Scottish bothies art project – read it or use it
An innovative Scottish initiative that combines art and the mountains has been launched. Over a year, a newsprint publication of artworks will be left at 120 remote but unidentified shelters across the UK, Iceland and the Alps. I wrote about the project in my Sunday Mail column.
Walkers will be able to view one of 200 special 66-page publications by chancing upon them at a mountain bothy or hut. If they need to use it for other purposes, such as lighting a fire, then that’s fine, too.
Shelter Stone – The Artist and the Mountain project is partnership between an artists’ institution, The Strict Nature Reserve, and The Mountain Bothies Association (MBA).
Volunteers are helping to deliver the initiative until the summer of 2018, after it was revealed to the public at The Shelter Stone, Loch Avon, in the Cairngorms National Park.
More about Shelter Stone
The colour publication is on newsprint that is made from 70 per cent recycled midge trap waste. It features contributions by almost 50 artists and writers, all of whom have a fascination with the mountain landscape.
The artists were selected by Eddie Summerton, warden of The Strict Nature Reserve, and the writers were chosen by Scottish poet John Glenday.
Eddie, who is also an artist and part-time lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, said: “There are two main aspects to the project publication.
“The first is the art, which acts as a reference to our understanding of our relationship with the mountain landscape.
“Secondly, and as importantly, the newsprint nature of the publication means it can also become a survivalist tool for the walker or climber.
John’s poetry is also part of the booklet. He said “I think this publication is a great idea because literature and the visual arts complement each other so well.
“The project is also a great advertisement for the magnificent beauty and emptiness of the Scottish landscape.
“And it represents a deserved nod to the wonderful Mountain Bothies Association, which offer free overnight accommodation with some of the best views possible.”
He is delighted by the “survivalist tool” aspect. John said: “As a writer, I’m weary of folk asking me what use poetry has in the modern world.
“Now I can tell them it’s for scrunching up and lighting the fire, or stuffing into sodden walking boots at the end of the day, or cramming under the door to keep out the rain.
“Best of all, it’s for reading the stories, relishing the artwork and then sitting back and enjoying the most exclusive and tasteful toilet tissue in the British Isles.”
Where are the art booklets?
So far, there have been sightings of the booklets in five Scottish locations, including Bob Scott’s bothy and the Hutchison Memorial Hut, both in the Cairngorms, Invermallie Bothy and Oban bothy in the west Highlands and Corrour bothy, Aberdeenshire.
Another location has been reported by a walker as Cae Amos bothy in Wales.
Eddie said: “There are many more of the publications out there but we are relying on people to tell us if they have come across one.”
For people who are unable to access the remote bothy locations, an exhibition of the publication will be presented as part of the Dundee Mountain Film Festival next month.
The public can visit the Visual Research Centre in Dundee Contemporary Arts at the city’s university from November 23 to 25.
At the end of the project, a publication will be presented at Edinburgh Festival as part of an exhibition of the Shelter Stone – The Artist and The Mountain.