Thursday 17 January 2013
Wild Hut 14
Carbeth Loch, by Strathblane.
I was very fortunate to be contacted by the producer of BBC Scotland’s radio show ‘Out of Doors’ – Chris Sleight. He seemed keen to feature the 100 Wild Huts project on his show. People have often said to me that I ‘have a face for radio’ so this seemed like a great opportunity. I also somehow managed to persuade the producer to help actually build a wild hut and sleep rough for one night. He agreed to come along, although I’m not sure he initially grasped the lengthy timeframes and workloads involved.
The community of huts were established as a retreat from the stifling effects of
Glasgow and Clydebank’s heavy industrial heritage. This is a notion I’m sympathetic to. They recently completed a community land buy-out: “The hutters would like to extend an invitation for people to come along and explore Carbeth. In the next 2 years the hutters will need lots of support, funding, media attention and solidarity. There are also opportunities to buy huts and sites and join the hutting movement into the future.”
Richard had started a campfire inside the hut which had a great warming effect although also threatened to choke everyone in their sleep and sizzle holes through their sleeping bags. Being the most intelligant of the 3 – I picked the bunk directly in the line of wind-driven smoke and ash. It was indeed the warmest bunk but the smoke inhalation took the edge off my enjoyment.
An hour or two later I was awoken with the padding footsteps of a heavy animal just by the hut. It seemed to approach the hut then amble off through the undergrowth. The next morning Chris had also heard something snuffling around our bags outside. He thought it was perhaps a fox or deer, I wondered if it might have been a badger as it sounded heavy?
(Now…I mentioned the possibility of it being a badger on the radio interview and then frantically searched the internet on my return home incase badgers hibernated all winter…I didn’t want to sound both stupid and eccentric all in one 6 min radio programme.)
An orange haze glowed on the horizon as the sun glanced through the dark forest. We stirred in our bunks early and recorded a final section for the radio show where I blurted a few incoherent words whilst trying to sound awake. We said our goodbyes to Chris who had a busy schedule including the school run that morning and a full day's work. Richard used the welcome dawn light to take some 360 panoramic photographs and we packed our gear away.