us a quote to make one, let us know. And we’re sorry for the inconvenience. We miss it too.

5: Why did you remove all the signs? They were giving such useful information about plants.

‘One’ is not allowed to give herbal medicine advice unless ‘one’ is a herbalist. I am not a herbalist. Some of the signs were inaccurate, based on dubious articles from dubious magazines and as such were providing false information. It was not always clear which nearby plant the signs were referring to. As such, they were a liability. Most were very old and falling apart and leaching flaking paint and rotting plastic rope into the soil. My opinion and that of most people I spoke to was that it was distracting from the abundance of natural beauty. I do intend to replace them with nice simple name tags. But that is a big job and we have other priorities at the moment.

6: I don’t know much about permaculture, can I still join?

Yes of course, you can apply to join. We would want you to learn about permaculture though. Don’t worry it is easy and I know an excellent teacher: I can help you connect with her if you like.

7: What does ‘nature-based’ mean?

It means that we try to live in harmony with the natural world, that we enrich the ecosystem with our presence. It means that we learn as much about it as possible so that we can protect and enrich it. It means that we grow our own food and woodfuel on our own land. It means that we try to make a living from the land, whilst working together as a community. It means that we take inspiration from the 8-shields model, which has many many years of expertise put into a nature based cultural frame work that I have seen works really well.

8: Scottishpine commented: “Would be lovely to hear who the guardian of this land was until recently, what her dreams and efforts were, and how the transition happened…?”

Her name is Sandra. I’m not sure what her dreams were, you’ll have to ask her that, or you can google keywords (“skye Permaculture” or “skye forest garden”) I saw on the land that she tried to establish a permaculture site. She decided last year to retire and pass it on to me. I’m now working a permaculture vision that is quite different than what has been tried before.
This is a copy from an old magazine I discovered in the very old archives that were left behind.
It was a beautiful vision indeed.

Will Rubha Phoil be an education project?

Yes, it will. Teaching permaculture is my passion. In my experience inspiring people by showing a beautiful working model of how permaculture works in harmony with nature is the best way to spread it far and wide.
The previous owner was trying to do that too. I’m going to do it differently. Her project was absolutely unique. No-one else on the permaculture planet was doing the same.
I prefer to show a well functioning permaculture example in which the ethics: Earth Care, People care and Fair Share are adhered to. So it will be very different from what people are used to find on this land.
I haven’t started to run courses yet. There is too much work to be done. I want to feel proud of the land and of what we have achieved, before I can comfortably do courses.

Will the woodland walk remain open to the public?

Of course. I wouldn’t dream of closing the walk to keep all this beauty to myself. The only times I would ever close the walk would be if it is dangerous because of the weather, or if it is very muddy. We’re slowly working on improving the paths too. Hopefully it will become less and less muddy.