Forgotten Bothies – White Cottage Glen Affric

White Cottage Glen Affric

It was one of my first weekends out as a young lad was into Glen Affric for the weekend in 1972,. It was a short journey from Kinloss in Moray and we would be there for the weekend. We would put tents up for cooking and one for us new troops while the older experienced would sleep in the bothy. It had a great fire wood left for us by the keeper and after a hill day we would have a great night singing and drinking out of green plastic mugs! The odd night a wet soul would arrive to stay in the bothy they were always welcomed.

In full song after a day on the hill. The late Jim Green Dave Wood, Andy and Bodger .

These memories of the tight road into Glen Affric arriving on the dark putting up the Base camp tents and then sorting out our sleeping in the tent. Basic living in these days Himalayan outer bags that were hopeless and a wee mat to lie on. Light was by Tilly lamp and cooking by a petrol burner known as the “bomb” How dangerous wee these days. You were always frozen but what a Glen in winter so remote. How did we cope ? I loved the singing that was very popular in these days we all had to learn a song. Mine was Shoals of Herring as always sung badly. I remember our gear being always wet boots frozen in winter in the morning.

Shoals of Herring

Oh it was a fine and a pleasant day
Out of Yarmouth harbour I was faring
As a cabin boy on a sailing logger
We were following the shoals of herring

Now you’re up on deck, you’re a fisherman
You can swear and show a manly bearing
Take your turn on watch with the other fellows
As you’re hunting for the shoals of herring

Well I earned me keep and I paid me way
And I earned the gear that I was wearing
Sailed a million miles, caught ten million fishes
We were hunting after shoals of herring

Night and day the seas were daring
Come wind or tide or winter gale
Sweating or cold, growing up,
Growing old or dying
As you we dream at a shoals of herring

Of course the hills are magnificent especially in winter and the views outstanding. As for the hills there a classic range a full traverse was always a hard day 8 Munro’s.

Affric Munro’s. This is what we came for these great mountains.

Mullach na Dheiragain (982m, Munro 167)
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (1151m, Munro 22)
An Socach (921m, Munro 270)
Mam Sodhail (1181m, Munro 14)
Beinn Fhionnlaidh (1005m, Munro 127)
Carn Eighe (1183m, Munro 12)
Tom a’Choinnich (1112m, Munro 41)
Toll Creagach (1054m, Munro 77)

I did these hills often always glad to get back to the bothy and some food and a wee drink. Sometimes in summer we were allowed to drive to the Youth Hostel at the head of the Glen. A few times we got stuck in the wet ground or crossing the river. I led my first parties on the hill here looking back if you had a problem you were on your own.

The keeper was a great pal of the team and looked after us. We had a great relationship with him and his family. I remember meeting his wife and getting her some baking items through my contacts in Catering. Sadly I cannot remember bigs name what a great person and this wax when we had great relationships with the keepers long before the Right of Access. I got a stag in return I was lucky I had a butcher on camp who sorted it. Fresh venison was magic.

By common consent, Glen Affric is the finest of all Scotland’s glens. It features a fabulous variety of scenery and is deservedly popular with walkers. The glen begins amongst the steep, bare mountains of Kintail far in the west.Further downriver is beautiful Loch Affric, at the foot of the highest mountains north of the Great Glen. The middle part of the Glen is a National Nature Reserve, magnificently wooded with Scots Pine – one of the last remnants of the original Caledonian Forest.

Affric you never let me down chasing the Corbetts opened my eyes to even more wildness of these hills. Even a cycle up the Glen is interesting or a wander in the rain round the Loch.

I remember on my big walks across Scotland the Great Glen’s were always extremely hard days Affric was one that always made you think. These were simple days poor kit massive hill days and big bags. It was a huge time of learning we were young and invincible. Yet what memories!

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 Enviroment, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Music, People, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Forgotten Bothies – White Cottage Glen Affric

  1. Peter Birtwistle says:

    Remember back in the 70’s when I was a member of the Mountain Bothies Association being flown out from RAF Kinross by 202 Sqn (Mick Anderson was the winchman on the flight) to White Cottage were other members of the MBA and myself spent the weekend repairing the roof and other general tasks to keep the cottage weather tight. Then proceeding to walk to Cannich and thumbing a lift back to Kinloss were I managed to get back to work in time…..(just!). Berty

    Liked by 1 person

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