17 Jun 2013 by Ean Parsons
Our market research took us recently to North Uist in the Outer Hebrides off the North West coast of Scotland. Whilst some of our party
seemed more interested in sightings of Corncraikes or Golden Eagles others took our work seriously and scoured the landscape for new
and used 20ft containers, and they weren’t disappointed. Wherever we turned we saw a container tucked behind a cottage or out in the dramatic landscape. Whilst security is always and issue - losing a valuable piece of equipment in these parts is much more a pain than usual because of the difficulty of sourcing a replacement - protection against the elements is a serious priority and what could be better than a shipping container. Evidence of how severe the Atlantic winds can be lies in the fact that many containers are secured to the ground by ropes and wires to prevent them blowing away in storms. The desire to conserve the unique culture and heritage of these remote islands is supported by the EU and it is apparent grants are available for buildings and projects. This has brought converted containers from 30ft and 40ft units as well as 20fts into play for uses such as shop extensions and art galleries.
North Uist is a harsh environment which requires practical solutions and the shipping container fits the bill very well. Our container spotters soon became converted to peering through binoculars for a glimpse of a white tailed eagle or corn bunting but our birders were also seen noting the finer points of the somewhat less rare humble 20ft container!