Farr Conversations

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Landscape & (Re)Settlement

Wild land or our land: Can a landscape scattered with the remains of thousands of years of human habitation and cultivation be considered ‘wild’; and how might its successful resettlement be realised?

The round-back cottages clung to the earth like long animals whose folded heads were always to the mountain. Lying thus to the slopes they were part of the rhythm of the land itself...There were little herds of these cottages at long intervals, and every now and then a cottage by itself like a wandered beast...
— Neil Gunn (Butcher’s Broom)

In Scotland, scatterings of small informally planned townships, perhaps best described by the Gaelic word ‘clachan’, once supported vibrant communities with a rich heritage and culture across much of the mountainous highlands. However this now sparsely populated landscape has become commonly regarded as a romanticised ‘wilderness’. By studying the clachan as a typology, might its characteristics be reinterpreted in order to inform and legitimise future resettlement?