Weekend Wonders: Bothying bliss

Words and images I've submitted to Adventure Travel magazine for publication in their 'Weekend Wonders' section (a regular 2-page spread where they share some 'cracking UK adventures to help people make the most of those precious two days').

Looking up to the summit of the Munro, Devil’s Point, from Corrour bothy in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Looking up to the summit of the Munro, Devil’s Point, from Corrour bothy in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Bothies are unlocked shelters dotted about the UK, many of them managed on limited funds by the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA). Often remote, bothies vary in quality and, if you're like me, your feelings towards them can change depending on how tired you are or how bad the weather is outside. (Even a really basic bothy can be a delight when the weather is foul).

Corrour bothy, located in the Cairngorms National Park, is one of the more popular Scottish bothies. It’s not far from my home and I’ve made multiple trips there over the years. 

The range of feelings I’ve experienced at Corrour bothy includes; 

  • Enlightenment - through long, varied conversations with like-minded souls I otherwise wouldn’t have met

  • Happiness - to live in a country where I can freely wander up hills and through glens and stay out overnight

  • Annoyance - to find lots of garbage left behind by previous parties (there's no rubbish collection service in mountain bothies)

  • Satisfaction - as I sat outside with a dram on a beautiful Summer's evening after a trek over the Lairig Ghru

  • Relief - to reach the shelter of the bothy in the midst of a full Winter storm

Overall, my main feeling towards mountain bothies is one of contentment. From knowing that bothies exist and I can stop for a break from the outdoors if I want to, as on this day one Autumn when I walked door to door from the National Trust base camp at Mar Lodge over Devil's Point, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Braeraich, four of the great Munros in Cairngorms National Park, during a fantastic hike that took me over 16 hours. 

How to get to Corrour bothy

The Mountain Bothy Association publishes details of bothies on their website (www.mountainbothies.org.uk). You'll find Corrour bothy at GR NN981958 on OS Landranger map 36. It can be accessed from the south-east from Braemar via Glen Lui or from Aviemore in the north via the Lairig Gru. 

Other bothies to visit

Less well known bothies worth a visit include Glencoul and Glendhu bothy near Kylesku, the Schoolhouse bothy near the Munro Seana Braigh and the fantastically-positioned Lookout bothy on the northern tip of the Isle of Skye, at Rubha Huinish. 

If you do visit bothies, be aware of the bothy code; 

  • Respect the bothy

  • Respect the surroundings

  • Respect the agreement with the estate

  • Respect the restriction on numbers