Rathlin Island man Rauri on Channel 5 TV show, Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild

Intrepid adventurer Ben Fogle ventures to Rathlin Island for tomorrow night’s episode of the popular series, New Lives in the Wild, to visit resident Rauri Morgan.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 8:22 am
Rauri Morgan with presenter Ben Fogle ouside his cottage on Rathlin Island

Rauri, 41, a former human resources executive turned his back on corporate life eight years ago to move into a 500-year-old cottage on Rathlin, which his granny had live in. The cottage, which had lain derelict for 15 years, had a flushing toilet, an outside tap, but no electricity.

But over the years Rauri, who is originally from Ballycastle, has meticulously renovated the property into a cosy home which he shares with his dog, Fionn.

During his stay with Rauri, Ben Fogle embraces ‘modern day’ foraging, ancient myths and legends, ‘eccentric’ property maintenance (the pair paint Rauri’s cottage bright pink) and is bemused to learn his host hates the cold, the sea and fish.

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Rauri explained how he got involved with the show.

“They found me. I am part of the Workaway scheme. where people come and stay for a week or two and help out around the house, and that’s how they found me. “I kind of ignored them for awhile and then they spoke to a friend of mine and she put them in contact with me.”

The episode was filmed last October when Covid restrictions were still in place.

“When the crew was here, due to social distancing, they had to have their own cars, their own bedrooms, their own bathrooms. It was like a UN convoy any time we were going to do filming.

“There’s only 150 people live here and so to have another six cars driving about the island, it was very noticeable,” said Rauri.

Ben Fogle stayed with Rauri for six days.

“He’s dead on, very English. He was happy to muck in and get on with things. He’s an interesting guy. Everybody loves him.”

The presenter slept in the living room, which, Rauri suspects is haunted.

“There’s definitely been voices heard and doors opening and closing on their own.”

Happily, Fogle had no encounters of the ghostly kind.

Rauri works in Rathlin’s bar and volunteers for the island’s fire service. He has also travelled to the Greek island of Lesbos a number of times to help with the refugee effort there. His worked prompted another eight Rathlin Islanders to go out and they have raised thousands of pounds to help the migrants. Rauri, who is now well and truly part of the community on Rathlin, said: “It’s like a big family. There’s obviously ones you like more than others, but we would be very defensive of one another as well, even though we don’t agree with each other all the time.”

*Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild is on Channel 5, Tuesday at 9pm.