Memories of the first bothy I used Back hill of Bush Galloway

Memories of my first bothy Back of the Bush Galloway. Please note all Bothies are still closed due to Covid restrictions.

From the MBA website

https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/

Please be aware that this website is the only up to date source of information about MBA bothies and regular updates will be given here. Please consult the relevant bothy page before your visit and observe any restrictions on use. Information provided in books, magazines and social media platforms may be incorrect, misleading or out of date. Some MBA bothies are locked by their owners during certain periods; details of those are noted on the individual bothy pages on this website.

COVID-19 (update 28 March 2021)

It is not safe to use bothies at present due to the risk of infection. Please do not visit until further notice.

I received this through my blog a while ago about a visit to a bothy in Galloway Backhill of Bush bothy with my brother in 1971 – 51 years ago:

“I once met a chap by the name of Heavy in backhill of bush bothy in the Galloway hills.it was new year 1977. He was there with his brother as we arrived at the bothy and made us feel so very welcome making us a brew and getting our feet up at the fire. We went our separate ways next morning and never met again. I have written about the guys in my memoirs. We sat till the wee hours swapping stories and laughs and that camaraderie we formed still lives with me. I just wondered if you were the same person. I am Ian a lot older though! “

My reply :

It’s was lovely to hear from Ian all these years later. Sadly the bothy at Back Hill is no longer open. I am not sure of why but it was getting misused and I think the forestry had to shut it .

I think but it was my first bothy I visited as a young lad through the Boys Brigade aged 12 .

I will never forget arriving about 12 years old and the fire was on and listening to the tales and stories round the fire. Everyone was so kind and helpful and I was in complete awe of them.

The total exhaustion of arriving after a big day with huge packs and just a wee boy then struggling after a hard day. Being given a cup of tea by some kindly person who saw this wee bedraggled youth and took pity on me.

The smells of the wood fire, the steaming wet gear and the wood at the door left by the forestry all these memories are still with me nearly 50 years on!listening to the tales of the mountains and Silver Flow that swallowed forestry machines in its mud. Falling asleep by candlelight.

That’s why I love the Bothies, they are unique to Scotland by allowed grace of the landowners and the Mountain Bothies Association whose great folk who maintain them.

Nowadays there is so much written on on the internet about Bothies even several books giving details of location etc. Many years ago much of these details was by word of mouth.

Things have to change folks sadly yet we must look after them and never take them for granted. I always ensure I take all my litter out with me. Often carrying huge bags of rubbish out.

Many years ago we would after the winter get out with the helicopter and the new aircrew on the helicopters and show them the Bothies in the area. It was all part of the aircrews learning Area Knowledge as the Bothies were always a place to check when looking for a missing person. We would take lots of rubbish and “other items” away in the days before Health & Safety stopped this!

A few years ago I was honoured to speak to the Mountain Bothy Association at their AGM in Newtonmore. I met many of the characters that make this wee organisation so good.

With COVID shutting all the Bothies these are strange times ahead. Hopefully the Bothies will survive and those who use them will treat them with the respect they are due? There are in my view Tricky time’s ahead as Landowners are seeing a change in the Bothies use by large groups and at time’s the mess they leave.

Many bothies would make ideal get away accommodation for the estates ? These are in great demand nowadays.

I have seen several being updated for this use over the years.

Comments welcome as always ? I hope they remain with us to give many that great introduction to the wild places. We will never know how many lives they have saved over the years?

Leave nothing but footprints take nothing but photos.

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 Articles, Bothies, Enviroment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Memories of the first bothy I used Back hill of Bush Galloway

  1. Jim Higgins says:

    You have a wealth of stories and tales of people you have met in bothies Heavy. I met you in similar circumstances as you know in Backhill of Bush. Just that one night and then never to see you again. You welcomed my pal and me at a warm fire and a hot brew.
    Do you think the bothies will survive? I certainly hope that people with a conscience will win over the single celled brains that seem to inhabit them in latter days. I now have grandchildren and I foster children, victims of circumstance, and I sincerely hope to introduce them to the experience of the bothies, in safety.

    Liked by 2 people

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