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  • Writer's pictureFraser Murdoch

The Dunearn Bothy

Updated: May 7, 2022


" from the Scots Gaelic language, Dùn Éireann meaning "Hill(fort) ...".


Upon the hill on Dunearn Farm, Burntisland, Scotland (a mixed rural business), sits a bothy within a Walled Garden below the cottage. It was built in the 2010s as a weekend project which was part of a general passtime for some mates to get their hands dirty at their pal's family farm.

During this time, I lent a hand to the project managers Roderick "Roddy" Low and Josh Ahmed - along with Gavin Welsh, Tyrone Gregory among others. Mostly, lending a lens - capturing time lapses and the guys at work, while bolting the odd step to the telegraph poles that would eventually take people into the Walled Garden from the driveway above.

One of the most memorable moments during the build was heading over from Kirkcaldy to the help with the latter stages of the build of the stairs. Roddy and Josh needed to put two telegraph poles at the bottom - so that they could complete the last steps. Roddy then picked up a spade and forced it into the ground, first with his arms before kicking it with his foot. As the spade sliced the soil and turf, Roddy could feel it hit something. He then proceeded to dig and uncover what was beneath. It was then that Roddy put his hand in the hole to pull out four bricks. Josh wiped the remaining soil off of the bricks and we scoffed as we realised what it read.



Roddy went to Facebook to post: “When your old school pal Fraser from Kirkcaldy comes to help on the farm at the weekend and you unearth some 'Fraser' bricks from Kirkcaldy. #Priceless

In Spring 2019, opportunities were hard to come by for corporate creative work. I was down to my last pennies trying to drum up more work. My time was also running thin trying to focus on too many of my options and creative ambitions. So, I wrote a priority list. If I was going to do one thing with my time, what would that be?

What was most important to me?

The answer was: my personal projects. Specifically Utapia. Tubgate and other ideas were also needing a lot more development, and potentially realisation - but, after this if possible.

That's when I got in touch with Roddy to see if I could use the vacant bothy as a getaway to focus on some writing and development work. Roddy was more than happy to get the bothy put to good use.

The fire was then set and a kettle and toaster were brought in and I cracked on with writing. As the weather improved, the view of Edinburgh over the countryside and the Firth of Forth became clearer, and I was even able to spend some time on the decking in the sunshine.

It was a great space and a lot of work was achieved. 150,000 first draft words over two books, as well as deeper ideas around socioeconomics and human nature. It was time well spent, but the money was drying up big time.

That's when I was given the opportunity to get back to full-time work in visual effects and overtime animation, and the need and want to make money took over. It was far less enjoyable, but we always tend to need the stuff.

I have visited for whisky by the fire since then and hope to visit a lot more often again.

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