Monday, 13 September 2010

Gairnhill Hooverville.

Over the summer we couldn't help but notice the proliferation of rough shelters in the woods around Aberdeen. Back in the spring we first noticed a young couple gathering switches in the West Woods of Craibstone - further along, we came across their nearly-complete drum-shaped wickiup complete with food supplies and sleeping bags. We didn't really think very much about it at the time - if anything, we thought it was quite romantic. We didn't photograph it, as it was clearly inhabited.

However, throughout the summer, we've seen more and more evidence of people actually living in the woods. These rough shelters are springing up in Clinterty Woods, Tollohill and most notably Gairnhill and Countesswells Wood, where we've noticed about a dozen in various stages of construction and habitation.

This one's unfinished

This put us in mind of the "Counteswells Hermit" as documented by the Aberdeen Tramps and Ither Weel Kent Fowk blog. We've not noticed this fella in a while - we did often see him in the past - from time to time he would walk past the front window of our studio in fabulous downtown upscale Pitmuxton but we can't remember having seen him any time in the last few years. We naturally worry that his outdoors lifestyle has led to his natural demise.

Are these wigwams, tepees and lean-to's a conscious artistic homage to the memory of the Counteswells Hermit? Are they trysting-hideouts for romantic young couples who lack a private space of their own, being priced out of property to buy or even lease? Or are they the first foundations of our own Aberdeen Hooverville? We know that the non-oil and gas economy's bad - but it's surely not that bad. Or is it?

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