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Carbeth Huts

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Carbeth Hut, 2010, Mark Nightingale
Carbeth Hut
© Mark Nightingale

The Carbeth Huts lie in a wooded site occupying about 98 acres on the western side of Carbeth Hill in the Campsie Fells, approximately ten miles to the north of Glasgow.

History

The hutted community was originally founded during the 1920s and 1930s, in an area that had been popular for gathering in the pre-war (World War I) years. Author Ian R Mitchell tells us the socialists, such as the Clarion Cycling Scouts group, would assemble at Carbeth, and pitch their tents before heading off into the hills. He goes on to say that after that war, landowner Barns-Graham allowed an ex-serviceman to build a holiday shack on his land at Carbeth, and others were to follow. This led to a small village of such hut. The huts were expected to have a minimal impact on there surrounding, so had to be small, always painted green, and hidden among trees and behind hedges. Owners paid the landowner a nominal rent, but there were no facilities other those few provided by the hutters themselves. They went on to dam a small burn, forming a lido complete with swimming pool. The pool survived from 1920 to 1972.

During the Depression, many unemployed used the area and shared wit with the hutters, and many well-known climbers and walkers from Scotland's past recorded their time passing through Carbeth. There is also mention of these walkers spending time at the Craigallian Fire, a fire which is said to have been kept burning continually, and served as focal point for those who were left unemployed by the depression of the 1930s, and used their time to go and explore Scotland's countryside.

World War II saw further utilisation of the site, as families from Clydebank made their way there to get away from the effect of the Blitz and the bombers.

An article from Reforesting Scotland Journal issue 43[1] describes hutting at Carbeth, and other sites.[2]

In 2010, the community settled a long-running rent strike and dispute (which had lasted some 15 years) with then landowner Allan Barns-Graham, who agreed to give them three years to raise the capital needed to buy the land forest where the huts were established.

In 2013, the hutters finally succeeded in securing a loan which allowed them to buy the land and forest. 140 hut owners will take out leases with CHCC (Carbeth Hutters Community Company), which is the land owner. [3]



Carbeth back in the day

Thousand Huts campaign

The "Thousand Huts" campaign is backed by the environmental network, Reforesting Scotland, and has the aim of promoting huts and hutting, and to do so by beginning with a fairly modest target. Its start was reported by the BBC in August 2011.[4]

Further coverage was given by The Guardian a few months later.[5]

The campaign centres around the idea of the hut as a place, an experience, an endeavour, an ideal for all to enjoy. In contrast to many other European countries, Scotland has a modest historic tradition of hutting, one which has almost died out, whilst in Nordic nations at a similar latitude and with similar forestry traditions, hutting is well established as a way of life.

References

1 Reforesting Scotland Journal issue 43 Retrieved March 23, 2013.

2 Hut life - the stories of three communities Retrieved March 23, 2013.

3 Carbeth Hutters buy their forest home after bank loan | UK news | guardian.co.uk Retrieved March 23, 2013.

4 The "Thousand Huts" campaign is backed by the environmental network, Reforesting Scotland. Retrieved March 23, 2013.

5 Scottish campaigners set out to revive hutting in 2012 | UK news | The Guardian Retrieved March 23, 2013.

External links


Aerial views


Map

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