How demand for handmade traditional shepherd's huts has seen one man's business booming
A talented craftsman who builds shepherd's huts has seen a boom in interest due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dad-of-one Jack Roots, 61, worked as a cabinet maker before he decided to branch into making shepherd's huts, which are sold for around £20,000 each.
Based on ancient agricultural traditions, Jack was one of the first people in Scotland to make them and has transported huts to customers down south and up north in the Highlands.
He only makes four a year, and works by himself.
Customers have bought the shepherd's huts for uses as diverse as therapy rooms, home offices or somewhere to relax in the garden.
Made from cedar wood, the huts take three months to build - and Jack has no intention of scaling up his business which he started in 2018.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a boom in interest, including the possibility of using huts as wedding venues - or putting them on his smallholding in Bo'ness, and renting them out for staycations.
Talented Jack builds furniture for some customers who request it, and has fulfilled design requests including brightly painted interiors and underfloor heating.
Jack said: "I'm all about quality, not quantity, I only sell a few a year.
"I'm a one-man-band, they take three months to build so the most I can knock out is four - and I am happy with that.
"The company is going to stay personal and small because I enjoy the craft.
"When you employ people it changes what you do.
"Working out what the person needs is the key thing.
"They're for everyone to enjoy.
"They can be a garden room, a studio, a home office, or therapy space.
"It's one of those things people look at and think 'wow that's brilliant'.
"It's all about pleasure and enjoyment in the garden - it's basically a beautiful room to relax outdoors.
"I'm one of the first in Scotland to do it."
‘Like making a box’
The huts can vary in size depending upon requests, but the standard size is two meters by four meters across and 15 feet in length.
The huts are built and sold at Blackness Castle, Linlithgow, West Lothian, a location where Outlander is filmed.
Jack described building a hut as like making a box.
He added: "I came across images of shepherd's huts and as soon as I saw them I thought, I'm giving that a try.
"I make them by hand. I have a workshop, table saws, jointers the full kit.
"It's the same as making a small box, it's just scaled up.
"What I like about making them is it's a mix of joiner and cabinet making."
A recent inquiry about using one of the huts as a wedding venue has made Jack reconsider selling the huts as holiday destinations.
He said: "There was a boom in interest due to Covid.
"The number of enquiries went up.
"I'm talking to someone now about using one as a wedding venue, to take their vows under.
"There's a certain romance in them, a mystical quality, so I can see why people would like to exchange nuptials in them.
"I've spoken to a lot of people about renting the huts out as Airbnb's - it's a strong possibility that's the route I'll go down."