We have been based in Scotland for around five years now and have to admit that despite all our outdoor adventures, we had not spent a night in a bothy.
A bothy is a free basic shelter that is open to anyone. They are often old estate houses that have been left open and a majority are maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association, although a good number of other ones are maintained by the estate or other groups.
During Stacey’s pregnancy we were still keen to get outdoors despite not being able to cover as much distance or ascent. We decided to try a bothy adventure in the far north west of Scotland, an area we particularly love for its majestic beauty, and where there is a large, multi-forked sea loch with a walk along one side on a good track which leads to the bothy. With Stacey just over 5 months pregnant, it was far enough a walk for her without being too much. We took our tent as well in case the bothy was busy but needn’t have worried as the other people we met were all continuing on to another bothy further on.
The bothy is wonderfully sited on the shore of the loch and we spent a sunny if windy afternoon playing on the shore and gathering what drift wood we could. As evening set in we enjoyed a fantastic sunset before we lit candles and the fire to make the place as cosy as possible.
We have to say that it was a little spooky to be honest and so we decided to sleep in the main room downstairs where the fire was instead of heading into one of the two bedrooms upstairs.
The following morning, after a chilly night we slowly headed back to the van. It was a great few days away, something a little different from our usual and it definitely got our imaginations going, for better or worse!
If you do choose to stay in a bothy it is sensible to hang your food from the rafters as mice are a common occurrence. We didn’t see any when we were there but didn’t take chances with our food.
On the walk in we saw an otter playing along the shore line as well as a number of deer and many birds and seals.
We are so glad we went for a bothy adventure and would highly recommend it for the experience as well as an option when the weather is less than ideal. It is lovely knowing that there is somewhere (probably) dry and where you can (probably) light a fire to keep warm at the end of the day. Check out the MBA website for guidelines as well as updates for bothy closures and details for membership.