In August we received an invitation from Jacky Macpherson to visit VUK, the Homestead region for the VUK store. Designed by Jacky along with Terry Fotherington and Ines Lauria, the region has been going through a period of development and refinement; on our first visit, there was a small island on its eastern side providing a private space, presumably for region holder and VUK store owner Mr. Vuk. However, on returning in mid-September, this small island had been removed – although it was still showing on the map, suggesting the smaller island has only recently been removed, and ban lines were still in place around the parcel.
The departure of this island (which may only be temporary) means the majority of the region is given over to a single large and rocky island surrounded by a single beach and foreshore. Rising like the shell of a tortoise, the crown of the hill is the location for the VUK store. However, this is no gleaming or fancy store; the location is clearly a former industrial area, and the store sits within the remnants of what looks to have been a factory building. Its roof gone, the walls broken and windows without glass, the building is a place where nature is slowly proclaiming her returning place inside.
Outside of the factory walls is further detritus of human life: the piled ruins of cars and trucks, one of which looks to have become a makeshift shelter for someone. A path winds down the western cliffs from the store to reach what appears to be a once-tidal bay the sea has deserted. The hulk of a fishing boat lies toppled on the grey shore, apparently abandoned well before the sea deserted the shingle, leaving it to become a backdrop for a makeshift bar and DJ area.
More flotsam and jetsam is littered across the bay – a half-buried container, the wreck of an ancient jeep, a shanty hut and makeshift seating area, all watched over by the bulk of a rusting cable car station brooding under the plaintive cry of gulls and assorted critters. However, it’s unlikely the cars that may have once run along the cables to and from the tower ever carried tourists; more likely they carried material for the hilltop factory.
It is this element of careworn age and of life having largely moved on from the setting that gives the region its considerable character – and offers a lot of discover.
From the bay on the west side, it is possible to circumnavigate the lower reach of the island. This will take you past more of the island’s little scenes and points of interest: camps, the wreck of a windmill, and old pier that also appears to have been long deserted by the sea, and which has now become a kind of sun deck and open-air seating area (complete with a neat little working racing car set!).
Up on the hill, the factory is surrounded by trees, grass and more signs of former working spaces. But just beyond them, and accessible from the beach below as well, is the remains of a children’s playground. It sits at odds with the more industrial aspects of the island, but at the same time its aged and rusted condition fits right in with the overall theme.
All of this makes for an engaging visit quite apart from the opportunity to check the VUK brand. For those who like to explore together I recommend heading down to the south side of the island and the deck area mentioned above: there’s a couples walker awaiting you. Also when when visiting, do make sure you have local sounds on so you can appreciate the region’s excellent sound scape.
- VUK (VUK, rated Moderate)