Couple Reveals What It’s Really Like Living On a Remote Island

When it comes to remote living, Felicity and Gizli Ashton have embraced it wholeheartedly. The couple went about purchasing a tiny island called Vigur off the west coast of Iceland 4 years ago, and now they and their son are the sole residents. The 111-acre island came with a 10-bedroom house, a number of outbuildings, and full farming rights. Some of the more unusual features include Iceland’s only windmill — which is a protected monument dating back to the 1860s — Iceland’s oldest boat (built in 1800), and the smallest post office in Europe. The family’s main source of income is duck down, which they harvest and sell. There are around 7,000 breeding eider ducks on the island, and down harvesting typically runs through June. Because the down is harvested by hand, it’s a very labor intensive job. In addition to the down, the Ashtons also play host to tourists who stop on Icelandic day trips. To pick up supplies, the couple makes the 20-minute drive to Isafjordur, where there’s a supermarket, a bakery, a pub, a restaurant, a hardware shop, and a garage. There’s also a hospital there, but for anything serious patients are transported by helicopter to Reykjavik, 35 minutes away. The couple says the hardest thing about living on the island are the winters, as the family is often trapped on the island for days at a time. However, the couple says they're happier on Vigur than any place they’ve ever lived. As Felicity put it: “It has this incredible peacefulness to it, and yet it’s a riot of noise and life. Nature is so chaotic and brutal, and yet being around it is somehow soothing.”