Frequently Asked Questions
1: Can we visit Rubha Phoil?
Yes that may perhaps be possible. At the moment we are only available by appointment. Please know that we are a community and a learning centre and that we are not a tourist attraction. This means that we want to get to know you before we open our home to you.
You can read how you can come and visit here.
Before we go into explaining this issue, we want to make absolutely clear that we are not preventing people to exercise the right to roam on our land. And that this is a not a public path. We are talking about access to our gardens amongst our buildings in the middle of our community. We have NO legal obligation to open our gardens to strangers. Many years ago, before the big tourists boom, this walk was created by the previous landowner as a way to promote permaculture.
We have now reversing that decision.
So can we walk around?
No and yes.
– The bad news we’re really sorry to say is that the walk is indeed closed for to the general public.
– The good news is that if you are a kind and nice person and willing to make a commitment, you can!
We are open for verified members only. And! It is easy and cheap to become a member for life. (more info below)
There are a few reasons why we had no choice but to close down:
1: We are right next to the Armadale ferry port. Up to 3500 people and 2600 cars pass through that harbour every day!
And that number is growing every year. Too many people used to come for a stretch of the legs on our Rock and give their dog a run about. It was advertised in tourist magazines from all over the planet: “If you take the Armadale ferry, go a little early and enjoy the walk and give your dogs a wee run.”
The foot print was too large. With that came path erosion, muddy paths, rubbish, loss of privacy, vandalism, wild life disturbance, curious people looking through our windows, taking pictures and too much human waste and dog waste in our forest and gardens. Many people sleep in their cars on the car park and there are no facilities for them after closing time. The nearest shrubs to hide behind when in dire need are in our gardens. We had many people sneaking in at night to use our facilities. It seems that the word had gone around in certain circles, we were even featured on an app and website.
2: Regulations require us -if we want a public path through our gardens- to invest into creating a paved pedestrian pathway along side our car track and we have all sorts of health and safety regulations to adhere to and have extra insurance. We simply don’t have the resources to do so.
3: We welcome people who are different. Neurodivers, minorities, refugees, LGBTQIA+ people. Difference is celebrated. Many of us have been subjected to prejudice such as racism, sexism, homo or transphobia or ableism on a routine basis. This behaviour sadly is still common in today’s world. We strongly wish to exclude this behaviour from our own homes so that we can feel safe. We feel it is OK to claim the right to feel safe in our own community. We want our home to be a trauma aware community.
4: We tried other solutions, such as opening for local people only, but it was made clear to us that it not legally allowed for us to discriminate in that way.
If you are a kind person and want to visit us with good intentions,
We would love to welcome you!
We are now open for verified members only and we would love to invite you to register. It is easy and cheap to become a member for life.
(register for the woodland walk membership)
Rubha Phoil is only open for people that we know and whose identities are verified: people that have registered on our Virtual Village and are members. If you want to, we would love to get to know you too and make it possible for you to be welcome to come and go as you please. You can do so by registering as a member here or contacting us for an in person conversation. Life long membership (T&C’s apply) can be for as little as £1. (ask us for a discount code) We’d happily even give you a coin back when we first meet. The card payment is used as a way to verify your identity and to have a legally valid signature under the commitment you’ll make to access our Rock respectfully and treat everyone with kindness and respect. This process allows us all to feel safe while still sharing the beauty with responsible people.
We hope that you can you see that our membership helps to create a safe bubble on Rubha Phoil that you are welcome to be part off? All that is needed is for you to let us know who you are and make an agreement that we will all be nice to each other.
3: Are dogs allowed on Rubha Phoil?
Sorry no dogs allowed. Registered guide dogs are welcome.
We’re really sorry to have to say that the wildlife on Rubha Phoil and dogs (and also cats) do not go well together. There are so many reasons for that. We’re really sorry. If it was possible, we would be the first people to get a dog ourselves. The otters were here first. You can read all our reasons and more here.
4: Can we join Rubha Phoil?
That may be possible. We are looking for new interesting people. With or without money to invest. You can read more here.
It is easy to call a permaculture community a hippy Cult. It makes us giggle when we hear it. Yet it is still a valid and important question. Some people are scared to ask us for fear of offending us. We like straight communication so here we shall answer that question publicly so that you don’t need to ask and can make up your own mind.
Our answer: No. Rubha Phoil is not a cult. Instead, Rubha Phoil is a community of people who are all seeking to connect with their authentic self through connection with nature. We are all supported through this journey by teachers, elders and fellow students who are all engaged in the process and have made progress through the work. We have a supportive culture with a growth mindset and everyone is learning at different paces for individual reasons. As we grow as a community we are encouraged to share and come and go as we wish. In the agreement that we all make when we join Rubha Phoil, we commit to maintaining healthy and supportive anchoring connections with our family and the people outside that are important to us. Power structures are dismantled as fast as we can and transformed into circular teams (acorns) in which we work together from our strengths in mutually beneficial connections. Creativity is encouraged. Self empowerment celebrated. Conditioning that does not serve our well being is actively being dismantled.
There is so much more we can say about this really important question. So we dedicated a whole page for that. You can investigate deeper with us to see if we are a cult and how we put measures in place so it can never become one here.
6: Does Rubha Phoil have a viable future?
The future for Rubha Phoil is a very positive one! We have a plan!
-First of all, let us remind you of the design skill of Ludwig. He came to Scotland 22 years ago with 50 Euro tucked away in his socks. He started off by juggling on the streets in Glasgow. He now is one of the most respected permaculture designers in Scotland. In capitalist terms, he made it from 50 euro to the 0.01% without a job, mortgage or inheritance. Purely by the support of his friends, family and former students. People that got inspired by him and hos vision and decided to support him. For the right reasons. You can read how much people supported him in the testimonials and on the crowdfund page.
-Diversity is an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Diversity helps to adapt to changes. It is an essential part of evolution and adapting to change. People in power have realised that neurodivergent people have something really valuable to offer and have started head hunting them. This realisation has also arrived with the change makers in environmental circles. (Thank you Greta Thunberg)
This is reflected by the emails and phone calls we are receiving from organisations who want to be part of Rubha Phoil.
-The Highlanders are a kind and just and welcoming, proud people.
-As the world around us is crumbling faster and faster, what Rubha Phoil, Ludwig and the people who are turning up have to offer becomes more and more desirable. It is clear that in future our lack of popularity will chance into a problem of too much popularity.
This is the plan:
Stage 1: Remove crumbling infrastructure and danger from the Rock itself.
Status: 100% Completed.
Over the last 7 years, dozens and dozens of good people have turned up and have worked hard to help tidy up on all levels and create an actual permaculture paradise. The landfill sites have been dug up and removed. Old buildings and dangerous issues have been removed. Negative abusive relationships made by the previous owner have been terminated.
Thank you everyone! It has been hard and rewarding work. The Rock itself is now ready to start a new chapter and to welcome new people.
Stage 2: Create legal infrastructure to carry the future
Status 95% Completed
Planning permissions, Insurances, Community Interest Company, Health and Safety certificates, Environmental health inspections, Policies like anti bullying, privacy, health and safety, etc are for 95% in place. We’re working hard on the last few bits.
This allows us to open up for you to come and join us. We will be able to sign solid agreements for everyone to be safe and feel secure to build up your own lives on the Rock and feel safe to put roots down.
Stage 3: Over to you!
The next step for Rubha Phoil is to build mutually beneficial connections with people from further afield: You. So that new people can learn how things work on the Rock, integrate into our culture and make a life for themselves. Rubha Phoil is so beautiful and provides so many opportunities that this will not be too difficult.
If you are interesting in joining us, click here.
Stage 4: Over to the community
It has always been the intention of Ludwig to create an actual community on Rubha Phoil. That can only happen if real power sharing is possible. Other wise it would just be another Landlord-system. We firmly believe that this hierarchical power system is not part of the future. Once new people have been accepted as members and take over leadership roles, Ludwig can disappear out of the spot light into the forest again: his natural habitat. We believe that at that stage the full potential of Rubha Phoil can be realised. And that will be incredible!
That process of passing on power has already started. A CIC is being readied to facilitate powersharing and financial abundance. A trust to take on ownership and create a treasury is next!