Simple, rustic buildings have long been central to Scotland’s cultural heritage. From shielings to mountain bothies and shepherds’ huts, they have played a crucial role as lively, temporary containers for music, poetry, learning, celebration, retreat, work and family time in Scotland’s countryside. These have been immortalised in artworks as diverse as Martyn Bennett’s seminal album ‘Bothy Culture’ and the Broons’ famous but’n’ben.
The history of hutting in Scotland is also largely associated with a working class movement that developed early in the 20th century when small holiday huts began to be built on land close to Scotlandʼs main industrial cities. The best known of these sites is at Carbeth in Stirlingshire, where 140 huts and a thriving population of hutters remain. The origins of the Carbeth hut site were based on providing access to green spaces for returning soldiers from the First World War. Carbeth has always had strong links to the ship-building communities of the Clyde. Its population peaked in 1941 after the Clydebank blitz. It 2013, Carbeth hutters rallied together to buy the land their huts sit on. The community continues to go from strength to strength.
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in hutting, as more and more people feel a need to connect with the land in a sustainable way. Until now, planning rules and land access have formed barriers which prevent many people having the chance to spend time in huts in the countryside. However, that is beginning to change – as you’ll see in our Planning Rules page. Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign aims to make it possible for more people to have the restorative and fulfilling experience of hutting.