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Mountain bothy makeover for Scotland’s weary walkers

Comfort for climbers as more than 100 free-to-use shelters given a revamp.

Bothies are used by walkers and climbers. MBA

By Laura Alderman

Scotland’s bothies provide respite for weary walkers as they scale mountains across the country.

The free-to-use boltholes are used by trekkers and climbers to recover from their efforts and shelter from the elements.

And now more than 100 have been given a spruce-up after the charity that looks after them splashed out more than £100,000.

New floors, doors and windows, skylights, stoves and sleeping platforms have been installed in many of Scotland’s most remote huts.

Neil Stewart, from the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA), said: “Examples of the work that we undertook included the installation of new floors and sleeping platforms, replacement of windows and doors, new skylights, stove and fire replacement and of course lots of repairing and painting.

“They [the bothies] are however in remote areas and subject to the worst ravages of the weather so ongoing repair and maintenance is required.”

In addition to repair work, the charity has translated The Bothy Code into several European languages for the benefit of oversees visitors.

Membership numbers at the MBA have also soared by 18% to more than 4300.

Inside one of the free-to-use shelters. MBA

However, as more people use the bothies, some of the more accessible shelters have become open to misuse and abuse.

Earlier this year, Police Scotland launched ‘Bothy Watch’ – an initiative to keep them free from damage and vandalism, after various reports of anti-social behaviour in the shelters emerged.

Neil Reid, trustees and maintenance organiser with the MBA, said: “Treat the bothies with respect. Don’t leave dried food like pasta, it only feeds mice.

“And if you’re using a bothy, chances are you’ll meet someone else. So be friendly.”

In 2019 the MBA hope to continue their work across Scotland, and will soon be undertaking a major refit of Leacraithnaich bothy in Morvern – including replacing the roof.

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