Last weekend I had planned to travel to the North Pennines with a mate to stay in a non-mba bothy. We were also going to check if a remote building I had spotted from a distance years ago was a bothy we could use on another trip.
Alas the plan had to be changed at the very last minute, my mate had hurt his back and the weather for the Alston area was showing 100mph winds on the tops and heavy snow! It was now me on my own and I could not face the long drive and the bad weather. I got out my maps the night before and decided to head for The North York Moors, an area I have only visited once. There was also a bothy that I could stay in as the wind was still going to be pretty strong – maybe too strong for a backpacking tent up on the moors.
I left Nottingham at 7.00am and found myself in Pickering only 2 hours later, much quicker than I had anticipated. I had decided to do a short day walk near Goathland before heading off to the bothy. This was pleasant enough but could not under any stretch of the imagination be called exciting. A bash through the heather to the 260m trig point, passing a guy in shorts (it was cold and just a bit breezy!) followed by an attractive riverside stretch along Wheeldale beck.
Back to the Bongo for a spot of late lunch then a short drive to park up the van for the night. One of the reasons why I like bothies is being able to spend the evening in front of a roaring fire. Therefore my rucksack weighed a ton as it was full of wood and coal. It took me nearly an hour to stagger just over a mile with that damn rucksack, the track was a quagmire and I was covered in peat up to the knees. Just at the last minute the bothy appears, I looked for any sign of smoke from the chimney but could not see or smell any. Opening the bothy door I was pleased that it was empty and clean and tidy. I claimed a single sleeping platform then went out into the gloaming for a look around, noticing two figures on the horizon heading towards me. I have to admit that my heart sank as I was looking forward to a peaceful night on my own, so went back in to continue unpacking.
5 minutes later two lads opened the door and pleasantries were exchanged. They were from Scarborough and had come to stay at the bothy many times in the past. Within a few minutes the bothy was full of chatter, a fire was lit and beers passed around. Looking like it would be a good night.
As the evening progressed the wind outside got stronger and stronger until it was a steady roar, rain bouncing off of the tin roof. My curry for dinner played havoc with my stomach and I had to step outside with the bothy spade and go for a long walk across the heather. The downside to bothying I suppose!
More food was eaten, whisky was then drunk, then a night spent sleeping on a hard wooden platform. The morning dawned lovely and sunny with just a touch of ice on the puddles outside. I love bothy mornings as it saves packing up a wet tent! Lots of coffee, curry noodles and a stomp / slosh across the moor brought me back to the van and the drive home.
Just a shame I forgot my camera!
Pinkneys bothy (not my own picture)