First published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine on 27th Feb 2016
He’s the lighthouse keeper, the sheep farmer, the firefighter, the air-traffic controller… We try to keep up with Billy Muir, the pensioner who almost single-handedly keeps the tiny island economy of North Ronaldsay afloat.
Three of us are sitting at the kitchen table at Billy and Isobel Muir’s farmhouse on North Ronaldsay: Robert the photographer, me, and Billy Muir. His wife Isabel is making lunch.
First published in BA High Life Magazine, Feb 2016.
Occupying 20,000 square feet of an abandoned limestone mine in Pennsylvania are state secrets, classified documents and the world’s greatest photographs. Bella Bathurst is granted access to the Corbis film archive, holder of the moments that defined a nation.
It isn’t until you get to its car park that you realise the Corbis film preservation facility is not your ordinary photo archive.
First published in the Observer, 27th December 2015
It’s surprising how little freedom we have to walk this land. Now we have more and we must use it responsibly.
‘They sent some bugger up from the parish council to talk about footpaths,’ said Pat. Several hours afterwards, he was still blazing with indignation. Together with his wife Lesley, Pat runs a 150-acre hill farm on the border with Wales.
First published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine, 4th Oct 2014
Long hours, intense physical labour, low pay and foxes in the hen house: who’d be a farmer today? A growing number, it seems. We enters a brave new world of drone tractors and designer sheep.
At the Three Counties show, the shearing competition is in full swing. Tucked into one corner of the vast showground is a stage into which are fitted six little booths like the starting gates on a racecourse.
Observer Magazine, Sunday 6th September 2015
The island of Tiree, off the west coast of Scotland, is windswept and treeless. But venture there in August and you will bump into famous artists, Britain’s best chefs and a slew of politicians. Bella Bathurst heads to the smart set’s Hebridean hideaway.
The first rule of Tiree is that no-one talks about Tiree. Ever. It just doesn’t happen. Nobody talks about it so it doesn’t exist. An island 18 kilometres long with 650 inhabitants completely dematerialises.
First published in the Observer, 14th June 2015
Counting Penguins and Commuting to Antarctica: Global warming as seen through the life of a singular man.
I first met Ron Naveen in the dining room of an Antarctic cruise vessel. We were queueing for food, though since we’d reached the half-way point in one of the world’s most bad-tempered stretches of sea, and since the plates of ham and salad kept sloping 20 degrees to the right, the queue wasn’t particularly long.
Published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine on 9th May 2014
It’s the young who will inherit the fallout from Scotland’s independence vote. So what do they want? Bella Bathurst travels from the lowlands to the islands, and finds a nation on a knife edge
Architecturally, the back of the Plaza shopping centre in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes owes a lot to Guantanamo Bay.
Ingleby Gallery Exhibition Catalogue, September 2014
In September 2014, the Ingleby Gallery held an exhibition of Thomas Joshua Cooper’s most recent photographs. I spent an astonishing couple of days with him at his studio in Glasgow and on the road in the Borders watching him work. The result is this profile
This is the original version of a piece published in the Observer Magazine on 4th March 2012
As wild boar have returned to Britain, our attitudes to them have grown increasingly capricious. Bella Bathurst investigates.
There have been storms recently in Scotland, so at first the January drive up the stone road to Bamff House seems normal. Beyond the little lodge are signs of fresh damage