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Self sufficient in the woods

18-07-2013 | In January 2013 the Carbeth Hutters Community Company (CHCC) achieved the first hutting community buyout in the UK. The historic deal secured the future for the owners of the 146 huts. The buy-out marked the end of a long struggle between the estate owner and the community of hutters and paved the way to real self-sufficiency.

Morven Gregor, chair of CHCC said "Triodos Bank funding made the community buy-out of hutting lands at Carbeth possible.  Quite simply, without Triodos we wouldn't be where we are now. The future of hutting is now in our hands".


"The future of hutting is now in our hands".

Morven Gregor, chair of CHCC

Triodos Bank's relationship with Carbeth developed over a number of years. When the CHCC entered into an option agreement with the estate owner in 2010 to manage the hutting areas and buy within three years, the journey began. As the hutters set about working through the many requirements to take on the responsibility of community ownership, Triodos set about understanding the social, cultural and environmental benefits of hutting. Morven explains, "the walk-round meetings and cups of tea in huts helped Triodos build a picture of us, and also made us feel at ease, as if we mattered to Triodos."

Living lightly

Hutting has been described as low impact living  - a way of life which in contrast to conventional urban living is simpler, closer to nature, smaller in scale and utilises less energy, space and materials. The tradition at Carbeth stems from an early 20th century working class movement when landowners close to industrial cities allowed tents to be erected and subsequently small wooden huts to be built on their land for occasional recreational use. Never before though have the hut owners enjoyed the security of a 20-year lease that this community buy-out affords. They are now in charge of their own destiny.

Escaping the everyday

Generations of Glasgow families have benefited from this simple life outdoors. Escaping their everyday struggles to experience nature and fresh air. To live off the land, to enjoy the free food from the forest, to reawaken skills and crafts to build and repair their huts, to watch their children play safely in the natural playground, to share, to feel part of a community. Huts are not second homes for affluent people. They are basic wooden recreational dwellings, affordable to people who seek to be a part of an ethical and sustainable community.

Each hut at Carbeth is different and each owner's pride in the heritage of their hut is measurable.  With the security of their new twenty  year lease agreements, owners can now make the changes and improvements which have been on hold for so long and make Carbeth a better place to pass on to future generations.

Morven concludes "'our relationship with Triodos Bank is for the long-term. I'm not sure if any other bank would have been interested in Carbeth. Even the former landowner is on record as saying how impressed he was with Triodos' support in the current economic climate".

The Carbeth Hutters community has a vibrant future. No more uncertainty. The children's hopes that their children and their children's children will be able to come to Carbeth is assured. They too will be lucky enough to live this lighter life.


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