When we arrived at this cottage in which we now live, we found it was better insulated than any home we had ever lived in – which is excellent as we live half way up a mountain. It used to be a ‘bothy’ a type of building we knew nothing about. Anyone who has hiked around rural areas will know the term, but we had mostly walked around shopping malls and streets of cities.
The bothy which preceded our cottage was used for the shepherd to treat sheep away from the main steading, particularly for lambing. Attached to the bothy is a pen to control sheep. Although the bothy had been knocked down and rebuilt as a 2 room cottage, the pen remained in use by the local shepherd until the new landowner sold all the sheep last year. Lambing last year was particularly intense and we were more or less trapped in our cottage, surrounded by sheep and a very busy shepherd dealing with lambs being born every minute or so. He worked solidly and saved many lambs which might have been stillborn but for his swift action and competent manner. Although we had to keep out of his way (and his marvellous collie helper) we saw all the action like a documentary on good shepherding. Previous shepherds working on the estate had never been as thorough or as humane.
9000 years ago a population of 8000 lived in one of the oldest villages known to archaeologists, in Çatalhöyük, Anatolia, Turkey. The Neolithic people lived there for at least 1000 years. They did not have roads or lanes and their four walled homes were pressed up against each other. They farmed 7 miles away from their homes and did not seem to understand how to construct doors or windows, but they were weavers who could create striped fabric. They adorned their walls with high art and, since discovered in 1965, the place attracts many tourists.
Here, it is a 20 mile round trip to the nearest village where the population is around 800 souls. The village was built as a clearance village in the 1700s to create a village of weavers for the growing textile industry. It was built on a flood plain like the Çatalhöyük village. When the river rises and flooding ensues it causes havoc, despite work to build defenses. I wonder how the people of Çatalhöyük managed. I am sure humans then and now are not that different. When Çatalhöyük was discovered, the Scottish Borders had a thriving textile industry. Perhaps there is a link with the Middle Eastern ancestors bridging back over those 9000 years to those weavers.