In his most recent project, Scottish photographer Richard Gaston has focused his lens on the bothy built in the Cairngorms by Queen Victoria in 1868—‘Glas-allt-Sheil’ is a poetic exploration of seasonal change and Scottish culture.
Bothies are most often defined as a small hut or cottage, a basic shelter or refuge commonly found in the remote and mountainous areas of Scotland, Norway, and England. ‘Glas-allt-Sheil’ focuses on a resplendent royal bothy that—whilst humble in neither size nor ornamentation—was designed as a place of refuge. Queen Victoria named the bothy ‘Glassalt’, which translates to ‘widow’s house’, here she determined to escape following the death of her husband Albert, Prince Consort. Situated on the waters of Loch Muick in the Balmoral Estate in the Scottish Highlands, the bothy, and its spectacular location have been captured over summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Achieved by returning to the same location once each season, Gaston’s series illustrates the majesty of nature and the dramatic change that weather renders upon it. Whilst ‘Glass-allt-Sheil’ might appear to focus solely on landscape—beyond the Highland setting its subject matter is determinedly Scottish, “It focuses on a subject which identifies a lot about Scotland”, Gaston explains, “bothy culture, moody weather, and the famous Munro, Lochnagar as a backdrop.”