MORE than 620 people have applied for the job of managing a tourist attraction on a tiny island in the middle of the Forth.
Historic Scotland have been flooded with applications from as far afield as South Africa and America for the post – which involves living on Inchcolm Island for eight months.
The 22-acre island, just a few miles from Edinburgh as the crow flies, needs a supervisor to oversee the medieval abbey and gift shop visited annually by more than 20,000 tourists.
The successful applicant gets to share a two-bedroom cottage rent-free and will be paid up to £20,373 for the isolated stint between March and October.
But they will have to bring across by boat their own food, drinking water and be prepared to live with only a “limited internet connection”.
Applications closed at the end of last week and Historic Scotland was astonished to find themselves with 623 applications to sift ahead of interviews early next month.
Culture bosses think the isolated vacancy has proved so popular because it gives people a way to escape the “rat race” of modern life.
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “Applications have been flooding in. There has been a remarkable response.
“Perhaps it’s something to do with the current economic climate – people wanting to escape the rat race.
“We’ve had people from America, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy and South Africa all enquiring if they might be eligible.”
The manager will live on the island full-time with a co-worker where they will be expected to live in “close proximity” with each other.
Two other members of staff will also be involved but they will visit and leave Inchcolm on the boats with tourists every day.
The job itself involves a wide range of responsibilities, not least acting as fire officer and ensuring the safety of boats arriving at and departing the island.
The manager will also have to “ensure the site continues to achieve a minimum of a 4-star VisitScotland grading under the Visitor Attraction Grading Scheme”.
Another task is to “achieve the standards set for mystery visits including the corporate average mystery visit score of 81%”.
The cottage is situated next to Inchcolm Abbey which lies in the shadow of the Forth Bridge.
It is equipped with shower, washing machine and cooking facilities and there is water and electricity but drinking water has to be brought over from the mainland as there are no shops.
Historic Scotland also said that they are not restricted to the island for the full duration of their contract and will be allowed to leave the island at certain times to visit family – although it is unclear if guests will be allowed to stay on the island.
The spokeswoman added: “The manager also needs to bring food across and plan meals. There is also limited internet connection.
“A TV is provided although the passing boats can occasionally affect reception.
“The main thing about living on the island is that it offers an adventure and the chance to experience new things.
“You have the whole island to yourself in the evenings, enjoy beautiful views and the stunning wildlife.
“They are not also restricted to the island for the whole of their stay – when they are off they can take the tourist boat back to the mainland in order to see friends and family.
“There are, as yet, no guidelines drafted on whether they will be allowed to have guests stay with them on the island – that may be looked at in the future.”
Historic Scotland were asked if they would prefer it if a Scot got the job despite the global interest.
The spokeswoman replied: “I don’t think it’s a big issue. So long as they are right for the job and have the relevant paperwork to be eligible for working in the country then that should be enough.
“We will come to a decision in mid-March and the manager will then have a couple of weeks of form filling and getting ready before they make their