Red Kite Yurts (the name given, after Red Kites were re-introduced to near by Argaty Farm, Doune) was founded by Paul Millard in 2000. He has had a life long interest in the culture and way of life of the nomadic peoples of Central Asia. He built his first Yurt twenty years ago with his children. It was a crude structure that didn’t last long though provided great enjoyment for the duration of its short life.
Fifteen years, having met with the Felt Makers Associations Story Telling Yurt, Paul revisited his early Yurt drawings and embarked on a second Yurt build, this time armed with a much more detailed knowledge of what is involved and the ambition to craft a structure that could be used as accommodation. Once the Yurt had been completed it immediately attracted the interest of many individuals and organizations.
Paul has visited Kyrgyzstan on several occasions working with Yurt Masters and has built long-lasting friendships with craftsmen that he met on his travels. While in Osh he gave a lecture at the University on the growing cultural links between the Scotland and Kyrgyzstan as a result of the increasing popularity of Yurts in this country.
Yurts are still crafted according to ancient tradition in Kyrgyzstan. Willow is coppiced from ancient woodlands. It is peeled by hand before being steamed to achieve the straight poles required. These can measure up to five meters long.
Over the next few years Paul has continued to build Yurts to expand the hire stock for festivals and the growing wedding market. Paul’s story quickly spread through craft circles and he became increasingly involved with various organisations that promote green living, the preservation of our natural environment and sustainable living. His craft was featured in several publications and he was called upon to provide workshops and a Yurt for a major project spearheaded by the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. In 2011 Paul was again featured in a landmark book about the re-birth of Britain’s forests. Dr Ian Edwards authored ‘Woodlanders – New life in Britain’s Forests’ which explains how crafts people across the country are living with and from forests in the UK.
Next, is to document and soon publish a comprehensive study in the construction and history of the Central Asian Nomadic Trellised Tent