Hound Point Battery, Dalmeny Estate, Edinburgh
The concrete bunker seemed like a great place to leave our gear as we foraged the windy hillside for materials.
BP run a vast tanker terminal in the estuary and pipe oil to the nearby fuel depot at Dalmeny. Dalgety Bay can be seen across the water which is also radio-active! The dramatic crossings, sandy beaches and thick forests can’t really mask this industrial anarchy. The new forth crossing will add to the visual mayhem.
Our 3-person hut design was a rhombus, pyramidal structure with 3 internal sleeping platforms. It felt like quite an ambitious and irregular build which was conceived using architectural 3d modelling software. It was a series of triangular planes which maintained a central walkway with plenty head-room.
We scoured the forest for longer poles which would form the main structure. The forest was busy with walkers and cyclists who all stopped to stare at our foraging exploits in total bewilderment.
We lashed some branches together using bark and some biodegradable garden twine. Richard was continually unsure where the pieces should be lashed together. I said he should refer to the detailed 3d plan I had already given him (which I knew lay crumpled in the foot-well of his car). He was also quite keen to close off the entrance door with a wall of timber slats. I suggested he was bonkers and that an entrance to the hut would be a desirable feature!
The basic hut form was erected in only a few hours and the sleeping platforms were bound in place soon after. We drove short posts into the earth beneath each sleeping platform to shorten the unsupported spans which made these thin beams structurally sound.
We used some spindly ferns which carpeted the forest as our roofing material. We spent an hour bundling up vast bails of the foliage which had great façade coverage. We had completed the first half of the outer façade in no time and decided to walk back to town in search of some dinner.
Richard had suffered from terrible hay fever all day (I made many jokes suggesting he shouldn’t cry about it…) His eyes were badly swollen and streaming. It was winter with no flowering plants around? The ferns seemed to release some kind of spore from their underside as we picked them although they are apparently “sneeze-free” with no pollen?
In Slavic folklore, ferns are believed to bloom once a year, during the ‘Ivan Kupala’ night. Although alleged to be exceedingly difficult to find, anyone who sees a "fern flower" is thought to be guaranteed to be happy and rich for the rest of their life. Whatever it was - the pollen count was high and Richard cried about it all day.
The hut was soon complete and we built a great campfire just outside the entrance with some nearby dry wood. It was around 2am when we retired to our sleeping platforms. I was delighted with the engineering aspect of the build. From the outside it just looked like an elongated tepee, but inside it had a central walkway flanked by sleeping platforms with one cocooned bed platform at the far end.