Glasgow erected by the Celts.
Carbeth, only some fifteen minutes from today’s town centre, has kept this sense of living among the grandeur of the woods. On my very first visit in early September, I fell in love with, not only Carbeth Guthrie, but the entire estate – hutters’ world.
Hut, cabane, that currogated way of life, of thinking, has always inhabited my heart. I still remember my very first hut, in the backyard of my grand parents’ rented accommodation, Rue de la Libération in Gisors, Normandy, was nicknamed by my maternal grand mother as “la cabane au Canada“. A simple shed turned into a cosy hut by my Mamie, with my grand father’s help, enchanted my early childhood. It was a place where imagination could roam free and safe at will. During summer, we would spend all our days… Countless lunches, afternoons and early evenings behind the high walls of our secret world. Safe from the incessant traffic and other urban chaos. A safe haven, in which we could smile and live as ourselves.My grand parents were tenants and lived at No. 18, just underneath the attic of a building that had survived Nazi bombs from WWII. Every spring, swallows would return to their respective nests just under the edge of the slate roof. At dusk, I still remember the blackbird calling and performing its majestic song… To walk around the Carbeth Estate with my friend and boat builder, Ruth Macdougall as my guide, made me reconnect to this notion of currogated world.
Simple life, Thoreau Style
A hutter’s way of thinking and lifestyle is by no means an easy one.
American essayist, poet, philospher and individualist, Henry D Thoreau, has devoted his sense of geopoetics around a pond and wood near Concord, Massachusetts. To be a hutter is to accept a more modest, close-to-the natural world. Thoreau was a “pirate” in many ways, notably by rejecting the comfort of the urban life for a comfortable socio-economical member of a society dictated by so few through money and laws… He belonged to a league of men who saw their place in a world free of artificial frills so very few folk actually enjoy. The faces I met on the Carbeth Estate were those of happy common folk with smiles. Some huts look really trendy and cosy, whereas others, dilapedated… To live inside the wood is not necessarily a priviledge exclusive to a few in our day and age.
To be a hutter is to accept our place in a material world in which rocks do not need to shine in terms of monetary value. My material world is full of rocks, shells and pebbles, I usually encounter when walking the shore of my island. To be a hutter is to accept that the wind can whistle through the walls of your home, or shake floors during a storm, or even a leaking roof. To live at one with the world as it is known free of monetary mirrors… Ten years ago, I fled the fever of the city and came closer to this less comfortable way of life (as this may be perceived by some). My wealth is my freedom as well as my hutter’s way of thinking, as taught by my maternal grand mother initially when I was a child. My “cabane shetlandaise” remains my castle. Such way of life has brought me closer to the natural world, the real world as well as a simpler life. I am proud to be a hutter on my island and feel at one with fellow hutters from Carbeth!