The RAF Mountain Rescue Teams have trained all over Scotland since 1944 and had great access to many areas that few mountaineers at the time struggled to get to. The Estates were in general pretty good to us as we had a history of assisting at times with the odd injured keepers or ghillies. These were great days and over the years we had good liaison with Estates who would let us use some of the Estates accommodation. We also had permission in places like Glen Affric/ Strathfarrar and the Fannichs to use a few estate houses/ garages. In addition the RAF Teams started using many village halls giving them some cash for the use over our weekend stays. This helped keep many village Halls financially afloat and helped them gain grants over the years.
Before this the teams camped Summer and winter these were hard times. We had it easy I suppose? I have lots of tales from older team members of the epic winter camping. I camped below the screes in Glencoe with the Team in the early 70’s. No showers or bunhouses then or toilets !
These bothies gave us great access to the Glens and we used to get to know the keepers of these Estates. This was long before the “Right to Roam” and Freedom of access came in. We had so much help from many of the Estates and it was so beneficial over the years as was the great local knowledge of the Keepers.
These were great places being in a remote Glen for the weekend especially in winter, no phones in these days. It would be a cheap weekend as we carried our own beer paid for by honesty chits from the teams subscriptions which in the old days team member’s could get a loan from, wages then were poor. If we were called out in these remote Glens the local Policeman would have to drive up to tell us of a call – out. Then it may be the midnight pack and head to Glencoe, Cairngorms , Glencoe or even further afield. These were great days as a night in a bothy always is incredible as long as were not called out. Get the fire on and the stories out.
After call outs new bothys were used as was the Inverailort Castle after the tragic Shackleton crash in the 60’s. This incredible place was used by the RAF Kinloss Team up to the late 1990’s. We made great friends of the many of the locals many that still last to this day.
The Barn at Glen Brittle in Skye owned by the MacRae family was a great bothy over the years. We used the Barn to sleep in and the garage to cook in I wonder what the Food Safety people would say? Straight of the ridge to the bothy and a brew what a place and meeting the owner Gideon MacRae who was a legend on Skye for mountaineers was a great privilege. The tales would come out of past rescues in Skye and I would just sit and listen. I maybe never knew how lucky I was then?
We used the same bothies often and had some great contacts, we could also use them on call – outs and they became great Base Camps like the Barn in Skye. Few locals got upset at us arriving in the middle of the night on a call – out.
I have so many great memories so many bothies I wonder if anyone has others that meant so much? What a privileged we had.
Lost Bothys Role of Honour?
Cameron’s Barn – Glen Nevis
MacRaes Barn Skye
White Cottage – Affric
Broulin Lodge – Strathfarrar
Arran – Home Farm
Dundonnel – Farm
Auchaller Bothy – Braemar – more to follow?
I am looking for a photo of the Nest of Fannichs can anyone help me???