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.
No and yes.
We’re really sorry to say that the walk is indeed closed down. We are no longer open to the general public. ……… We’re open for verified members only instead. The good news is that it is easy and cheap to become a member for life. If money is an issue, we’re happy to give a discount token so you can become a member for life for only £1! We’ll even give you a £1 coin back when we first meet!
There are a few reasons why we felt we had no choice but to close down:
– We are right next to the Armadale ferry port. Tens of thousands of people pass through that harbour every year. Too many people would come for a stretch of the legs on our Rock. The foot print was too large. With that came path erosion, muddy paths, rubbish, loss of privacy, vandalism, wild life disturbance 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 are in our gardens.
– 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 have all sorts of health and safety regulations to adhere to. We simply don’t have the resources to do so.
– The previous owner of the Rock and her family have waged a malicious campaign targeting us. There have been 3 criminal convictions in her family already for malicious actions against us and our property. Threats to life, well being and property have been made. We no longer feel safe when the Rock is open to just any one stranger at any time. You can see the evidence and read more about that on our history page and we’re happy to show it to anyone on honest request.
– Part of the local community doesn’t like the new owner. Horrible false rumours have been spread and lots of bad vibes are being send out.
This video shows one such instance: Ludwig narrates: “I just happened to be putting up CCTV on my property, to catch vandals (that’s for a different video). Right at that moment, an unknown woman walks past me, visiting the tenants who were occupying the house. It is just after 5PM. I say Hi. She looks at me but ignores me. Later that night I get questions from the police about a report they received of a man jumping out of the bushes to scare women. I feel blessed I had it on video from two angles and that I could prove my innocence. Needless to say, this particular instance, a false report to the police, made me really cautious. This is serious and indicates how far these people were willing to go in their hostile land grab attempt. I felt I had no choice to take action to protect myself and others. This is one of the main reasons why I have so many video and audio and phone call recordings. To protect myself and my property, not only against violence, but also against false accusations.
Any weaknesses there were needed to be taken care off. Sadly that also meant that all “man-made structures” that were not made according to standards of health and safety needed to be removed. The otterhide, the treehouse, the rope swings and such, all were removed with haste. I felt I had no choice. If someone claimed they got injured here or somebody did, I was at risk of loosing everything and going to prison. I am not kidding, video pending, when I pushed the otterhide, it rolled down the cliff. The insurance we did have, would have had a laugh if someone got injured or worse. Consequently, CCTV was put up in strategic places, less used access points to the Rock were closed off. We bought a body cam and kept that with us at all times, taken turn in keeping the Rock safe. We created a safety policy and bought walkie talkies for the team. We prepared ourselves for any eventuality. This may be again a good opportunity to remind you of who Ludwig is. “One of the many unusual things I have done is live in a tent in a forest on my own next to arguably the most sensitive military base in Western Europe: Where the UK nukes are stored in Coulport, Argyll. With my history of activism combined with the excellent reputation that the MOD has in keeping their bases secure, (that was sarcasm by the way) I can assure you that some people were not so happy with me being there. I have some experience in things that came in pretty handy in this situation here on Rubha Phoil now. Such as dealing with drunk sailors returning from a stint of blowing up people in Afghanistan, to moving about in the dark without a torch. From the skill of tracking and bird language to the art of staying calm when under aggression. From learning to detect bugs (found 2) to learning how to record hidden video and audio and maybe most importantly how to keep a straight face when needed and keeps secrets a secret. I hope that gives trust to people who have some missing pieces of the puzzle.”
I’m really happy I did make the choice to protect myself. The story I recorded bit by bit is slowly being published bit by bit. (please note the story is copyrighted to be published. You do not have permission to republish this any where.)”
We see absolutely no reason why we should have to welcome that behaviour or risk or these people into our gardens, being amongst us, walking our forest walk. Can anyone give us a reason why we should? We invited people for peace making conversations and they didn’t respond or were interpreted as weakness and resulted in more hostility. We are willing to make peace with everyone, but until that happens, our homes and gardens are only open for kind people.
The above reasons made us feel unsafe in our own gardens on our own land. We didn’t feel we could welcome children or sensitive people in our community in this situation. This clearly needed to change.
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.
The only solution we could find that ticks all the boxes is closing it down completely for strangers and opening up our rock for members only.
The good news is that it is easy to be a member. You can get a life time membership for as little as £1!
We are now open for verified members only and we would love to invite you to register.
The wildlife on the Rock is thriving trough less human interruption. Yet, the Rock is also missing nice local people and the laughter of kids playing in our fish net.
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 valid signature under the commitment you’ll make to access our Rock and treat everyone with kindness and respect. That allows us all to feel safe.
Please know also that as a member you would be welcome to take initiatives or make proposals for what you would like to see on Rubha Phoil. Do you miss the many rope swings we sadly had to take down? Please help up make new safe ones and we’re all happy again. We miss the otter hide too!
Finally, can I ask, would you open your garden, right next to a busy ferry port for strangers who refuse to identify themselves and refuse to commit to being nice to you and respect your garden? Would you feel safe to leave your kids to play on their own in that garden that is open to the public who can’t even keep their dogs on the lead when requested? Or would you feel safer knowing that everyone you meet here has gone through a selection process, is verified by the owners and has committed to a sensible and safe code of conduct? Can you see that sometimes restrictions help create a safe bubble within?
Note: I still have hidden CCTV installed on or land. Some to keep an eye on our resident gorgeous otter family because they are incredibly cute and also to protect our ducks. Also to protect us from false allegation like above.
If strangers walk through our forest and we can follow the trail of vandalism they leave behind, we like knowing their faces. Just to remember them, imprinted into my memory, like you know, like forever and ever.
So that when we recognise them in real life, we can invite them for a chat to make peace. This is how we make peace on our Rock.
If you are a member, we will happily tell you where the CCTV are so that you can enjoy a restful and peaceful visit.
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 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. You can read more here.
The label of Cult is thrown about so easily. Here is one example from our favourite online stalker: Sheena A MacLoud.
We’re making a bit of a light hearted joke here. It is still an 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, 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 it can never become one here.
Not a very good one, we’re sorry to have to say. Ludwig and Rubha Phoil are ostracised in the local community. There is a huge peer pressure from some powerful players against being involved with Ludwig or Rubha Phoil as a whole.
(This being said, we do have some really positive, nice and kind connections with individuals and some small businesses. But it is kinda ‘on the quiet’ if you know what I mean. If you are reading this, we’re really thankful to you. We’ll be there for you too when you need us. Please don’t hesitate to call upon us. )
A summery of the situation: When Ludwig took over ownership of the Rock 2016, he found a massive mess. On all possible levels you can imagine. This is why the purchase price was so affordable, no-one else would have touched it. You can read more about that on our history page. There are also some links below you can follow. Worst of all the problems was that lots of bad agreements had been made by the previous owner and promises were broken, lots people had been taken advantage off, bullied, dreams shattered and hurt quite badly. ‘Karma’ was catching up with the previous owner: Her ex partner was hounding her with massive money claims she couldn’t honour. Her ex-partner had gathered a following that was pushing her out of her own property. The man falsified official document to support his claim that he was the owner of Rubha Phoil. People believed his promises of a rent free house and free land if they helped him and succeeded in the hostile take over. They were winning by exploiting all sorts of weaknesses. Nothing was in order with official regulations and the previous owner was at risk of loosing everything and even going to jail.
The only way out for the previous owner was to sell and hand over to the only person with the right skills and who was also ‘crazy’ enough to take it on: Ludwig.
The bullying was transferred from her to me and malicious rumours were spread. Which resulted in the total exclusion in the local community. I -we- understand this and are not too upset about this. If the rumours would be true, we ourselves would be quite upset too. The local justice system was abolished by the colonisers and replaced by a system that does not serve the people. So there has been no opportunity to defend ourselves in any way. (yet) I’m sure we all know how rumours are used by certain types of people. This happens everywhere.
The summery of the situation until now looks something like this: Take the existing bad reputation that Rubha Phoil had before 2016, add a sprinkle of infantile xenophobia for EU citizens and ‘incomers’, add some fear of the regenerative idea’s and decolonising principles and autistic authenticity that Ludwig stands for and is known for, add a little fear for his history of non-violent direct action with the propaganda associated with that and top it up with some jealousy for owning such a beautiful property: the whole resulting dish proves to be too challenging for most to digest. Social peer pressure to conform to the norm is very high on an island culture like the Isle of Skye. Fear of being ostracised too is strong. Our story is not unique on Skye.
How does this affect your community you might ask?
In big and small ways. From being prevented to speak at an open mike moment at a Skye Climate Action event, to being blocked on social media for no reason by the main employee of another Community Trust elsewhere on the Island. Email with request for a chat to explain remain unanswered. From being asked to leave the local climate change group to finding it hard to find local tradespeople. From feeling unsafe on my own land to being completely invisible at a local Ceilidh. (I wondered if I accidentally invented an invisibility cloak.) Turning heads in the shop, conversations that switch to Gaelic, slimy comments behind my back, a competition it seems to find the worst lies to spread about me.
It creates an atmosphere were people that I do get on with, are scared to visit or speak out for me or be known to be associated with me.
It creates an atmosphere where the worst people in our community feel safe to bully and dig deep to cause real actual harm in complete disregard for my well being. I am not exaggerating. This is truly a dangerous situation for me. One of the players has a knack to attract mentally unwell people, wind them up and send them my way. Some of these people behave really unpredictably and already have criminal records! One had one for GBH, another one has one for domestic violence.
Here is how an anonymous friend in a similar situation summarised it to me. The following words are a transcript of a recorded interview. Edited only from verbal language to written language for clarity reasons:
Trigger warning! Contains words describing bullying and exclusion. Topic contains suicide and mental health issues.
I’m going through a similar situation.
If we’d moved to say, Manchester or Liverpool or, or Edinburgh you wouldn’t be ever ever seen as being an incomer, you would just be accepted as being a new person that had moved in and that would be the end of it. If you move to an island, even though you’re surrounded by people that are not from Skye themselves, they see you as an incomer. If you don’t fall into their narrative, if you don’t fall into the community way, if you’re slightly different, they do what they’ve done to you and what they’ve done to me. They have and will do to other people as well, past present and future.
Unless you fall into the community way of life. If you don’t fit into that or have a different sort of way of life then they just ostracise you.
“What was said to me by a anonymous professional person:”
“The local community have got their eyes on you and they’re waiting, they’re just waiting on your business to fail because the workload is too much for one person on their own and it’s obviously going to fail and they’re just waiting on that to happen. “
“It’s just that way that once they know that one section of the community have got their knife in to someone, they just all like jump aboard that hate train and it gains momentum.”
“It rides along until they basically force you out.”
“Oh yeah, you know we pushed him off the island. (Anonymous person is quoting someone) When we don’t like someone, when they don’t fit into the community, that’s what we do we basically, you know people will gang up on them and make their life hard so they can’t get any trades people to work for them, they’re struggling to get any jobs done, it means that life becomes un-liveable on the island to the point that they eventually have to leave.”
I’m deeply sad to have to announce that it looks like it seems so that her local community got more than they wanted. She did leave.
She took her own life quite recently. So I have made her quotes anonymous, for now. So they do not show up on search engines. I’m waiting for the shock and hurt of the family and loved ones to settle a bit before I release further statements made by my dear friend, recorded by me, with her permission to publish.
Bullying really does kill. I know how hard it is and has been for me. How it forced me to choose between my partner and Rubha Phoil. How many friends decided against coming to live on Rubha Phoil. How much delay it has caused with everything. How much money it has cost me. How this situation has given opportunities for malicious forces to thrive and get away with things. How many friends took distance as non-one wants to be associated with this. How many sleepless nights. How many tears. How much my own mental health has suffered.
Just to be clear, I am OK. I am not at risk of harming myself or others
If someone with an MBE who is probable one of the most respected local Scottish people in the community, who is really active and well connected and helpful and has power in the community by sitting on lots of committees, a comment like this, in the right location, on the right moment on a local facebook page, in the midst of a campaign of facebook hate… can be a life sentence. Literally.
Our stories need to be and will be told. I promised you that I would. This is for you, dear friend. We are missing you!
If you are in a similar position on any of our gorgeous islands, please reach out to us. We can offer some support. Or click here for professional help.
Our stories will sound louder together. We’re experienced in keeping confidentiality so please don’t worry about that.
The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of it’s members.
Very few people tell us straight what the issue is. Some do. We highly respect straight feedback, so we would never punish them by naming them.
One of these responded to me when I asked him for help: “I’ll only help you if it is life threatening.” It took a while for my penny to drop. So a few months later I asked him if he was referring to the Highland code. He confirmed.
The Highland Code is an old (pretty awesome) tradition that your worst enemy could knock on your door in a storm and you would have to give them shelter and hospitality till the storm is over. Weapons were left at the door, no hostility was allowed. Breaking that code would be seen as the most serious betrayal to all the Highlanders. The code stands above clan war. (You can read more about that in the context of the Glen Coe Massacre, where the Campbells were ordered by the King to break that ancient tradition and murder the MacDonalds in their beds at night after having gained hospitality in this way. Likely to proof he was more powerful than the local culture. )
In our case, with the Highland Code being invoked on us, it is clear that the local community sees us like an enemy clan and will only help us if our lives are in danger. Regardless of the fact that we have been ostracised on the basis of malicious rumours, it is still reassuring to know that the locals still have that ancient honour in their hearts that they would help us if we are in serious trouble. And they do.
At one time, we had a really big event coming up and trouble with a shower and needed a tradesman to fix it for us. We couldn’t find anyone. Very shortly before the event one did turn up unexpectedly, arranged by an unknown person and fixed it kindly. We tried a few times to pay them, they refused to accept. But also didn’t respond to request to work more for us.
Shows the sense of honour Scottish people have. I mean, yes they are gullible at times when they hear a sob story and they act upon such rumours as if they are true. But they would give you shelter and hospitality in a bad storm. They don’t like me, but I still choose to be with these people. Honour like this is rare to find.
If you are a local person who is appalled by this story, please know that you are very welcome.
If anyone wants to have a constructive peace making conversation with us, please know that we would welcome that very much. This is how it can work for us.
7: 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 (in the right circles) permaculture designers in Scotland. In capitalist terms, he made it from 50 euro to the 0.01% without a job, mortgage of inheritance. Purely by the support of his friends, family and former students. People that got inspired by him and decided to support him. For the right reasons.
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. The example above shows that. Once they know the truth, they will support us.
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 negativity and danger from the Rock itself.
Status: 100% Completed.
Over the last 6 years, dozens and dozens of 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 have been terminated.
Thank you everyone! It has been hard and painful 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: Debunk the rumours
Status: 80% completed
It was clear from the beginning that different versions of the same story were circulating. Ludwig as a neurodivergent man was perfectly placed to figure out the truth. His logical, scientifically wired brain, his pitbul-like determination and awareness and his skills to read body language were very helpful. He is aware enough to know that his truth is only a hypothesis until proven. He was lucky to have lots of experience as a peace and environmental activist in gathering intelligence and evidence and has an extensive network of skilled supporters (thank you everyone!). He recorded much evidence (totally legally) and did some excellent journalistic detective work in gathering evidence of lies, fraud and other criminal offences. He has meticulously gathered witness statements and created a presentation to show the real story to his supporters and his team. This is available to you at the later stages of any application process to have any kind of mutually beneficial relationship with Rubha Phoil. And to act as a doomsday vault of course. Some of the wrongdoing uncovered is quite explosive to say the least. We have received threats. Not very serious ones, but we take no chances. By providing a nice suspect list with evidence is enough of a deterrence.
If you want to work with us, please know that the presentation in the form of a time line, is ready to be seen by you. In the connections we seek to make, trust is of the most important essence. We want you to see this evidence as we want to make 100% sure that you know what has been going on and to leave no chance for any doubt that Ludwig is completely innocent of any accusations that have been made. Please just ask.
We are now working on editing the timeline to make it presentable to google and the public. You can see the start of that below.
It’s actually really interesting to analyse what has been going on. It says so much more about the players involved than about us.
Like Greta Thunberg said: Your trolls validate your message.
You can see an honour list of Ludwig’s opponents here.
One of the main characters with an MBE on that list, this one, has kindly publicly challenged Ludwig to apologise. Of course Ludwig is really happy to do so. He has asked the man to explain why he needs to apologise, yet has received no answers. So Ludwig is exploring all the possible reasons why people might think that he needs to apologise. He will then crowd source public opinion to see if he does indeed need to apologise and of course will do so if needed!
You can follow that quest here.
Feel free to add your reasons to the list too! Ludwig Writes: “If I need to apologise, I would appreciate a chance to do so! I love learning from mistakes! If people don’t tell me what I did wrong, how can I avoid making them again? Give me a chance to learn and grow!”
Like martin Luther King observes, It would be naive to think that the truth will set Ludwig or Rubha Phoil free in the local community. It will seem like an annoying autistic person disturbing the peace. Our prediction is that the reasons for boycotting will change. From the rumours that are being debunked towards punishing Ludwig for the humiliation followed inevitably by anger, they will feel when the story you are reading here now, will reach their eyes. People will see that Ludwig is disturbing the negative peace. Many people will see me as the cause of the damage to the reputation of the local community rather than the people who actually did the wrongs. That is how it always works out. They’ll never forgive Ludwig for that. From my autistic point of view that seems how allistic people function. They base their reality on feelings, not on evidence. From their perspective, I am the one who is hurting feelings by revealing the evidence.
But that is OK. We are grateful for that. The result of that process is that they are doing a selection for us. They are selecting out drama, away from Rubha Phoil. Rubha Phoil is already made up 100% with kind people who are not afraid to make up their own minds based on evidence instead of public opinion or peer pressure.
Who do you prefer to share your life with? People who follow rumour-drama-queens or independent thinkers who know how to listen and use their finest words? We know what we want. We say thank you for doing this important selection for us.
Ultimately, most people on Skye are decent people. Once they learn that this campaign of ostracisation was started by a man who believed he was a direct descendent of Jesus, that the bible actually happened in Scotland,…. the boycott will loose a lot of momentum. The people who are now talking loudly will hide in shame. Who would want to be associated with that story? Quite a story it is!
Stage 4: Over to you!
The next step for Rubha Phoil is to build mutually beneficial connections with people from further afield: You. Thereby bridging the Cordon Sanitaire of the local community. 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 thinking about joining Rubha Phoil, the situation described above does not need worry you. The hostility is targeted at Ludwig alone. Rubha Phoil is safe for you and you will be very welcome in the local community.
Cognitive dissonance, it seems from everyone’s experience who visits here, entices everyone to be extra nice to you. (They’ll know I am telling you this story and that it is true and they feel bad about that and they are keen to prove me wrong by showing you how nice they really are so that the discomfort they feel disappears and can remain anger towards me.)
Many people who passed through Rubha Phoil have found new real friends in the local community. 3 people and a family even ended up finding jobs and are renting a home and are well integrated and loved in the local community.
If you are interesting in joining us, click here.
Stage 5: Exit stage Ludwig
As you can see in step 3, Ludwig will function as a lightning rod. All negativity will be directed at him. He is going to retreat back to the forest, where he feels most comfortable. His job is done. It is time for allistic people to carry the torch now.
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. (can you see why so many people feel threatened by the design Ludwig has made?) Once new people have been accepted as members and take over leadership roles, Ludwig can disappear out of the limelight into the forest again: his natural habitat. We believe that at that stage the objections of the local community will disappear and 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 and a board of elders is formed and trained by experts to carry the ethics and future of Rubha Phoil into their hearts.