These little refuges dotted across the map of Britain are found in remote and untrodden locations, their precise map references fiercely guarded by those looking to protect these free shelters from becoming overrun. Often the long forgotten homes of shepherds taking their animals out to pasture or game keepers tasked with maintaining the estates they reside on, now most are owned or managed by the Mountain Bothy Association. They are buildings varying in size, with no facilities, no running water, lights or even toilets. Think camping but without the tent.
A bothy is a roof over the head of the tired munro bagger who has walked for many miles. A quiet place to escape the city, switch off and return to the tending of basic human needs.
Often accessed by the many lochs and waterways in Scotland they were a place for us to stand shivering, strip off the wet wetsuit and hurriedly start the fire to thaw our frozen but smiling faces. A place to pour a dram of something special and, on a clear night, check out the display of the cosmos unmarred by the light pollution of the city.
Please remember that Scotland’s wonderful “right to roam” and our right to visit and use bothies is a great privilege. As such we should respect and care for these spaces which are to be enjoyed by many in the same way we would respect and care for our own homes! So that we may continue to enjoy these refuges for many generations to come, please familiarise yourself with The Bothy Code and share these simple practices with those who may not be familiar.