August 24th 2009, I made my first visit to Black Middens Bastle House. I was lucky with the weather and managed to spend three happy hours taking photographs and colour readings (with my new gizmo, the Pantone Colour Cue), before the rain started. Other than the two walkers I met in the car park, I had a swallow and her newly fledged chick for company, along with a few sheep and some pied wagtails. The sounds in the landscape were a mixture of the leaves of the nearby sliver birch trees rustling in the breeze, the rush of Tarset Burn and the low rumbling of the RAF jet planes on exercise in the area.
The bastle house looks out over an area of forest which is beginning to be logged, I think what I'd like to do on my next visit is approach it from the hillside opposite, walking down through the recently felled woodland on the brow of Sidwood back towards Tarset Burn. The building has been tastefully restored to allow public access up the stone steps on the front of the bastle onto a platform on the first floor. This gives a great over view of the interior, which is open to the elements due to the absence of a roof.
I am interested in the numerous openings and alcoves in the walls, be they windows or spaces where roof joists used to sit. I'd like to come back with a tape measure and perhaps use some of the proportions of the bastle to inform my work. In the meantime I'm just letting my first experiences of the building and the landscape that surrounds it swim around in my head.