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Friday, 10 March, 2000, 13:02 GMT
Castaway Ray flees media circus
The castaways are living for a year on Taransay
Castaway Ray Bowyer has given the press the slip in the Scottish Highlands - after leaving the island of Taransay on a launch paid for by a tabloid newspaper.

Bowyer, from Lancashire, was asked to leave less than three months into the year-long project after disagreements with the rest of the community on the Castaway 2000 project, who are being filmed for a BBC programme.

The 59-year-old former builder's departure from Taransay, off the west coast of Scotland, was delayed by gale force winds.

But he was picked up by a launch paid for by The Mirror newspaper, which took him from Taransay to a former whaling station at Bunavoneadar, on the Isle of Harris.
Ray Bowyer
Ray Bowyer at the start of the series
His arrival started a media scrum, with rival journalists' cars blocking roads as they argued who was to get the first interview with him.

The Mirror won, but when they drove him to Stornaway, he suddenly jumped out of the paper's car, leapt into a taxi, and lost the chasing media pack.

He later caught a second taxi to the offices of the Stornaway Gazette, where staff, who saw he was bleeding from a mouth injury, paid for his ride.

The taxi driver, who did not wish to be named, said his fare "smelled very badly. He had not washed for a while".

Later, journalists spotted him in the local paper's van, and followed it to Stornaway ferry port, where he bought a ticket to Ullapool.

He shouted at the press pack: "I will tell the world in May what happened to me. You will have some story then. Now get lost, the lot of you."

Supermarket 'rampage'

On Friday morning, the paper which lost the castaway, The Mirror, claimed Bowyer went on a "boozy rampage" in a Stornaway supermarket and was found hiding in a clump of bushes.

Castaway 2000's executive producer Jeremy Mills said he had been told Bowyer was only bleeding as he had tried to shave his beard off to get the media off his tail.

He added: "Ray is an ordinary chap who has his good moments and bad moments like any of us.

"We are very sad to see him go. We will continue to do our best to ensure that he is alright."

The remaining castaways will remain on the island until the end of December.

See also:

31 Dec 99 | Scotland
Castaways prepare for bleak New Year
07 Feb 00 | Scotland
Island calls in meningitis experts
06 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Castaways adrift over flu
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