Take Yourself Out of Your Usual Structure


Anna McLaughlan


The Bothy Project (Edinburgh, 2019)



This book is a response to a programme of winter residencies at The Bothy Project’s Inshriach Bothy in the Cairngorms. Siân Robinson Davies, Sarah Rose, Anna McLaughlan and I each spent a week at the bothy during February 2019, and developed a set of texts based on our experience of the surrounding landscape.

My contribution to the collection, The Residency, is a horror story based on the book, The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui by Affleck Gray. Gray was a mountaineer and historian, who gathered together dozens of accounts relating to evidence of, or even direct encounters with, the eponymous abominable snowman that is said to haunt the Cairngorms’ highest peak. My story fuses some of these accounts with fictional encounters developed out of research into the ownership of various estates near to the one on which the bothy is situated. My residency took place at a time when the Brexit ‘debate’ was particularly toxic, and the story was written as a means to address ideas around democracy and how the land might resist any attempts to claim or own it.