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Bothy-Bagging: Scotlands best-kept secrets revealed

At work and looking on the BBC news pages I came across this article and thought a few may find it interesting.

Don GW0PLP.

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wow I didnt know about it!! Amazing!

Well it’s less secret now!

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It has never been a secret, its just one of those situations where those who need to know will know, its all on the web. The article gives the impression that they are all in Scotland but there are others. Members of the club that I frequent look after “Greg’s Hut” on Crossfell - it is marked on the OS map, NY6935. Greg was a founder member who died in an accident in the Alps.

…and several in Wales…

Sorry to see this get too much mainstream publicity. I’ve seen the results of “non mountain” people using these shelters for drinking parties.

On the other hand… possibly one of the best nights I’ve had was an evening of poetry reading at Kinbreak Bothy, including a memorable rendition of “The cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service, while sitting in front of a flickering bothy fire while the weather lashed the bothy.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Spell_of_the_Yukon_and_Other_Verses/The_Cremation_of_Sam_McGee

I remember a TV program about climbing Suilven including a night in a bothy, I think it must have been Suileag bothy, so not a secret, but although some do get vandalised most are protected by sheer isolation. You could carry a bottle to Suileag - many do - but not a keg!

The first thing I thought was, it’s not a secret. I have used the crossfell bothy, it’s nice. I’ve also stayed in both bothies in the lairig GRU in Cairngorms. The smallest in in the book and website is wrong. The second one I stayed in in the Cairngorms just along from the nice cottage type one under Ben macdui is smaller than a shed. They are great things to have and a pity England doesn’t have more.

There are a few bothies fairly strategically located for some of the more remote GM summits. I used Strathan Bothy to good effect en route to An Grianan and Creag Riabhach, Quite an unique experience if you don’t mind roughing it a bit!

I can recommend joining the MBA for regular updates on the locations/status of their bothies and any constraints on their use (some are unavailable during lambing, stalking etc. when the estates they belong to use them).

73 de Paul G4MD

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That brought back a distant memory. Back in the late 1960’s there actually was a tin shed in the vicinity of Ben Macdui. We managed to squeeze 6 in complete with all our kit when a storm hit us. It had no floor, just a few wooden pallets and a couple of tin containers to sit on to keep us out of the mud. I seem to recall that I was the only one that got any sleep that night.

Used a couple of bothies in Knoydart mid-winter some 30-odd years ago, at Barrisdale and Camusrory - not sheds at all but decent, if rather basic, buildings with room for a number of people to eat and sleep. At Camusrory, we gathered driftwood from the shore to build a decent fire inside the bothy. What with those and a comfy overnight on Christmas Eve at the inn in Inverie, plus ascents of Meall Buidhe, Meall Choire na Gaoithe’n and Luinne Bheinn, it was a great long weekend of winter hiking in an area not often visited.

I also remember from the end of May 41 years ago a basic shed-type bothy beside the River Avon in the Cairngorms - the Fords of Avon Refuge - which I reached once by fording the Avon - which was then in full spate - alone from just opposite the bothy by stringing a climbing rope around a boulder, trailing it downstream in the river, and holding on to the rope hand-over-hand downstream until I reached the other side on the diagonal. Boy, was I wet when I got to the other side! But an hour’s stay at the bothy was enough time to retrieve the rope, wring out my clothes and then on again north and north-west over the hills back to Aviemore.

And then, let us not forget the awful tragedy of the Cairngorm Plateau Disaster, when five schoolchildren and a teacher died - in winter - when trying to find a particular bothy on the plateau when the weather turned bad. The bothy in question was later removed in an effort to discourage inexperienced climbers from attempting such expeditions in poor weather.

I’ve stayed in corrour bothy, that’s nice. I’ve also stayed in garbh choice bothy.


This pic shows it in much better state than when I stayed in it around 15 years ago. There wasn’t much of a door or front wall and not many rocks on the roof. It was dry and our leaders slept against the front door and wall to block the wind. We were on a venture scout expedition. We got around 6 of us in there.

I take it that’s the toilet I spy leaning against the wall just to the left of the door :wink:
Much more luxurious than the ex army trenching tool I take camping with me!

Not sure if the toilet was there when I was there lol

The Curran Shelter. I am certain that was where we spent the night in August 1968, though I seem to recall there being fewer stones piled around it than in the 1975 photo. I also remember the disaster, but hadn’t realised it was the shelter I had been in that they were headed for. The storm hit us just after we left Ben Macdui some time in the early afternoon. We had been aiming to get back to base camp at Coylumbridge.

Gerald/Rob - I think you are probably talking about the same place - the Curran Shelter.

Several small refuges have gone from the Cairngorms (with good reason). I stayed in the Sinclair Hut in the late 1980’s, now gone.

Also gone are Jeans Hut and St Valery.

I’ve always thought that was a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy, the idea of those refuges was a place to shelter if overtaken by severe weather, which is something that can still happen. The tragedy was due to poor decisions by those leading the party IMHO, if they had not been heading to the shelter they would have headed for somewhere else, and the storm would still have come.

At a slight tangent I have been to some splendid climbing huts in GM, one that sticks in my memory is the Steall Hut in Glen Nevis near the foot of the Steall waterfall - very basic, the first time I went the toilet facilities were also a spade - and the trek up the gorge and crossing that wire cable bridge in the early hours with a very large rucksack and a feeble headtorch was an unforgettable experience, as was watching the northern lights a few days later while drinking whisky!

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It has been re-built and is even more “luxurious”.
I used it some years ago having fallen trying to cross the Avon making a right mess of my face (improvement?) - I have had a warm and comfortable feeling for it ever since (the refuge that is!!!).

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I hope they’ve replaced the ugly plastic chandelier with a proper crystal one… and did you find the two packets of soup and spare candle I left there for emergencies?

I think Tom (M1EYP) got there before me and drank the soup!!

…and the rats ate the candle!