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Friday, 31 December, 1999, 18:19 GMT
Castaways prepare for bleak New Year

Lone castaway The castaways will be on the island for a year

A group of more than 30 volunteers are spending the new year as castaways on a remote and inhospitable Scottish island.

And their struggle to survive is being filmed for a documentary called Castaway 2000 for BBC Scotland.

The group of 36 men, women and children are on Taransay, near Harris, off the west coast of Scotland.

The five-mile long island has no trees from September to May and is buffeted by 100 mph winds and storm force seas.

Tarannsay The windswept island is only five miles long
With limited resources the group of modern-day Robinson Crusoes must build homes and attempt to cultivate the land to grow food.

The group, chosen to reflect a microcosm of British society, must also decide on the rules under which their community will operate.

To ensure participants are able to say what they really feel there will be a confessional camera where they can let off steam in private.

One of the volunteers said: "Hopefully there will be no murders."

"But if you get 30-odd people together I suppose you are bound to get a few little arguments.

'Incredible experience'

"I don't think it has really sunk in yet that I won't be coming off the island for a year.

"I was at work one day when I saw an advert in a newspaper and just applied for this thing thinking it would be an amazing experience."

BBC Scotland's head of production Colin Cameron said: "This series will be an incredible experience for everyone because no-one involved, either in the production team, or the castaways themselves will be able to predict what's going to happen.

"I believe it will prove to be one of the most adventurous shows ever made, capturing everyone's imagination at a very special time."

Taransay, which was last occupied earlier this century, has in recent years been used as rough grazing for sheep and deer.

Western Isles Council only agreed to the experiment on the condition that none of the castaways would like the place so much that they would decide to stay there permanently.

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