The Book of the bothy. Mountain Bothies Celebrating 50 years of the MBA!

Cover of The Book of the Bothy, by Phoebe Smith

Really interesting preview of The Bothy book by Cairngorm Wanderer on his Blog , I will order the book and see what I think. The bothys are so important to me and I cannot wait until I am fit enough to get back and spend a night once midges go?

The MBA Book.

The MBA Book. Celebrating 50 years

Mountain Bothies – Celebrating 50 Years of the MBA

The MBA is 50 years old in 2015 and to mark the occasion, we have compiled an anniversary book. It tells the story of how Bernard Heath formed the Association 50 years ago. It recalls how some of the buildings which are today’s bothies were found. It includes tales of work parties, some of which have found their way into MBA folklore, and shows that although materials and methods of working may have changed, the enthusiasm of volunteers has not. Illustrated by photographs, line drawings and cartoons, it is a celebration of 50 years of activity by our volunteers who take delight in maintaining simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places.
The book costs £10 per copy including postage and packaging. All profits from its sale will go towards furthering the work of the Association.

There is even a wee poem by me in it – that made my day.

1973 a young Heavy at k khill of the Bush in Galloway a place that moulded me.

1973 a young Heavy at Back hill of the Bush in Galloway a place that moulded me.

As a young lad about 12 and about 6 stone I was part of the Boys Brigade and made up a group of 4 for the Duke of Edinburgh Award .  As the youngest I was making up the numbers and given some gear to carry – they called it character building. We walked in Galloway on the great hills of the Merrick,Corserine, Craignaw Nick of the Dungeon and places with names like the Silver Flow. This was wild country for a wee laddie and the days we spent soaked at Back Hill of Bush Bothy were special. I loved the history of the place, the smell of a smoky bothy and of course the tales of past hill days. it was a place that really shaped my life. Bothy days unsurpassed!


  • Davy Walker – In my view it is a book that was bound to come at some point. Should the MBA have produced the Guide rather than someone else. Yes then profits would go to the MBA. The MBA does a marvellous job in negotiating with landowners for the retention of bothies, repairs and upkeep. Will the guidebook increase use by profit making organisations as is the case with many popular climbing outcrops without putting anything back, afraid it’s a definite yes. For the hillwalker/bothy person new to the game it will open up new areas. For the more experienced another asset to supplement MBA and other websites.
    A few views!
  • Angus Jack –  I agree Davie, but perhaps the author will donate some of the profits to the MBA?
  • Roddy John Murray – Had to happen at some point I suppose. Seems a bit depressing as bothying, or knowing a ‘secret bothy’ has always been a part of Scottish Mountaineering culture. Does it need a book-not really in my opinion, but there you go. Agree with previous posters that the MBA may have missed a trick here, but hopefully the author will do the right thing.
  • Alan Mcleod  – Max Landsberg refers to the Fords of A’an in his book The Call Of The Mountains ( page 136 ) just a play on words, I think the cairngorm wanderer is maybe getting a bit pernickety ?
  • David Whalley  – I hope she is a member of the MBA – if not send them some £££
    • Douglas Crawford  – Bigger authors bring bigger sales or more awareness… contributions?
  • John Easton Nothing new under the sun? Looking back to 1979.

    John Easton's photo.
    • Chris Chapman Is that my copy, no can’t be, mine is from 1975!
  • John Easton Strange, mine says “I Butterfield copyright 1979” on the back cover.
  • Davie Walker John l seem to remember KMRT had a copy, but it was only available to members of the MBA.
  • John Easton –  Graham Tiso had a stack of them for sale in the Leith shop. I went in to buy a pair of step-in bindings for my crampons and came out with the survey instead. (Graham talked me out of the bindings, telling me that they were unreliable.)




Cover of The Book of the Bothy, by Phoebe SmithOne of the more anticipated new books this summer was the Cicerone guide The Book of the Bothy, by Phoebe Smith. As soon as it was announced the old guard bothy ‘guardians’ were up in arms: not only was this going to be a book about bothies – and probably giving their locations – but, perhaps even a worse sin, it was being written by someone who was not one of us.

On that basis alone I was inclined to stick up for Ms Smith. I’ve always been of the view that we look after bothies for everyone, and not just a small clique of those deemed worthy.

But, sad to say, despite being a book whose time had come, despite being well produced and published by one of the most respected guide book publishers, this is not the success it should have been.

Given that this…

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About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Book, Books, Bothies, Corbetts, Mountaineering, SAR. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Book of the bothy. Mountain Bothies Celebrating 50 years of the MBA!

  1. Readers may wish to open the original article to view comments, quite interesting feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

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