I became aware of bothies by mistake whilst living for a week in The Lakes. I had been told about a little slate hut all alone on the side of a fell that would make a nice place to sleep for the night. The hut made for an interesting nights sleep due to howling winds and a mouse scratching at remains of cumberland sausage fat left in my tin, but this only added to my curiosity surrounding this quirky shelter.
After some research I found that the slate hut i had stayed in was a bothy called Warnscale Head. 'Bothy' is a Scottish word for 'shelter,' and bothies are looked after by a charity called the Mountain Bothy Association. They have hard working volunteers who help maintain the bothies so they are wind and watertight.
So the next step was easy, join the M.B.A.
I began my next bothy adventure helping with a work party at Kershope Head.
After a long drive getting very lost I finally found Kershope Head bothie. The forestry commission had laid new roads throughout the forest which didn't match up to the os map so it made following directions very difficult. It was well worth the long ride though, the moment the bothie presented itself, it was exactly as i had imagined. Quite a big building situated well away from......... well, anything really but trees. Inside there was three welcoming faces, David , Dave and Jim, who had the wood burning stove nicely warming up the stone interior and a kettle nicely bubbling away.
The next morning was an early one, but the tiredness was quickly washed down with a nice brew and a good old english brekkie. The plan was to build a platform in the dry room to separate the barn owls who would be soon nesting above, and also helped keep the floor below tidy as the owls nest bits and pellets would drop down.
Today we were met by Paul and Mark who joined in trying to find a spring for fresh water which was located somewhere near by. Paul was also the MO for Roughside bothie.
Then we had a special visit from Donald and Margaret who had a special bond with the M.B.A. Donald had devoted a lot of his life to the M.B.A and was secretly about to be presented with a massive thank you for all the work he had achieved. They were a very happy couple and a right treat to chat to, they had lots to tell me about the bothies and i soon realised just how much of a family the M.B.A are and how much work they do to keep these places running.
Paul and Mark asked me if I wanted to visit another bothy that was near by. 'Will's Bothy' use to be run by the M.B.A, but due to problems with mis use the bothy is now maintained by the local users. It was very pleasing to see that the bothy was in good shape and being looked after very well, massive praise to the unsung heroes that devote there spare time to keep it this way.