Working on the chat to the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) celebration of 50 years of the MBA

Those who follow my blog will be aware of my love for the Mountain  bothys a unique and wonderful addition to our Mountain Culture. I was asked why I love them so much by many people and will try to explain my love of these basic shelters and the people who meet them? I have been asked to speak at the MBA AGM in Newtonmore on Sat 17 October after their Annual General Meeting and it reminded me of so many stories in my days on the hills throughout Scotland..

My early walking days were spent in Galloway and the BackHill Bush bothy was the first one I had stayed in as a 12 year old.  I was glad to see it after a big wintry day on these wild  hills  I was making up the numbers for a Duke of Edinburgh Award the rest of the group were 15 to 16.  I remember vividly the bothy fire, the smell of wood smoke, the flickering candle,  the beans and sausage, the bothy book, the bothy mouse and the stories. What an impression this wee place made on me one that was to last for years.  As I look through my slides and photos I have so many great memories especially in the winter when they are quite and few venture out.

Over 40 years ago a visit to my first bothy at Backhill in Galloway. This bothy is no longer available as it was vandalised by idiots and this caused many problems.

Over 40 years ago a visit to my first bothy at Backhill in Galloway. This bothy is no longer available as it was vandalised by idiots and this caused many problems.

 

The MBA – With the permission and support of the owners, these shelters are unlocked and are available for anyone to use. All of our maintenance activities are carried out by volunteers. We welcome new members who want to support our work, either by attending work parties or by contributing financially through subscriptions and donations.

Most of the MBA bothies are in Scotland with others in England and Wales.

Glen Affric Strawberry Cottage another bothy gone.

Glen Affric Strawberry Cottage another bothy gone.

There are so many sories and tales many embellished by time and memory but what places. My big walks across Scotland in the 70’s were incredible days and many nights were spent in amazing bothies from Corriemulnzie below Seanna Bhraigh , The Nest of Fannichs, Culra near Ben Alder and Ben Alder Cottage,Sourlies on the West Coast, Luibelt. Oban Bothy and of course the Cairngorm bothies, Corrour, Fords Of Avon, Hutchison Memorial Hut and many more. There is a big move now to get away from the phones and modern life this is bothy life. It is a basic fire when possible,a brew and a meal, then maybe a dram by the fire what a life, primeval but great why don’t you try it.  I am looking for any photos of the Nest Of Fannichs bothy ( what a name) it was burnt down many years ago!

1978 Winter walk bothy life - out of the weather that was wild .

1978 Winter walk bothy life – out of the weather that was wild .

Many use these shelters all over Scotland for a break from the weather how many put there hand in their pocket and support the MBA – Feeling guilty why not donate to this great part of the Mountain Community and give something back.

Take nothing but photos leave nothing but footprints.

Take nothing but photos leave nothing but footprints.

 

http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/Subscriptions

Our full membership subscription is £20 per year. A reduced rate of £10 applies to junior members (under 16), the unwaged and to all members over 60. The membership year runs from 1st Jan to 31st Dec but, if you join on or after 1st October, your membership is valid for the whole of the following year.

http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/Subscriptions

Our full membership subscription is £20 per year. A reduced rate of £10 applies to junior members (under 16), the unwaged and to all members over 60. The membership year runs from 1st Jan to 31st Dec but, if you join on or after 1st October, your membership is valid for the whole of the following year.

Life membership is available, contact the membership office for details.

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What is your favourite Bothy – send a photo or tell a story.

My favourite is Sheneval up in the North West it sits below another favourite An Teallach a mountain amongst mountains. I love it I have had so many great days on these hills away from the crowds and some incredible climbing and walking. The bothy fire, the hidden food and drink cache, the characters we met, the odd visit with a girl friend some were impressed others not. Huge days on the hills especially in winter and the long walk back to the bothy. The smoke filled room, the first cup of tea, the wet clothes steaming and the candles flickering as the wild storm rages outside. Life is simple in a bothy as are your needs  its primitive, basic and simple . Go on try it you will love it!

Great nights with pals some gone!

Great nights with pals some gone!

 

The journey to Shenevall – For National Poetry Day

 

Cars fly by as you cross the road, to another world.

Then silence, the traitor’s gate.

The track wynds through the trees,

the river breaks the silence,

The glaciated slabs hide the cliffs, then:

An Teallach 2014 March

(Photo –  Al Barnyard thanks)

Views of An Teallach open at every turn.

Midges and clegs abound here but not today, too cold, its winter.

Cross the river, is that bridge in the wrong place? Muddy and wet, back on track,

Steep hill, upwards towards the top, the wee cairn, stop, no rush, drink it all in.

An Teallach. Snow plastered, familiar, foreboding.

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Open moor, contour round and round, special views,

Every corrie on that great hill has a particular thought. Memories

Fisherfield, these great hills, the light changing, to the West

Youthful  memories of companions, some now gone.

wreath AT BDM

Epic days, trying to impress? Pushing it and nearly, losing it?

Descent to Shenevall, steep, slippy and wet,

Eroded now by so many feet.

Descent to Sheneval

Collect some wood. The bothy, the deer, they are still there;

Sheneval. It never changes, only the seasons.

Fire on, primeval. Tea in hand, alone with thoughts.

the Deer rattle the door, time for sleep.

 

Memories ­­ – Thanks to the MBA!

 

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
This entry was posted in Articles, Book, Books, Bothies, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Working on the chat to the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) celebration of 50 years of the MBA

  1. peterraikmanpeterraikman says:

    These three were all taken on the morning back in February 2011 on my first visit


    I was always tempted not to go to the bothy, but go further up the hill to see the dawn in An Teallach’s corrie. I never found the time.
    [ by the way – its Shenavall, not Sheneval ]

    More recently the bothy has been smartened-up.

  2. heavywhalley says:

    Great Photos = Shenevall – Shenevall Thanks!

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