Archive for May 4th, 2012

May 4, 2012

If Backpackingbongos designed a bothy…………….

by backpackingbongos

Whilst staying in Strathconon I decided to head deep into a remote glen in search of a bothy.  Half of the fun was the fact that I was not even sure if the place existed.  There are loads of bothies in the Highlands, many looked after by the MBA which is an organisation worth supporting.  I love the ethos of bothies, an unlocked shelter in the hills there for anyone to use for free.  You turn up and take a chance on whether you will have company.

Often the bothy books of the more popular places north of the border are full of the semi-literate ramblings of the virtues of Tennents* and Buckfast*.  After scrawling about how ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Braw’ Scotland is they then show how patriotic they are by leaving empties everywhere and taking a dump round the back.  Thankfully as yet I have not had to endure such inhabitants and most people encountered have been decent folk.

Its is easy in the age of the internet to find bothies.  Log onto the MBA website and they helpfully list them alongside grid references.  I have mixed feelings about this to be honest.  Yes, bothies are for everyone but surely it is not too much to ask to pay the membership fee to get the handbook?  When I started bothying the MBA did not even publish a list if you were a member.  Much of the fun was wondering if that building symbol in the middle of a map would provide shelter.

I still like to do that, heading into the hills to find remote estate bothies.  Off the radar they are often better looked after and cared for by visitors.  You get the feeling of stumbling across a secret place.  I was not disappointed during this stravaig on a grey afternoon, the bothy I came across being one of the best I have visited.  The place was comfortable and spotless and it was evident from the bothy book that people came to enjoy the hills rather than alcohol of dubious quality.  Even the discerning Tracksterman had paid a visit and left without having to haul out other Peoples rubbish.  I will have to return to spend a night or two………

*Alcoholic beverages that are not to be confused with beer or wine.  Unfathomably popular in Scotland.