JENNY & IAN HUMBERSTONE: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

Crisp frost adorns the crunching heather./ Moonlight brightens, illuminating every patch of frozen ground, every bare branch./ The night sky, above this small shelter, this haven of home, sheltering us from the brisk cold and wailing winds./ A crackling hearth, the warmth of a wood/ fuelled fire, simple comfort and protection from natural elements we are rarely so exposed to./ The River Spey lies beneath us, its roaring crescendo-ing cacophony of continuous water./ Winding its way down from the hills above through this striking and interwoven patchwork landscape/ of tree roots, thawing cold soil, grass and gravel and heather and rock.



In early January we journeyed up to Inshriach Bothy near Aviemore, full of anticipation, excitement and having gingerly readied ourselves for what promised to be a unique experience enveloped by the landscape in a simple shelter in the Highlands. A week removed from the everyday hustle and bustle, the bright lights and city noise. A time to reflect, to be inspired and restored, to regain focus and perspective and dedicate a rarely found straight week to the creative pursuits we both treasure.

Ian + Jenny Humberstone at Bothy

Ian is a researcher, artist and musician. I am a landscape architect, photographer and film-maker. Together we have interests in both the auditory and visual senses that combine with other experiential qualities to help define a sense of place.

During our days at Inshriach Bothy we explored this beautiful landscape whilst the weak winter daylight lasted, and found visual senses dominated – views of far flung snow-topped mountains against the horizon, the almost hypnotising circling swirling of the river, frozen rippled puddles along the path and bare branches swaying in the wind. As dusk turned to pitch black inky night, auditory clues took over to translate the world around us – owls hooting from up above our heads, the crunch of footsteps along winding frosty paths, winds wailing, trees creaking, and that occasional unexpected crunch nearby that jolts you alert, filled with dread of what might be out there in the dark – heard but not seen.

You feel vulnerable, blind without a primary visual sense to guide you, auditory cues magnify in intensity, and instead you retreat to the warmth inside the bothy, lighting lanterns and a fire to give warmth. ‘Outside’ transcends from a serene beautiful landscape and becomes a darkened wilderness of unexpected noises that prey on your overly zealous imagination. Until morning. When you re-awake to views of a peaceful serene landscape once more.

Humberstone_IanWoodsHumberstone_Mountain 02Humberstone_RainbowRedTreesJenny Humberstone photographyHumberstone_LandscapeHumberstone_LochAnEileennight sky bothy

Together we made a film exploring this transition in the way we interpret the world around us, the way our experience of place changes as different senses dominate – day to night, visual to auditory, from an instantly visual and explained world in plain sight, to a primal fear induced by auditory cues we either hear or imagine but cannot see or anticipate.

The audio for this film primarily comprises original field recordings taken by Ian at the Inshriach Bothy site and locale (including piano at the Old Bridge Inn) in addition to original compositions responding to the night scenes and outro. Film and photography was recorded entirely on-site by Jenny. The film represents the collaboration of the senses which combine to create the ‘genius loci’ of this unique landscape as this changes from day to night and back to day again.


Whilst at the bothy I became interested in the notion of layering sensory information, which in combination forms a unique perspective in creating a sense of place. This sense of place is always fluid and personal – a landscape and its experiential qualities change not only with time of day, season, meterological conditions, but also with the specific places someone explores and subjective experiences personal to them within that landscape. In the following series of photographic works, I looked specifically at layering different visual information from varying scales in the landscape around Inshriach Bothy – by combining landscape-wide views and detailed abstractions at the closest scales of leaves, textures and macro elements to combine and create a series of snapshots which together help form a visual sense of this beautiful place and landscape.

Humberstone_WaterFireHumberstone_Mountain 04Humberstone_MountainWater

JO TOMLINSON: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

On Sat 14th of March it was a ridiculously sunny day. I was excited to start my residency at the bothy and get off grid. I arrived at Inshriach farm where I was warmly welcomed by Walter and some canine pals. I knew it was going to be a good week.


Slowing down and following my own rhythm was my main intention for the week. I was looking forward to stripping back the layers of communication we are tied to everyday and tuning into a solely internal one. Concentrating on one thought at a time. I aimed for my experiences and natural thought process to guide me through the week, free of external stimuli.

I was interested to gain perspective not only on my work but my approach to living and considering this within a current project I was developing DETERMINATION/67p/22F

Although I had a good combination of company and solitude throughout the week,  it was the days of solitude that intrigued me the most. Would being alone change the way I spent my time, my creative outputs, would I explore more, or would I retreat to the familiar parameters of the Bothy? Is the desire to explore new territory strongest as an individual or inspired through a group consensus?

“I think we live in a world that’s very much complied of fragments – fragments of information and experience. We process these and each of us synthesis together to create our own views on things”

Doug Aitken, Its All About The Process 2012




I had the opportunity to just be, where staring into space was totally acceptable.


My connection to the sun and water became very apparent, there was nothing blocking this relationship, like buildings, routines, pressure to be doing something and everything.





sand scum3


Water, as it changed in form seemed to be a prominent reoccurring theme to my week.

I took footage for a new video work, I drew, I set up assemblages, I painted with red wine and lemons and avocados.







I thought a lot about the determination of nature and of human exploration and why we explore. I couldn’t seem to find myself at a loose end, always entertained by the visual feast of forms around me from foamy river scum to my first shooting star and a solar eclipse.





Solar Eclipse 20th March around 9.55am




clearing1The Bothy is a truly amazing place to stop, reconnect with yourself, get back to basics and develop ideas.

Thanks so much to Walter, Rachel Walker and The Bothy Project.

JAIMIE MACDONALD: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

I’ve come back to the world of the city. You see I spent a week in ‘Narnia’. I’ve even been reading about the adventures of the Moomins and channelling Tove Jansson! There were 2 days where I didn’t see or speak to any other human and the only time I used my voice was when I was joyfully singing along to the radio. I asked myself the day I came home and felt overwhelmed by the heat, the noise and the light:

What do you mean the rest of my days aren’t going to be just like that!?

I could easily have stayed  longer but I’ve go lots to do and a new collection of things to try now that I’ve had my soul refreshed a little.


I practised my whittling skills and requainted myself with my sketchbook

macdonald_whittled bird

I declared a few #patchofpeace spots

bothy #patchofpeace 1 644

and wrote a poem as well as recording precious moments in my journal

Bright cold days and

ice inside stars

Glistening moon crescent

in present breath

slow nurtured soul

home solo


Capable courage

and kindness

takes earth footsteps

one at a time


Radio wiggles and laughs

light flickers.

Writing at night of the glory of the day

showing up to create


Fresh creativity grows

by letting go

and doing something

Chopping wood and

conversations with Robin

While the sun sits by the shiny crackle edged river

macdonald_ice edged river

Light of blue and gold

depth of beauty

heartbeat slowed

ears dancing in silence

focused and whole

macdonald_river wood robin me

Grief of leaving, saying goodbye

gratitude to all abounds

the trees and the ground

the sky and the snow

to the patterns left behind

and moments held in memory.


Read more of my reflections over on www.madecurious.co.uk/blog

TANITH MARRON: Self-Directed Residency, 2014

In November 2014 I undertook a residency at the Inshriach Bothy for one week. through mixed media drawing, photography and found object I used the time as a source of exploration into the subject of experiencing place.

The work I produced forms a self contained project box, pictured on my website.

Below is an excerpt of writing I produced whilst at the Bothy, it falls somewhere between the creative and the documentary. It was created in response to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and all quoted text below relates to the book.




“Far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life but so much over and above my usual allowance.”

The river is a constant grounding sound that wherever I stand in Inshriach I hear the bubbling.

It is still flowing. 

I find it reassuring, dependabhle. A sign of continuation and routine.

Working to illustrate a higher power; not to imply that God makes the water flow but that the world does not depend on human presence to be.

The planet runs on a lifecycle transcended from our own, we call it slow but perhaps we are fleeting beings. I have come to consider, while sitting here by the river, that while the river flows she illustrates this lifecycle,, the passing of time, very differently to the way a mountain might.

I sit by the river at sunset, the light lingers here just that bit longer. I arrived with great intention, but here I find myself just sitting, watching the river flow.

Ever changing.

I try and capture the shapes of the ripples, they only appear for a moment and then they are gone; so hard to catch.

Time, an intangible dimension that we so often chase and try to measure, and what is it worth? Really, there is only now with the perceived past and future, but if memories can be untrue and the future undetermined, then we have naught but this. Now.

The ripples seem to mimic earth’s surface, moving as if in fast-forward, mountains and valleys moving, eroding, and changing. So I would just sit and watch caught in a moment of tranquility, stillness and peace.

The light at this time is like no other, coming so pure from so low in the sky. It isn’t day-light but twilight. It gives a glow. The sun moves fast in the sky until I see it pass behind the distant mountains. Its rays linger,

“[Sitting here] I am refreshed and expanded”




“I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs in the undisturbed solitude and stillness while the birds sang around or flittered noiselessly through the house, until by sun falling in at my west window or some travellers wagon on the distant highway I was reminded of the laps of time.”

Morning sound,

The fire cracks close at hand. I have to listen past it to hear the land.

My Robin, toot. He is just inside his heather bush, hiding, testing me.

I can hear more birds but I don’t know where they are, hidden by trees and mist.

Their song is gentle now that the dawn chorus has passed.

There is a breeze today. It tickles the trees and makes them shiver. A gentle noise that is barely there.

My Robin flutters into view, sitting on the closest branch. As near to me as he can be without leaving his home. He sits and watches, shifting from time to time, hop hop.

A Crow. Alone he calls.

I hear the road, I wish I didn’t but it runs quite close. It isn’t busy but it grounding enough.

Crow, Crow,

Caw, Caw, Caw, look at me.

I hear the river; it flows high. We had some rain in the night and the ground is still heavily saturated. You can feel it in the air; a mist is setting, silently.

Bubbling, rushing,

So constant I hadn’t heard it at first.

The gentle background of the river and the road sets for a great melody of bird call. It isn’t loud, repetitive or constant. It just is.





The dark is worrying me, I can’t see out, I can’t see past my feet. It isn’t the dark but the unknown which terrifies me. What is it out there? Nothing. There is no movement, no noise, just my own mind whirling. I wish I could see.

It’s hot in the Bothy, claustrophobic.

Hot and close, Dark and Close. There is no one here, I am alone.

I came to the Bothy with expectations of beauty, tranquility, and calm. I worried about loneliness but I didn’t think it would settle in until I had had time to be alone.

It’s the first night and the lights won’t hold out. It’s a strange feeling going from a world with so many distractions and responsibilities into a place so absolutely removed.

It’s strange. I have been alone before, but now I have a whole week of alone stretched in front of me.

7 blank pages.

“Fishermen, hunters, wood choppers and others, spending their days in the fields and woods, in a peculiar sense a part of Nature themselves, are often in a more favourable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation.”

Fold down larger pages. A great expanse for small and delicate text.

Night has fallen, the mists have risen and above me is a sight that stills all thought. Above me is the vast, unbroken expanse of the universe, to which the earth looks, and it is not that I, here, am alone but that she, the earth, is; we are one.

And beyond? Perhaps we are as one alone, perhaps that is not the point and we should look for something other.

This sight is more than my vain thought.

Walden says an old fashioned man would have lost his senses but I believe quite the opposite. An old fashioned man would have gotten on just fine, used to darkness and contented without the distractions of the modern world. A modern man would be far more dangerous alone.

There is no noise at night, no birds sing, no thing is moving. I hear fire cracking. I hear the trees groaning under their own weight.

It is this; the lack of sound, the lack of sight, which instills terror. The intense solidity of the vastness of unknown that can set you into panic.

No yard but unfenced nature.

Profundity. Sitting in the morning light I see what has been, all of history is present in the light of the sun. The landscape knows no markers of change, only that which lives on its surface. but you cannot change what is underneath.

We are not destroying the planet, we are destroying ourselves, and I think that I am okay with that. FARM

The farm is my closest connection to the outside world, though often deserted when I arrive.

I can get a hot shower here, it is a true luxury. No material object or elitist vanity, but rather a state of being clean and warm. In terms of existence, this is a luxury.

People come here and live on the farm to get away from life and the stress of being, but it is its own society with all the qualms of life.

Politics of being.

When to get out of bed, which job to do first.

But Lucy wants you to do something else.

Who used that plate? Who isn’t doing the washing up?

So much about here is absolutely as it would be elsewhere.

The back drop is different but, it’s all the same. The residents of the farm don’t seem to last more than a few months at a time before moving on.




My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp frittered by the ticking of a clock.

I came to know nature while at the Bothy. My days dictated by daylight; sun down is at 16:00: the moment when I have to lay rest to productivity. I sit in silence by candle light.

In darkness I wouldn’t venture far, I would nurse the fire and cook my evening meals, go to sleep early, so as to rise early, that I may break my fast before the light of day.

It is quite terrifying to think of the dependence we have on the sun. It is the source of all life. When it is dark and you are truly alone, you realise how massive its impact on our planet is.

I find that natural places give us an overwhelming sense of morality, it is terrifying and profound: it is sublime. I think it is something in the eternal nature of place. Mountains and lochs, rivers and trees and valleys, they are so permanent. We are not.

“I found myself, and still find, an instinct to a higher, or, as it is named, spiritual life, as do most men, and another towards a primitive rank and savage one, and I reverence them both. I love the wild not less than the good.”

I am here for but one week before returning to a world of society and culture. My experience of remote living do not compare to that of Walden. I am curious though, as he describes a descent from the spiritual or good life into that of the primitive. I know that this is not primitive living for me but it feels more spiritual, going back to my everyday seems more primitive. Although I will be far from the sticks and stones, the decisions we make when distracted as we are in modern society are much more the primitive. We lose sense of true cost, true luxury, true living.

I like to think it started before we were conscious of what it meant.

“I caught a glimpse of a woodchuck stealing across my path, and felt a strange thrill of savage delight, and was strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw; not that I was hungry then, except for the wilderness which he represented.”

“Being my own butcher, scullion, and the gentleman for whom the dishes were served up I can speak from an unusually complete experience… when I had caught and cleaned and cooked my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary and cost more than it came to.




A badger stole my soup with no regard for my feelings.

I was asleep when he came, he was scraping and banging on the decking and the Bothy wall as he shifted the chair. Terror had struck me for half a moment, before sense returned.

I just watched him lollop down the lane after ratting out my supplies. What will I eat for dinner now? After scaring him away with my broom I watched him go down the lane and I felt guilty for sending him away. I didn’t scream or shout, I didn’t even threaten, my mere presence was enough for him to turn and leave.

As I shone my torch through the window a badger looked sat. It was the first time I had seen another mammal so close to the Bothy since I arrived, only birds and insects and the occasional deer but always in the distance. He held the tatters of an empty soup carton his claws. And although I knew the dangers a badger may pose, he looked quite amiable.

We didn’t mingle.

The robin that lives next door must have been well acquainted with people by the time I showed up. A new resident every week at the Bothy, must make for great curiosity in the little bird. He would often flitter close by, landing on the doormat whilst I wondered, sketching and collecting. I came to find him sat on my milk one afternoon as I returned in search of warmth and comfort.

If I sat in the doorway watching the morning light settle on the world, as I often did while tending the fire for breakfast, he would sit on the nearest branch, watching. As close to me as he could be without leaving the safety of his home.

One morning after a trip to the compostable, I had left the Bothy door open to air out the wood smoke. I came lumbering down the pathway, I heard a small thud and some fluttering before little robin flew out and back into his bush.

I didn’t see him for two days after, I suspect he was shy after the injury but I feared for his life





KIERAN MILNE: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

Me and Polly the Collie spent a lovely week up at Inshriach from the 21st – 28th of February. Here are a series of Video Blogs I made every night to document the experience.

Some images taken from my time at the bothy, starting with some sketchbook pages and then some photographs. I still have about 10 rolls of 35mm film I need to develop but I plan on turning those photos into a series of Zines.












Finally here is a Video I made from clips I took while at the Bothy with a soundtrack created while on the residency as well, whoever supplied the guitar, thank you. As well as a huge thanks to the person who donated Lanark, it is an incredibly powerful book and it seems to have affected a lot of the other Bothinians while staying at Inshriach.



I would also like to thank Walter and the rest of the Inshriach massive for their kindness and for letting me cook for them on my final night. And Polly for being the best Bothy Buddy a man could ask for.




RACHAEL BERMAN MELVILLE: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

Day 1 – Monday, March 23, 2015. It was dark before, unseen. Now it is morning. Blue skies, the ocean. Two waking hours on Mallaig and I felt I knew the place. It is a beautiful little port town with much seafood to offer. After a rain shower and a rainbow, I return to my tiny, clean hotel room and gather my belongings.








Off to Eigg. I ride the ferry in awe.






Upon arrival I’m met with six border collies, a bustling pier full of locals, and Neil, who helps me with my bags and kindly drives me to Sweeney’s Bothy.  He shows me around, explains the composting toilet, the wood-burning stove, the solar powered electricity, the water pump system, and then lets me be; assuring me if I need anything, to simply walk down and knock on the door.


view from inside outhouse
view from inside outhouse












I unpack and organize while looking out the window.  The Isle of Rum is in direct view of the bothy’s window. I have a feeling I will get to know Rum.




Rum commands its place
A falcon flies overhead,
shadows dance with light


Blues, yellows, greens, reds
The sun changes everything
minute by minute


In the afternoon, I meet locals on my long walk to and from the pier. Everyone I meet is helpful and kind. I notice a relaxed yet determined demeanor with residents here. There is something different about people living far from the city.  Strong hands, skin that has seen the sun, practical clothing, boots for walking and working, and a glow that can only be emanated by something from within (not makeup, beauty products, or sunbeds). They look different because they live differently. There is a natural roughness to them. It isn’t that they don’t take care of themselves; in fact, it is more evident that they actually do. They look like they are living with the land, not just living from the land.













I am offered a ride back to my bothy when shopping at the local store. I thank the store owner kindly but decide to haul my heavy backpack back the way I came, on foot. I am glad that I did as the walk back was congruent to the sun’s last hours. As I arrived back to the bothy, I had just enough time to set my belongings inside and return to the front porch to watch the sun disappear below the sea.




A lone sheep appears at the top of a hill to my left. I try to photograph its silhouette but it seems to be playing a game with me. Each moment I re-focus and re-frame, it moves so that I cannot catch it. I eventually give up and set my camera down. Time to disconnect.


How did I get here?
The pieces fell into and
then out of the grid.


I struggle with time.
I think – outside or inside?
Weather, you decide.


The sea moves me in
Pushing firmly, pushing each
foot into the earth


Day 2 – Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today I set out to climb the ridge that sits behind and above the bothy.




I follow the directions of a neighbor, who instructed me to find the path beyond the washing lines of the big house down the street. I crossed the washing lines and hiked up and up past the sheep.


berman_bothy road




When I reached ‘the top’ I realized I was nowhere near ‘the top’, yet the views were tremendous. I continued to hike until I reached a large stone that I had seen from the door of my bothy. The rock is much bigger than I thought, more like a formation.  I realized I had hours of hiking to do if I wanted to follow the ridge and reach the end of the island. I stopped to eat my peanut butter sandwich. Recharged, I began part two. Photographing frantically along the way, I could barely believe my viewfinder, or my eyes. The beauty I experienced I cannot describe. Look at the photos. Better yet, come here sometime in your life.












After hours of hiking, a serendipitous phone chat with my husband, battles with mud, rain, snow, sleet and hail, I came to the end of the ridge. I was met with one more spectacular view and a rainbow. I got what I came for and more. What I didn’t get though, were details on how I was to return. I tried a few trails from the ‘end’ point, but one nearly led me off a cliff (during a windy, sleet-filled half hour) and the other trail I lost after ten minutes. I then attempted to scale downward from another path, but soon realized I was, again, no longer on a trail. I chose to re-trace my steps and head home the way I came. I was met with crazy weather once more. I retired my cameras and diligently hiked onward.




The hike back was very different from the hike there. I got into a zone and became determined and calm. The sun broke through and guided me down to the clothesline starting point. When I reached the very bottom, I photographed my boots on the tarmac road just off the property. I was relieved to be on solid ground.




The mountain taunts me
I give in and hike all day
I return with joy


Amendment to “I struggle with time” (one day later):

I struggle with time.
I think – outside or inside?
Weather, I decide.


This evening, while cooking my dinner on the stove-top and warming up for the night, I decide to use the oven for the first time. I bake an apple with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a butternut squash with salt, pepper and a drop of olive oil. I leave all the windows shut as I know it will get cold later at night. The bothy heats up. It continues to heat up. The oven is producing some kind of heat! I open a window, but it doesn’t make a difference for hours. Eventually I adapt.


Sitting sweat naked,
flames hot, I refuse
to put the fire out







Day 3 – Wednesday, March 25, 2015
My walk to and from the pier took me through forests, fields, hills, near rock formations, the sea, past houses and historic building remains. Moss and lichen cover everything. I have lunch with a border collie, watch ferries come and go, see the locals rush in for their grocery pick-ups from the mainland, and buy some local eggs that I literally saw delivered moments before my purchase. A military fighter jet flies low over the island and shakes me to my bones. I roam with the sheep, get my feet wet in sea, search for arrowheads, and take my sweet time doing everything.

I find a stone that resembles the shape of Rum; the shape I see from my window in the bothy.




I collect strands of sheep’s wool from branches and twigs.

I see baby pheasant scurry into bushes, falcons soar above, calves and cattle feed and wait, the sheep are still staring, chickens, roosters, goats, robins, seagulls, herons, pewits, pheasant, eagles, blackbirds, more birds unidentifiable, plants I’ve never seen, plants I know from my childhood, waterfalls, streams, the sea, cloud formations, mountains, rocks, stones I’ve only seen polished in shops, moss…everywhere.


































The sun is out for most of the day, as is the cold and the wind. On my return to the bothy I look in the mirror and see a reddened face, fresh from the elements.

My hands are dry and my skin begins to crack. I do not mind, as it seems unavoidable and natural while here. I have cuts and bruises from adventuring through forests and fields of thorns and branches. My muscles warmly ache from walking/hiking 6+ hours a day. I love this feeling.


berman_bothy self1


The day ends with darkness and strong winds. The stars will not visit me tonight. I look forward to tomorrow and welcome rain in the afternoon, as I wish to spend my last hours on the island, in the bothy, creating and reflecting.


Rain struggles to drop
Flying up from side to side,
it swirls and lands where?




Day 4 – Thursday, March 26, 2015


Rum is hazed with snow,
glazed with icing of the sky
Morning sun’s dessert


I awoke in the loft bed in twilight. I decided not to keep my watch near the bed; I had no idea what time it was. I stay in bed for some time, looking out the window at stormy weather.


berman_self 2


The wicked weather ensued and I dug my heels into some homework. I took breaks making rose and cardamom tea, fresh coffee, boiled eggs, sandwiches for later, honey on toast, and even tried my hands at baking some bread from scratch with bits and pieces left over from past bothy dwellers.


My surroundings de-clutter as I use up the last bits of food and materials I brought with me for the week. I also begin using unneeded notes to feed the fire. I am not worried about completing anything today. I burn my ‘to do’ lists and let the bothy and the landscape seep in.

I have grown fond of the songs of the birds, wind, rain, and the crackling fire – I haven’t listened to music or the radio since day one.

I am still determined to see the beach again and decide to venture out with minimum gear to brave the weather.


Clouds break, blues emerge
Night’s storm of wind, rain and hail
now merely a dream


The sun is out, quick!
Time to play with ornery wind
Hurry to the sea


The journey to Singing Sands was muddy and boggy. A neighbor confirms that I am on the right path and I am introduced to his young daughter and I am reacquainted with the border collie I had lunch with the day before.

I am overwhelmed with beauty and stunned by the power of the wind. I take photos until my film runs out and my battery dies. I am left with my eyes and my memory. I take the long way back to the bothy.








I finally get a chance to chat with Eddie. We speak of life on the island and elsewhere. He tells me of a bird, the shearwater, which comes once a year from Brazil to nest in the cliffs of Eigg and Rum. He attempts to mimic their song, but stops shyly and describes it as ‘ghostly – but not spooky’. He says they fly in at night and you can hear them from the croft.

He shares a tale of Nordic sailors, coming to Rum for the first time. When they arrived, they heard mysterious calls from the mountains. They believed the island must be inhabited by trolls and resist landing. A few days later, they spotted shearwaters and realized these were their ‘trolls’ and finally docked their ships without fear.
He also tells me that there is another bothy on Rum – Dibidale Bothy. If you look closely you can see it from his window, and the bothy’s window. Dibidale means ‘deep water’ in Norse. The bothy sits on a crevice in the land that extends deep into the sea.
I ask questions about the residents of Eigg, especially wondering how people react to visitors and tourism. We speak of small-community life and how it differs from city life.  We share past experiences and look out the window. The sunset will be beautiful – time to grab the camera.






I spend the evening organizing my things, preparing food, beginning to pack, and deliberating about painting before I sleep. It is already ten and I wish to wake early to go back to Singing Sands upon sunrise if the weather permits.




Day 5 – Friday, March 27, 2015
Last day, last entry. I am exhausted with pleasure. Last night I packed, cleaned, and organized. I began sketching around 10pm and finished sometime around 3am. I could have been dreaming, but I’m sure I heard the shearwaters Eddie spoke of as I drifted off to sleep. I awoke to a pheasant squawking at my window and noticed two calves wondering on the hill above the bothy. They moo-ed for their mama as they had lost their way. Busy on the croft at 6am – guess it is time to get up.

I build a fire and head to Singing Sands without any backpack or even water; just one camera, a plastic bag, and some paper to make some charcoal rubbings of the rocks, some of which are Jurassic. Delirious from lack of sleep, the morning was like a dream: Singing Sands at sunrise, chats with neighbors, dogs and sheep, bird sightings, sun, wind, rain and hail.
























I make it back to the bothy in time to leisurely make breakfast, pack up my belongings and clean for the next visitor.  I finish just in time to meet Eddie to take me down to the pier. I had been looking forward to this ride, as I would have the opportunity to chat with him once more. He helped me identify some birds I spotted this morning near the beach (pewits) and also informed me that the mysterious twig figure I discovered on the hill just above the bothy is Sweeney himself. An artist named Trevor Leat created him. A stunning outdoor sculpture that I will not forget.










I love that things weren’t mapped out for me. There isn’t a list of ‘things to do’ except for the writings of other Bothy dwellers and their suggestions. Even these are vague and you’d have to venture and ask around to figure things out. This is part of the bothy experience, to explore, get lost, get found, and find out.


No more musings, here’s the most important bit of this blog:


Many thanks to Eddie, Lucy, Bobby, Neil, all those who greeted me, and those who gave me essential directions/information during my stay. Thank you for sharing your island. Thank you Sweeney’s Bothy for your warmth and handsome utility. Thank you past bothy dwellers for leaving me with set honey and other bits and pieces for use or interest. Eigg, thank you for your beauty, your wildness, your might, and your spirit. Thank you for the stones, the tree branch, and the photographs I captured. Thank you for an unforgettable adventure. I am leaving the island with a smile and a very heavy heart…


bothy drawings