Project Profile

Location: Taransay Island, Scotland

Timber: Oak

Architect: Andrew McAvoy


Pods at Castaway Cove

The Castaway Pods were home to 36 people who took part in the BBC series. Carpenter Oak & Woodland were contracted to fabricate and erect these contemporary oak framed houses in their yard in Scotland.


The Castaway series was publicised as a social experiment with a purpose and threw together whole families to live on the remote island of Taransay off the coast of Scotland for a year. As one can imagine it was not without its eventful episodes as they learnt to live alongside each other as well as with the often inclement weather.

These rather unusual oak frames had open plan living areas with raised sleeping platforms and turfed roofs which helped them to blend almost seamlessly into the landscape.The Castaway pods are still standing today, some 15 years after the programme starring Ben Fogle aired, some of which are retreats, others privately owned with their owners looking for their own retreat.

The pods were constructed from several curved ribs each made from sections of green oak and joined with traditional scarf joints. The clean internal lines create a good sense of space in what are essentially small living areas. The early designs had a central post and braces to support the roof but this was later removed to open up the interior. Back in 2000 this was a major endeavour and something of an achievement in the use of green oak in curved structures. Because a crane could not be transported to the island a helicopter was used to take the frames from the mainland and then assisted in the lifting of each section during construction.