The Mountain Bothies Association MBA.

At the weekend a lot of us enjoy a break out of the wind and rain in a Mountain Bothy we were up in the far North at Lochiveraon at the West end of loch a’ Bhraoin. It was great to get out of the weather and the bothy was spotless no litter or rubbish left. A few of the newer member of the club asked about the bothies and it is worth looking on their website for some information.

1973 Galloway Heavy Back Hill bothy great memories.

I was privileged to speak at the Mountain Bothies Association  AGM on their 50 th Anniversary in 2015 and the bothies have always been a big part of my life. I spent a lot of time as a very young lad in Galloway where Back Hill of the Bush my first bothy became a place I loved as a young lad when out on the hills. I will never forget my first night about 13 years old spending a magic night in the bothy. We got a fire going after a wet snowy walk in and some great person had left us some dry fire wood and the wood smoke on my clothes smell and memories remains with me to this day . Sadly Back Hill of the Bush is gone it was vandalised and the forestry I am sure had to shut it and this is so sad that idiots do this to a bothy and the landowners have no option but to close them.

Back-hill-o-bush-winter MBA Photo

Many times I spent time in them on the Big walks I used them walking through Scotland and we stayed in them often with the RAF Rescue Teams and spent many nights introducing so many new comers to the outdoors to the bothy life. After a long day a fire a meal and a dram are special in a bothy.  If someone goes missing one of the first checks is the bothies and how many have been saved by a night in a bothy? So many tales to tell of the epic days in the Cairngorms and arriving in the bothy after a wild day.



The bothies are tolerated only by great work by the MBA and the many landowners and there has to be mutual respect by all sides to see the MBA continue their great work. This is why I am a member it is only a few pounds annually but all helps as they are maintained by volunteers who do  great work. So next time you stop out of the weather or overnight spare a thought for the MBA or even better send them a donation, do we not owe them that?

Join the MBA.


Founded in 1965, the Mountain Bothies Association exists to maintain remote buildings for which the owner has little or no use, yet remain important to walkers and others who make use of the shelter that they provide. We only own one of these buildings – Over Phawhope bothy. The remainder are maintained with the agreement and encouragement of the owners. All maintenance work is financed from our own resources, mainly membership subscriptions supplemented by generous donations from benefactors, some of whom wish to commemorate a relative or friend who was a hill  walker or climber.

The maintenance work along with the bulk of administration is carried out by volunteers. Each bothy in the care of the Association has one or more Maintenance Organisers who are responsible for arranging routine maintenance. You will find more information about the bothies that we maintain and about what we do elsewhere on this site. If you are not already a member, why not join us and help to preserve these unique shelters?

Shenaval-Beinn-a-Chaliaim-jly-Corbett or Munro?

What is your favourite bothy one of mine is Shenavall,

The journey to Shenavall.

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:

Views of An Teallach

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.

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

Memories – the wilderness Beinn Tarsuin

Youthful  memories of companions, some now gone.

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

Descent to Shenevall, steep, slippy and wet,

Eroded now by so many feet.

Deer rattle the door

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

Shenevall. It never changes, only the seasons.

Tea in hand – One of my favourite bothies.

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

The Deer rattle the door, time for sleep.


Thanks to the MBA!   Heavy Feb 2015 For Yvette.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Book, Bothies, Corbetts, Equipment, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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