An Tearman (Gaelic for ‘a place of sanctuary’) is located on the Isle of Bute. Set high on a hill overlooking the Firth of Clyde and the Ayrshire hills, it sits in a secluded position, yet offers a wide and open view of the world beyond. Comprising five beautiful acres of open lawn, walled gardens, big trees, a large pond, there are plenty of options for visitors and residents to find an unobtrusive spot for gathering in a group as well as for individual retreat.
Here they may commune with some of the earlier dwellers - the house martins, returning year after year to their homes beneath the eaves; the pipistrelle bats flitting silently through the air of a summer’s evening; and the roe deer of course, so beautiful, graceful and elegant, we feel blessed by their presence despite their appetite for fresh young rosebuds. These are just a small selection of the beings who share our home on the hill.
Set in these rich and peaceful surroundings stands a three-storey Victorian house, encompassing three flats, six sizeable bedrooms, a large kitchen, an office space, and three warm communal areas, including a dining room with a connected fireside lounge, and a very special meeting area, designed for workshops, circle counsel, meditation and yoga, which the children have named the ‘Om Room’.
When the wider community gathers there is the option of camping, and additional bedrooms will be available in due course, pending further restoration. We are also looking into building yurts or retreat huts and perhaps a tree house or two, peaceful havens close to nature.
We are looking into options for joint ownership, possibly as a housing co-operative, and the house lends itself well to becoming either a communal household, or to division into a number of flats with a communal area. We are looking for people ready to understand and engage in our process, people with a shared sense of adventure, open to self-discovery, to respect and support of others, to exploring alternatives and with the consciousness, skills and energy to bring our Vision into being.
Whichever way the resident community organises itself, at its heart is a cosy hearth where homefires burn during colder times, offering a warm glow to relaxed conversation or discussion, to curling up with a good book, to music and laughter for celebration or just for the love of it. The kitchen is well laid out to cater for a good number of people, or potentially to develop a food-related enterprise, herbalism etc. The dining room can comfortably accommodate around 20 people for a meal and in-between meal times it has proved to be a useful area for arts and crafts. The Om room is reserved in the early mornings for meditation, yoga etc. At other times it becomes a wonderful space for circle gatherings as well as for workshops on a variety of subjects from dance to personal development to seasonal celebration.
Our aim is to model life sustaining community, balancing self-reliance with individual and joint enterprise reaching out beyond our boundaries. We hope to cover most of our needs in-house or through a reciprocal arrangement with individuals in the wider community, whether working on the buildings, helping with the catering for gatherings or general domestic chores.
A considerable amount of restoration has already been done in the main house and work has started on the cottage, which still has substantial needs before approaching the standard we require. There is still plenty of scope for improvements, also perhaps alterations to accommodate the needs of the community, and of course ongoing maintenance. People with building skills are therefore particularly welcome, as well as anyone willing to wield a paintbrush or learn a new skill. You can see some examples below of improvements we have already achieved.
The main rooms were basically sound, although a great deal of redecorating was required. Also, a massive job sanding and revarnishing the floor.
Getting there, with a little help from eBay!