MATT STALKER: Self-Directed Residency, 2016

 Everything is slower here. In these crannies of the mountains, the mode of supplying elemental needs is still slow, laborious, personal… There is a deep pervasive satisfaction in these simple acts. Whether you give it conscious thought or not, you are touching life, and something within you knows it.”  Nan Shepherd, ‘The Living Mountain’


Inshriach Bothy

The walk from the wood store to the axe’s haggar at the chopping block; the careful assembly of a rickle of broken fingers of kindling atop the reeshle of crushed newspaper, brought to fragile life by the flame of a single match, nursed until grown-up into a blaze enough to raise the rationed water from cold, to warm, to boiling. And then its almost ecclesiastical ministry to the coffee grounds, followed by the rich smoky smell, steam rolling over itself in ascension, the heat on the lips and tongue as the cup is drawn to the mouth, and then — finally — the taste.

Everything is slower here. And gratitude comes easily.


Glossary (with thanks to Nan)
Haggarclumsy hacking
Ricklea structure put loosely together, loose heap



There must be many exciting properties of matter that we cannot know because we have no way to know them. Yet, with what we have, what wealth!

Nan Shepherd, ‘The Living Mountain’

Loch an Eilein

Such quality of light I have seldom seen. The Sun dropping behind the Cairngorms casts colours across the sky that bring to mind peaches, gold bullion, candy floss, the aphrodisiac neon of the urban — things that have no place here amidst the timeless Scottish hues of brown earth, of white frost, of mustard yellow and mauve heather.

Standing at the edge of a loch standing like glass, reflection is a natural process. The mind is drawn into reverential silence. Sentinels of the water, we stand as quiet as the venerable Scots Firs rising up from the earth around us. We don’t speak. To utter a sound now is to heave a rock into the stillness, disturbing the way things are: just as they are.

At the far side of the water, the slightest of breezes ripples the surface, trembling the Rorschach reflections of the forest. Its fringes become animated — pixelated, deconstructed, forms dissolving in skittering morse code dashes and dots.

Time doesn’t mean anything here. Each moment extends out fluidly, soundlessly, peacefully, magically.

RYAN ARTHURS: Self-Directed Residency, 2016

Strata. “The island is pervaded by a subtle spiritual atmosphere./ It is as strange to the mind as it is to the eye. / Old songs and traditions are the spiritual analogues / of old castles and burying-places and old songs / and traditions you have in abundance. / There is a smell of the sea in the/ material air / and there is a ghostly something in the air of the imagination… / You breathe again the air of old story-books.” -Alexander Smith, ‘A Summer in Skye’, 1885


Sweeney's Bothy, Isle of Eigg, September 26, 2016


Massacre Cave, Isle of Eigg, 2016
Massacre Cave, Isle of Eigg, 2016

Outside of Massacre Cave on the Isle of Eigg, I refreshed my iPhone and read about the tragedy that occurred immediately in front of me. There was a longstanding clan feud that ended when a raiding party found the entire town hiding in the cave. They started a fire at the entrance and asphyxiated roughly three-hundred and ninety villagers who hid inside.

Mistaken Point, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Cathedral Cave, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)
Mistaken Point, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Cathedral Cave, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)

For the past year I have been photographing thresholds. On Newfoundland Island; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; and the Isles of Skye and Eigg, Scotland. I have recorded remote, outport communities that, in the modern age of globalization, remain isolated. These islands are situated between worlds, both geographically and metaphorically. They’ve come to embody the old and the new—spaces where time collapses, where past and present collide.

Fishing Stage, New World Island, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Sea Cave, Burnt Cove Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland, 2016 (right)
Fishing Stage, New World Island, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Sea Cave, Burnt Cove Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland, 2016 (right)

These spaces share the quality of liminality: they occupy positions at boundaries and borders; their dimensions include physical, temporal, and spiritual registers. They are property lines, rivers and bogs, lochs and ponds. Some have obvious boundaries and borders, while others are transitional and ambiguous.

Drying Cod, Cape Norman, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Low Tide, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)
Drying Cod, Cape Norman, Newfoundland, 2016 (left) | Low Tide, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)

On the threshold of a cave, I can sense an ancient past. “Old songs and traditions are the spiritual analogues / of old castles and burying-places.” The opposite must also be true. Caves’ rocky recesses trapped the heat of our fires. They served as our earliest shelters, our first stages, and the soot-blackened walls provided us with our first artistic canvas to depict the world around us.

Residence, Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia, 2015 (left) | Tally Marks, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland, 2015 (right)
Residence, Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia, 2015 (left) | Tally Marks, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland, 2015 (right)

Liminal spaces disorient us. While we recognize some of these locations for their features, we sense others as a feeling, a sort of thin veil between our world and the next. We experience these feelings in isolated or remote places that instill us with fear and the sense that we aren’t welcome. These feelings are often heightened at certain times: dusk and dawn, under the glow of a full moon, or other celestial events, or during certain holidays, particularly Halloween. Liminality is a key concept in supernatural thinking, liminal times and spaces often serve as settings for supernatural occurrences in storytelling.

Motorcycle, Isle of Skye, 2016 (left) | Two Horses, Isle of Skye, 2016 (right)
Motorcycle, Isle of Skye, 2016 (left) | Two Horses, Isle of Skye, 2016 (right)

Storytelling arises out of an experience of disorientation. It seeks to explain what we cannot rationalize or understand. In a time where satellites orbiting the planet can triangulate our physical location in seconds, the experience of disorientation is more distant. My ongoing body of work explores some of the ancient sites that connect us to the past via the strange folklores, myths and legends that have been passed down. I distill history into visual elements, photographing to prompt future stories. The role of the historian or storyteller is to piece together the fragments she has, and spin them into a narrative. While I have arranged my images, my work asks the viewer to become the storyteller himself.

Sgurr na Banachdaich, Isle of Skye, 2016
Sgurr na Banachdaich, Isle of Skye, 2016

Stories relating to these liminal spaces have accumulated over thousands of years. Information packs into layers of sediment; the mineral strata describe millennia. As the most permanent surface in the natural world, rock formations carry etchings, paint, and the wear of thousands of footsteps. To the trained eye, rock faces read like sentences and paragraphs. The landscape reveals its history.

Ying Yang Wolf, Mallaig, 2016 (left) | Sandstone, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)
Ying Yang Wolf, Mallaig, 2016 (left) | Sandstone, Isle of Eigg, 2016 (right)

The accumulation and superposition of narratives and culture is not a seamless process. North America—where I grew up—hosts a strange and troubled convergence of societies. The people who moved here in the past 500 years have almost completely covered those who first arrived over 13,000 years ago. Indigenous Americans tell stories of creation and origin; people of European descent tell stories of exodus. Two separate histories cohabitate the same spaces.

Burning Pallets, Portree, Isle of Skye, 2016
Burning Pallets, Portree, Isle of Skye, 2016

On a planet of constant change, thresholds are inevitable. Through my work, I hope to understand and record these transitional spaces, to return to the viewer a sense of liminality, history, and disorientation, and, in the process, reopen the door to storytelling.

Ryan Arthurs was the artist in residence at Sweeney’s Bothy in September 2016. www.ryanarthurs.com 

RIC WARREN & SCOTT BROTHERTON: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

The Bothy Sketchbook.  Normally working independently, Scott Brotherton (Lives and works in London) & Ric Warren (lives and works in Glasgow) are both visual artists who predominately exhibit sculptural works and are influenced by the materials, forms and experiences of our urban surroundings, distilled through minimalist artistic sensibilities.  Our collaborative residency at Inshraich Bothy (November 2015) focused on the production and processing of research though drawing and initiated a creative dialogue as we developed artworks for our exhibition ‘Greyfield’ at House for an Art Lover. The exhibition for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2016 presented an installation of new architecturally responsive sculptural works that reflected on the urban environment from the vantage point of the rural landscape, exploring material, spatial and political tensions.

A collaborative collection of sketches, drawings, collages, photographs and experiments produced during the week-long residency were made in to ‘The Bothy Sketchbook’ publication (printed by Newspaper Club), the pages of which can be seen below. We are looking forward to undertaking a residency at Sweeny’s Bothy on Eigg in January 2017 to develop a new publication and bodies of work. More information about our individual practices can be found on our websites.




Pages from The Bothy Sketchbook

bothysketchbook_front_back bothysketchbook_pages-2_3 bothysketchbook_pages-4-5 bothysketchbook_pages-6-7 bothysketchbook_pages-8-9 bothysketchbook_pages-10-11 bothysketchbook_pages-12-13 bothysketchbook_pages-14-15 bothysketchbook_pages-16-17 bothysketchbook_pages-18-19 bothysketchbook_pages-20-21 bothysketchbook_pages-22-23 bothysketchbook_pages-24-25bothysketchbook_pages-26-27 bothysketchbook_pages-28-29 bothysketchbook_pages-30-31


Installation views of Scott Brotherton & Ric Warren: Greyfield (House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, 2016) 

01greyfield_install_shutter_down 02greyfield_install 03greyfield_composit

RACHEL HUNT: Self-Directed Residency, 2016

Using Sweeney’s as a place to explore the ‘out-dwelling’ skillscape. My trip to Sweeney’s was well timed, unintentionally so. It came in the midst of my write up, during a particularly fraught couple of months, when a years worth of empirics was being turned into just five chapters of a thesis. I am studying huts and bothies in rural Scotland and have found that, as Nan Shepherd wrote, ‘The thing to be known grows with the knowing’. Even in a thesis there is never enough room. I was stressed and frazzled and it was a wet, wet winter. Sweeney’s offered welcome escape.


The bothy was warm, well built, and opened onto a fantastic view. It was a place for writing, a space for thinking and strangely liberating outdoor showers. I woke every morning to light the stove, make bread and soup, walk the dog (Lucy had kindly allowed me to bring) and then settle down to write.


It was there, in the bothy, that I wrote chapter 7. Emboldened by the words within the bothy library, and Nan Shepherd in particular, it began to take shape. It is in this chapter that I look to the ideals and idylls of hut and bothy life, address the issues of journey, health, gender, nature, biophelia and lastly attending to skill. It is for this last section to which I am most indebted to my time at Sweeney’s. My introduction to this chapter states the following:

…this chapter will turn to the ideal of skill. It does so to advance a series of observations: 1, that there is the potential for a innate skill to ‘get it’, a knowledge rather than an act; 2, there is the claim that simplicity in itself is skilful – the ability to make something look simple, is in fact, where the true skill lies in this case, embedded in an impressive relationship between ‘out-dweller’, thought, practice, and environment; and 3, that while living simply is often typecast with the trope of ‘return’ or ‘escape’ to a ‘simpler’ existence, to be successful in that endeavor can require a complex ‘skilling up’ – a process of learning, adaptation, creativity and flexibility which is, arguably, ‘akin’ to what is routinely expected in the modern world.

Living in a hut, albeit a particularly luxurious one, allowed for an ascetic aesthetic which acts upon the self, focusing the mind on the physical tasks to be done and, in my case, the mental task of what was to be written. Mind and body worked together over that week to the tune of 10,000 words, and a calmer mind. For me at least, these are not normal work outcomes. Not together and not in the same week. Heidegger once write of Building Dwelling Thinking, without commas, to emphasise the harmonious linking of the three ideas and so I would argue that Sweeney’s, and buildings like it, offer a space for Hut Thought Word. I would thus like to thank Sweeney’s bothy, and the Bothy Project, for allowing me to explore the notion of a hut as a space to think, to write, and to be. Buildings have the capacity to act upon their users, impacting upon the work they produce in that space and I learnt a great deal about this process during my week here. I am thankful for every moment of this opportunity.

I have, in other spaces, written of the words people leave in the bothy, particularly in the bothy book and so I am also grateful for those who left their words, images, and as a first for me, their sculptures, for me to find.


While visitors books can be seen as inconsequential lists of names, dates, times I would rather see them as treasured individual literary gems, works which, in their handwritten state, become a modern day manuscript reflective of the initial days of the revolutionary move from orality to literacy (Finkelstein and McCleery 2002). They take us back to a time when there was only one book, one ‘object’, in one place. The makers thus mimic the monks of days gone by, creating books to be valued and protected. These ‘gems’ above, may well make it into my thesis, and they certainly demonstrate the need for greater attention to the guest book and the treasure they hold.

SUZANNE DERY & AMY CLAIRE HUESTIS: Self-Directed Residency, 2016

Lichen/ Arrow Rainbow/ River   Wood   Axe/ Green  Blue  Orange/ Yellow Crystal Moon Cloud/ Light  Picture    Fire    Cauldron/ Sauna    Water     Dishes   Matches/ Toilet Paper  Pee  Moss  Trees  Heather/ Witches  Juniper berries  Stars   Mountains



We see the rainbow ahead, then in the landscape

through striations and wondrous gradations.

Green always the constant neutral tone.

Soft green of moss, green so alive in trees,

plants, green green emerald lovely green

is the colour of Sue’s hair in the other

world.  A fuzz of emerald green surrounds her head,

her hair like glorious green wool.

Her cloak is green, and she is the colour

of living things.

The secret world of the maker unseen, unrevealed. Reflections in the pond and waters symmetry, as what is above is below. Is the bothy a space that holds many secret worlds of makers inside?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA        






Gathering things, looking, noticing, gathering images, looking through glass. One looks through the coloured glass and afterward the head glows, A vibrant sensation. BLUE GLASS makes a Romantic image BLUE AND ORANGE GLASS even more so, moody , dark, twilight. ORANGE GLASS on green hill and water With white sky, dazzling gradation of colour.
Gathering things, looking, noticing,
gathering images, looking through glass.
One looks through the coloured glass and afterward the head glows,
A vibrant sensation.
BLUE GLASS makes a Romantic image
moody , dark, twilight.
ORANGE GLASS on green hill and water
With white sky, dazzling gradation of colour.















Right now I am thinking of

how I enjoy the silence

of our working time.

Each at ‘our’ desks.

Yes, I know this dark colour (glass + landscape) resembles the German Romantics, and oh cast on a ruin, one sees a historical impulse, though. But overriding this is the glue and definition of new things, a magical practice, a transformative practice. Simple coloured glass, so beautiful and pure, transforms the landscape. Pictures appear -- mind-pictures, captured pictures.
Yes, I know this dark colour (glass + landscape)
resembles the German Romantics,
and oh cast on a ruin, one sees a historical impulse, though.
But overriding this is the glue
and definition of new things,
a magical practice, a transformative practice.
Simple coloured glass, so beautiful and pure,
transforms the landscape.
Pictures appear — mind-pictures, captured pictures.

The only sounds

are scratching, movements

of making and the rain,

fire breath and wind.

The sun comes and goes

and the light of day guides

work time

and brings inspiration,

energy, imagination

and enchantment.

I will work with reflection

and form. As I finish

writing for now,

I look out

through the window to my

right ­

Our shrine for Venus

sits on a mound surrounded

by heather and grass

and the sun is shining on her.

The window sill holds crystals

of coloured glass and sheets

of these colours: indigo, yellow,

orange and light rose.

Moon shape, moon companion, appearing Always at the right moment coming going. Bright bodies of naked witches making Moon shadows, worshiping moon.
Moon shape, moon companion, appearing Always at the right moment coming going. Bright bodies of naked witches making Moon shadows, worshiping moon.


The sky cleared and the stars shimmered ­ millions, gazillions, clusters, constellations speaking. Later on the moon came back ­ so bright, so intense behind the veiny trees on the low horizon.
The sky cleared and the stars
shimmered ­
millions, gazillions,
clusters, constellations speaking.
Later on the moon came back ­
so bright, so intense behind
the veiny trees on the low horizon.












OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGathering lichen for a slide.

Maybe we

will be


And see the stag’s horns

or trees

or sea creatures



tiny kingdoms.

When the slide is

out in front of the lenses.

Something will be revealed

Something of wonder.





Thinking of last night…

We set up the magic lanterns

with our oil lamps, it took

Some fussing around to get

The distances right, the right wall

Space for our lighted work.

Magic lanterns lit with oil. Soft, demanding close looking. Gentle, flickering, yellow light. No sound, no wires. Intimate connection and physical closeness to picture. Play, soft place. Excitement, discoveries. Sue’s aesthetic and mine = frisson, vibrations.

It was dark, working by candle

light, but agreed this is a

wonderful, natural way to live

and with time as it is ­

As medium, material, substance.

There seems much synchronicity


every moment

intertwined to bring good










Our slides projected in the

hut on the wall space over

the bench in the kitchen

showed us the magic we

were making, a part of

and encountering. The

Candlelight, lamplight, firelight, starlight. Learning the gentle way of night with no electricity, The soothing time. Night for me is usually the time of anxiety, Fears creep in. Here it is fun!  Transitions between moon-light, Snow-light, candle-light. (Candle)

candle light was dim,

filled with warmth and good

energy…dancing with us.

Circles, triangles, crystals,

colours, drawings came to life!

Reflections multiplied as did

the forms. Geometry speaks

and informs itself and us.













Secret practices — how much will remain

secret from this place?

How much will we tell to others?

How much have we revealed  to each other?

Each day, I spend hours admiring Sue and her ways,

her strength, humour, voice.




Circles, triangles, crystals,

colours, drawings came to life!

Reflections multiplied as did

the forms. Geometry speaks

and informs itself and us.


OX ART: Self-Directed Residency, 2016


Ox On Eigg – Isle Land Life. Psychic Experiments and Site Worship is the Ox Art residency at Sweeney’s Bothy, on the Isle of Eigg, selected and hosted by The Bothy Project. Ox Art are collaborative artist duo Annabel Pettigrew and Rob MacPherson. During our time on Eigg we performed daily psychic experiments using Zenner cards, and read the Tarot. We filmed and captured lots of footage in view to making a film of our time in Eigg, which will be exhibited later in 2016. We explored the island and performed ritualistic respect to the sites we visited.



Isle Land Life, image by Ox, 2016



Black Hole Cave, image by Ox, 2016

Isle Land Life (audio)


Isle Land Life

13.00:57          A black hole of the mass of the sun

33.03:18          About to begin

34.01:04          Low 150 miles South-West

30.01:44          Now for ten years

14.03:26          But there’s another kind of Hawking radiation


13.15:06           Fragile from the storm

04.03:35          Smile a certain sadness

28.00:10          Tears must be cried

32.00:52          To forget

31.01:00           Sun is high

03.02:21           And the Loan Piper walks off into the distance


04.04:48          (Instrumental)


20.00:30          We get so close, near enough to fight

05.02:06          Recognised, if that makes sense

13.06:11            Know the positions of particles

27.05:34           Promise, melt the ice

13.11.:17            But you couldn’t come back to our universe


Isle Land Life, poem and audio by Ox, 2016


Isle Land Life, ‘The Collector’, film short by Ox, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 20.03.03

Isle Land Life, ‘The Collector Suggests The Tarot’, image by Ox, 2016


Isle Land Life, ‘The Collector Deals The Tarot’, image by Ox, 2016


Isle Land Life, ‘Polarised Ponais’, image by Ox, 2016

Isle Land Life, ‘An Sgùrr’, film by Ox, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.14.55

Isle Land Life, ‘An Sgùrr’, film still by Ox, 2016

Ox would like to thank the people of Eigg, and Lucy and Eddie for their tremendous hospitality.

Further credits can be found on oxart-uk.com

All images, audio, text, and moving images remain the intellectual property of the artists.



LISA BECKERS & MARLOES MEIJBURG: Self-Directed Residency, 2015

TIME EXPERIENCE: No clock…no forced Greenwich Time…but inner time experience which gave me concentration, enthusiasm and lucidity.

CHILDHOOD: Exploring the land, playing with soil, plants and light. Freedom, no boundaries, no property. Spending time as a kid.

PIGMENTS: Seize colours from the ground, catch them on camera, collect stones, plants and moss. In search for natural colors, deep and pure.

Marloes Meijburg

Meijburg-Beckers_Lisa and Marloes Bothy

                                       www.lisabeckers.nl / www.marloesmeijburg.com


I’m standing in the night. The Moon is shining and the snow is lying as a blanket over the plants and trees, giving off a warm silent vibe. At first I’m a little bit anxious, standing there alone. I look around me and listen if I hear something. …Nothing… Then I realise there is no reason to be anxious and I feel a calmness come over me.

The Bothy is surrounded by small hills. It feels cosy, I almost forget it’s cold outside. I’m walking back to the cabin, where I can sit by the fire and dream on.

I’m slowing down. Everything is at ease.

Lisa Beckers



Meijburg-Beckers_stone Lisa



Meijburg-Beckers_Landscape Snow



Meijburg-Beckers_heather Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_heather Lisa2

Meijburg-Beckers_Stoneshadow Lisa and MarloesMeijburg-Beckers_DeadDeer













Meijburg-Beckers_Landscape Marloes

Meijburg-Beckers_River near Bothy

Meijburg-Beckers_Landscape near Bothy



I’ve collected soil during long walks, looking for the right colour and texture.  In the Bothy I dedicated my time to make my own pigments with it. With these pigments I’ve made my own paint. My time in Inshriach gave me the opportunity to be outdoors for long hikes and to collect the mood of the forest.

Meijburg-Beckers_Marloes collecting pigments
Meijburg-Beckers_work and moss Marloes

Meijburg-Beckers_Work pigments Marloes

Meijburg-Beckers_textandpigmentsMarloesMeijburg-Beckers_Pigments soil Marloes














My idea for my Artist’s Residency at the Bothy was a research into colour. I normally focus on shapes, but since I’ve started using pigments I’ve begun to realize how important colour is. I duplicated some colours of the Scottish nature as accurate as possible and explored different colour combinations at the Bothy location.

My eyes were constantly drawn to the different shades of colours in the faded and dead heather plants. Or fascinated by grass turning into a greenish blue because it’s lying in the water.

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 4 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_colour 2 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 14 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 13 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 12 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 6 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colour 10 Lisa

Meijburg-Beckers_Colourstudy Lisa

Because of a mutual fascination for nature and the use of natural paints a spontaneous cooperation developed between Lisa and Marloes.

Fascinated by organic forms, Lisa is seeking details that are reflections of the overall.

In search for emptiness, away from turbulence, Marloes is searching for the essence of raw landscapes. What keeps her busy is the question of how nature provides calm and refuge in a stressed society.

Want to see more? www.lisabeckers.nl / www.marloesmeijburg.com


One week after our return to the Netherlands we were selected to take part in a artist in residence in Amsterdam, in which we were interviewed and filmed by the national art and music radio program ‘Opiumop4’. During this week we had the opportunity to develop our projects started in the Bothy. In the following link you can see our process.


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

ELLIS O’CONNOR: Self-Directed Residency, 2017

Window out to the West. I began my journey up to the Isle of Eigg on the 3rd of January. I went to Eigg to walk, to amble through the wild terrains, to think, to be surrounded by wild weather and to make a brand new body of work made up of photographs, prints, drawings and writings in direct response from the atmosphere and surroundings of the Bothy. The first artist residency of the year and sure enough the wild weather did not disappoint


I intended to think about the layers of the place, the formations textures and the geological immensity and presence/ relevance of it through the dramatic surroundings and changes in the light and colour.


Day 1

The long yet impressive 4 hour ferry Journey from Rum to Muck then finally onto Eigg. Passing staggering mountains and jutting basalt rock formations, misty Isles, peaks hidden in fog and the distinctive alluring shape of Eigg casting a luminous shadow in the distance.

As soon as I approached Eigg a calm washes over me, the endless vast horizon of open sea and open landscapes overwhelm yet open your mind. A relationship back to nature and a realisation already of what I want to achieve and focus on with my mind cleared in a serene place. Arrived at the Bothy at 3pm whilst the midwinter January sun hangs low in the sky. Spent the remaining hours of light acquainting myself within the place, settling in within the confines of the wild place. Reading in the final light, wandering around the surrounding land and writing in the darkened hours.

Realising this is me in my element, a connection to a true place, a real natural horizon, an unwavering sense of what is important and my senses already re tuned to the nature and vast mountainous areas around me. Being here, suspended in time will grow stronger as the days go on. The framing of Rums impressive mountains is already changing every minute, light covers and then uncovers the peaks and details on the land. Fog lifting and recapturing my attention of the place.

I’m home.

Moonlight climbing over the cliffs. Quiet, calm, still. The weight of the darkness that surrounds the bothy. Cradles yet immerses itself around me. Being immersed in the deep deep North West. With the night brings silence.


Day 2

Awakening during the night to see the bright moon, with no light pollution comes sublime real light. Awoke early to the dark ridges right outside the window, what an amazing view to arise to.


Slow morning, started working on my artists books and drawing. Rum is not visible this morning, just white out towards the west no distinction between the sea and the sky.

Went on a steep climb up behind the Bothy, surrounded by burnt colours, bracken, and distinct textures flow around me in drastic comparison to the darkened columnar basalt formations that frame this part of Eigg. Film photographs, exploring and plenty of walking around the area.


More drawing outdoors, preparing paper and drawing outside. Rum appears from out of the fog and the light intently captures me. Forcing myself to sit still and just look at the overwhelming surroundings.

Sit still and be.

An intense heightened feeling of sensing something between me and the landscape. We are all made up of the same rhythms of nature. Getting away from society and civilisation as such to a real place, untouched land, suspended in time. Reading more and more about Eigg and its fascinating history, the folklore and history embedded so deeply into the place, affecting how I see and interact with the Island. Sweeney was a man who was turning into a bird, the relevance of Sweeney’s Bothy and the geological space around it.

Feeling at ease with myself and the place where I am, your mind is re awakened and overwhelmed in places like this that forces you and trains you to not think about anything else other than what matters and being within the place.

Wide horizons – widens mind.


Day 3

Fogginess, the weather bounds me into the Bothy today, relentless hail, gale force winds, and very wild North West weather. A day of reading, writing and drawing surrounded by the dim faded light outside.


Day 4

Awoke to clear skies. Can see the dramatic peaks of mountainous Rum once again. The snow lies on the mountains and the sun is streaming through the clouds.

Taking photos of the surrounding area of the Bothy, the colours are so bright and vivid. As soon as the light changes even for a second, it is almost as though there has been a light switched off and everything turns into a misty grey colour. Everything then becomes dark and brooding. Landscapes altered every second by light.


Started the long walk up to the Tulim part of the Island to study the basalt rock formations and geological forms of the Island. Such a calm and clear day. Lots of abandoned crofts, it’s amazing to think that for such a small Island there is so much history to it. Basalt columns and formations everywhere.

Made it up to the winding path of the Northern tip of the Island. Overwhelming views out to the Skye Cuillin, Canna and Rum, the sea a vivid crystal blue colour, powerful wind surrounds me but a clear day calls to walk.

Jagged cliffs and plateaus that jut out of the sea, scrambled down the terrains and found many bright textured coloured rocks. Walked around the ridges and areas that are very exposed, finding intricate patterns on every part of this land. Treaded softly through the winding path down to the Singing Sands and spent hours walking through the passages of the cliffs and caves. A hail storm cane and went, the low hanging sun streamed back through the clouds and dramatically altered the detail and texture of the patterns that invade this coast line.


Headed back to the Bothy capturing more parts and new ways of seeing the island on the way, everything can look different at any second here. It’s fascinating how well you can connect with the land and see how quick it changes boldly when there is nothing in the form of materialised masses in the way.


The sun already went way down and it’s getting close to dark at 4pm. Want to capture the darkened skies against the mountains and see a different variation of Eigg. I find the same spot that comforts me every, right up the winding path at the back of the Bothy. I go there nearly every day to sit still and look out to the horizon, a calming rhythm that settles in me. Eigg seems to have everything in abundance of geological beauty. Drawing and reading into the late night.

Cocooned in by the darkness outside.


Day 5

Howling winds last night.

Awoke many a time to hail stones and 100 mph winds rushing over my space. There’s something quite calming being sheltered amongst all of it though. Today the weather warnings of more wild weather come and go. Today has the kind of wind that you can barely walk in. Started the day off listening to the noises outside rattling the secure place. No Rum today, no faint glimpse of anything out there, difficult to decipher between the sky and sea when all is so white.

A lot of reading and drawing today looking out the window, sheltered in within the confines of the dim light.



Was invited to the local singing group tonight, went along and we sang Hebridean songs that connect with the land around us. The sky is so clear tonight and on the way home amidst the howling winds, I can see the stars vividly and the huge lightning bolts brighten up the sky. Walking back to the comfort of the Bothy. The small warm beacon against this very dark backdrop. Content and happy to be in this place, working late into the night, looking out to nothing but black.


Day 6

Weather warnings nonstop. The winds and hail batter against me and I realise how wild these Islands can be.


It eased off for a while so I took full advantage of the clear skies and white dusting on the mountain ridges and the ground. Took a long walk along to Laig Bay in the cold still of the morning. The windy sand dunes and then the sun came out as I soon as I arrived. Grey calm sands, Rum completely revealed, small secret cottages hidden down here clinging onto the coast. Walked along the whole bay and revelled in the vivid colours of my surroundings, calm thoughts, sitting on driftwood capturing the sea.

Walked the whole length of the island down to Kildonnan. Grassy meadows, sunlit piercing the lower part of the land, the pier in the distance and the crashing shoreline up ahead. Followed the sheep tracks and white washed cottages to the burial mound and ruined church where I feel completely connected to the history of this place, a lone being amidst this symbolic presence of the important land that has stayed true here without intervention.

I feel on a different level of time here, nature controls everything. I then proceed to walk back and climb the God’s finger ridge, the Jurassic cliffs and oppressing forms surround me.

Chatting to locals of the impressive stories of sea journeys around this Island and challenging yet a beautiful dedication to this place.

The dark came in quick and so I read for a long time into the night. From 4pm here you see nothing but the backdrop of the surrounding ridges and immense shadows of Rum in the distance. Listening to the rumblings from the harsh weather outside, thunder and lightning and high winds. Finding comfort within here and enjoying the wild weather, nature in full force, you feel somewhat disconnected with the business in the city life.


What will come of the rest of the week?


Day 7  

A day of uncertainty. I have been told the Ferry will come today which I can go on and leave my residency a day early or take a chance and stay however bad the weather will get.

I choose to stay. I would much rather be here for longer than leave early. I am already settled into Island time.

The whole place is shaking, hail stones rattling everywhere and the wind throws you in every direction. How immense it is and how real it is. On a wild day I choose to visit the caves, Massacre Cave to be precise. A haunting place, a place that is covered in history, yet the weather restrains me from entering as the stormy seas advance in quick. The geological forms of the exposed rocks and shoreline around this area are very impressive, cradled against the unforgiving seas. The ferry comes in and I choose to stay I want to get to know the place further.

I walked through the forest surrounding Galmisdale and headed back up towards Cleadale a stormy walk, the rain battering against me. I work late and tuck myself in waiting for the storms to come.

My natural instincts are thriving here.

The night came in very quickly again and I had my last night in the Bothy with the wildest weather yet and it is the most peaceful I have ever felt. Completely isolated from outside elements, from outside distractions, just a complete focus on my art, my writings, my quiet reflective thoughts and natural alignment with this life. Unware of the outside world and outside time.


The storm is due to get worse overnight yet this heightened exposure to the elements comforts me, a realisation of the true natural land and the way in which we truly are controlled by nature itself. I have been thinking a lot about the ecology of time here upon reading Soil and Soul and reflecting on the way in which we as humans need to come back if only for a while now and then to reflect, to engage with our primal instincts and to only be with the natural world, no connection to manmade materials of technology. It is here where we truly thrive.

Everywhere there is horizons and vast Jurassic basaltic mountainous areas and it is here that is real.


I am on a different level of time here and everything is measured differently. No pressures as it all relies on the weather and outside forces. I will miss the howling winds and the distant sounds of the waterfall in the black light not so far from where I stand.


Day 8 and days 9, 10, 11 – longer than expected.

The day I am due to leave yet I don’t. I don’t end up leaving the Isle of Eigg until the 13th of January. 4 more days longer than I was supposed to be here. But that’s what happens when you visit an Island in the mid-winter harsh climate of the west of Scotland, you go with the knowing in the back of your head that you can’t predict the weather, it inevitably controls what you do and I enjoy that, it is real that way.

The ferries were cancelled until Tuesday and so I had longer to connect with Eigg and deepen my knowledge of the place and work within it.

I move into the Cleasdale Bothy to make way for Bobby who arrived on the Friday. I spent the last few days on Eigg anticipating when I would leave but not wanting to leave, this Island grabs hold of you when you are here for longer than a few days. A way of life that comes very easily to me.

I’m cut off here from existential matters. When the sun glows on Eigg and the blue crystal waters of the sea light up the surroundings you know you’re in a special place. Do I feel like I’m missing out on things in my ‘otherworld’ back in the business of it all, no I do not. This is my real world too, I have disconnected and reconnected with what matters and what is important.

I have for the next few days another Bothy with four windows which frame every part of the Island I have captured, and connected with. From the front is the lookout to Rum, the framing of the crofting land, to the right of me is the Jurassic cliffs and the ridges, the back window frames the God’s finger look out perfectly with the cascades of the waterfall rising from the wind not falling downwards and to the left I find myself in awe still at the misty framing of the Sgurr, the distinctive form standing defiant in the distance.

I leave on the Tuesday when the weather settles, 11 days on the Island, longer than expected but on the Ferry back over to the mainland I find myself thinking I have to spend longer here. I have connected with this place in a way I have never connected with an Island before, walking all over, learning how to slow down and leave out all existential matters; just be here present in the place and matter.


Against the weather warnings, and the wild west coast, I found comfort and sanctuary within the place, mentally and physically.

I will forever remember that window out to the west.



Ellis O’Connor