Hermit spends over 40 years living without electricity or running water in remote cabin

A man living alone on a remote woodland cabin for more than 40 years is about to have his own documentary. 

Ken Smith, a 74-year-old hermit, has spent over 40 years with no electricity, no gas, and no running water. And it’s all because he chose “never live on anyone’s terms” but his own.

Credits: Uruna Productions

As per Daily Mail, Mr. Smith lives in a log cabin he built himself. His home is located on the banks of Loch Treig, in Lochaber, Scotland.

To survive, the adventurous pensioner relies mainly on his fishing skills. Meanwhile, he also forages for berries and grows his own vegetables.

Ken was only 26 when he chose to drastically change his lifestyle.

It happened after a gang of thugs brutally beat him up after a night out, causing him to suffer a brain hemorrhage. Following 23 days in a coma, Mr. Smith made a miraculous recovery and decided to alienate himself from the world.

Speaking to BBC, he recalled:

“They said I would never recover. They said I would never speak again. They said I would never walk again but I did. That’s when I decided I would never live on anyone’s terms but my own.”

Credits: Uruna Productions

Mr. Smith’s exciting life has been documented by filmmaker Lizzie McKenzie for the new BBC show “The Hermit of Treig.”

The hermit commented:

“It’s a nice life. Everybody wishes they could do it but nobody ever does.”

After the devastating incident that got him into a three-weeks-long coma, Ken began traveling and exploring the idea of living alone in the wilderness. On one of his trips, he visited the Yukon Territory in Canada, where he wandered off “into nowhere” for nearly 22,000 miles.

Credits: Ken Smith / BBC

Sadly, when he returned home, he found out his parents had died while he was away. At first, he “felt nothing.” But when he walked the length of Britain, he finally broke down over his tragic loss upon reaching Rannoch in the Scottish Highlands.

Mr. Smith says in the documentary:

“I cried all the way while walking. I thought where is the most isolated place in Britain?

I went around and followed every bay and every Ben where there wasn’t a house built. Hundreds and hundreds of miles of nothingness. I looked across the loch and saw this woodland.”

The wanderer built a log cabin by himself and has been living there ever since. 

Here’s his advice for anyone who wishes to follow in his footsteps:

“If you want to learn how to live an independent life what you have to do is learn how to fish.”

Credits: Ken Smith / BBC

Of course, there have been many challenges on Ken’s way.

In February 2019, at the age of 72, Mr. Smith suffered a stroke. Thankfully, he managed to send an alert via a GPS locator beacon, which he had luckily been given just days earlier.

After UK coastguards received the signal, they picked him up with a helicopter and took him to a Fort William hospital for treatment. Although doctors tried to convince him he needs to move into a flat where he would have carers on hand, when Ken recovered, he decided to move back to his cabin.

Unfortunately, the stroke had damaged his vision and memory, meaning he now has to accept help from others, whether he likes it or not.

Currently, the head stalker of the estate brings him food parcels every two weeks with money from his pension.

Credits: Uruna Productions

Last year, Ken suffered another accident. A pile of logs fell on him, leaving him in hospital once more. However, he insisted he would not leave his home no matter what happened.

“We weren’t put on earth forever. I’ll stop here until my final days come, definitely.

I have had lots of incidents but I seem to have survived them all. I am bound to go ill again sometime. Something will happen to me that will take me away one day as it does for everybody else. But I’m hoping I’ll get to 102.”

Credits: Uruna Productions

The Hermit of Teig premiered on BBC Scotland on November 9. It will be available on BBC iPlayer.

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