It had been planned for a while a wee trip to Ben Alder bothy with friends. It’s a fair wander in and we got the train in to the lonely Rannoch station. We had huge bags old bodies and the weather forecast was not great. We decided due to various reasons to take the estate track to Loch Ericht. My knee was still sore and old age made the decisions easy. Add in a lot of rain rivers crossings looked crazy but the estate road was a longer but a safe way in. We had all taken COVID tests and the train was empty with all the passengers masked making things feel a bit surreal.
It’s about 8-9 miles to the bothy and we all had not worn big bags for a long time. The first mile hurt we met Dave and Kalies sister Wendy at Rannoch and we took their car to the start of the Estate road. A E bike would have been great but our bags were so big. We started in the rain pretty slowly bags hurting but with plenty of stops for rests we made our way. There were plenty of trees down after the storm but we saw no wild life at all.
We had only a 6 hour window of light to reach the bothy but as the weather improved we were delighted to get great views of so many hills. This is rugged hill country with so many memories. The cloud lifted and we could see the magnificent Ben Alder and neighbour Ben Bhoil. They dominate the view as does Loch Ericht. The last few miles was a wet boggy path where Lorriane super strong went ahead and we stumbled on. We all got to the bothy well before dark. Taking the bags off was a joy.
The bothy was sadly a mess we cleaned it up there was so much rubbish about an old pillow, sleeping bag, mats plastic bottles etc sad to see. We soon had the bothy tidy a great fire on we had brought coal with us and there was some dry wood. The girls had a meal ready in a short time and we sorted out our gear. I had plenty of kit but the bothy was warm and we had a cracking night with a few drams and great food. Because I have this cough I was worried I would keep folk awake but it seemed to settle. We had a great night and it seemed so worth all the effort to get there. Tomorrow we would see what the weather brings it was not a great forecast. I was soon asleep tired but so pleased to be here with no one else about.
From the Mountain Bothies website- Ben Alder Cottage – Grid Ref: LR42: NN 499 680
Location: Central Highlands
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Owner: Ben Alder Estate
Ben Alder Cottage is in two parts. The old stone part of the bothy is always open and accessible for anyone to use. The timber built extension is for estate use only.
Availability: Deer Stalking takes place in this area from mid August until the 15th February. The advice from the estate during this time is to stick to paths where possible, and use the most prominent ridges to access the hilltops. Access is never restricted. Ben Alder Estate can be contacted on 07795 225066.
Ben Alder Cottage was last inhabited around 1918 by a Joseph McCook who had lived in this isolated cottage for almost forty years as a deer forester. The bothy sits at a junction of two rights of way and in its present form dates back to 1871. It was first renovated by the MBA in 1969.
To maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use & benefit of all who love wild & lonely places.
A recipient of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the Mountain Bothies Association is a charity which maintains about 100 shelters in some of the remoter parts of Great Britain.
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. Without this support, many of these unique shelters would be lost forever. If you love the outdoors and wild places, please consider joining us.