57 DEGREES NORTH: HUTS IN PLACE, ABRIACHAN FOREST

 
 
 

Northscape took part in the event 57 Degrees North: Huts in Place at Abriachan Forest on Sunday 16th July 2017 as part of Scotland's national Architecture Fringe. Several talks took place throughout the afternoon exploring different aspects of huts and hutting.

With thanks to Suzann, Roni and Clelland at the Abriachan Forest School. 
Audio-visual recordings with thanks to ethnologist Chris Wright of Local Voices.

 
 

 

Karen Grant of Reforesting Scotland discussed Scotland's A Thousand Huts Campaign, outlined recent policy and legislation and highlighted the cultural importance of the bothy or hut as a space for creativity. 

 
 
 
 

"Huts have a huge cultural importance, not just in what we call the traditional model of 'hut culture.' Huts and hut-like buildings such as bothies have fed into how we see our country and what kind of creativity comes out of our country. We have Martyn Bennett, who wrote the album 'Bothy Culture'; Hamish Henderson the folklorist, who travelled around gathering songs and stories from the Travelling people; and Norman MacCaig - hut life was very much part of his life in Assynt... Huts and hut-like buildings feed in to the poetic imagination of these creative people and they contribute something to our culture, which is both rooted in tradition and looking forward, which is what the Thousand Huts Campaign wants to do." 

 

 

Consultant ecologist Dr Emily Hesling discussed environmental factors to consider when planning a hut build, outlining various steps you can take to ensure that your hut has as little environmental impact as possible. She also reflected on how huts may contribute positively to the local biodiversity in Scotland and elswhere, giving the example of blanket bog.

 
 
 
 

"A lot of people are seeing huts as a way to reconnect with wilderness. At the same time there is the conservationist within all of us that is a little bit scared of the potential environmental impacts this may have, and maybe withold from that experience - seeing humans as only potentially 'bad' things when we are putting ourselves in wild situations. As an ecologist, I hope I can explain throughout this talk that I think that this isn't the case. My view is that huts could potentially be a really positive thing environmentally across Scotland."