A bothy is a basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge. It was also a term for basic accommodation, usually for gardeners or other workers on an estate. Bothies are found in remote mountainous areas of Scotland, Northern England, Ulster and Wales. They are particularly common in the Scottish Highlands, but related buildings can be found around the world (for example, in the Nordic countries there are wilderness huts). A bothy was also a semi-legal drinking den in the Isle of Lewis. These, such as Bothan Eòrapaidh, were used until recent years as gathering points for local men and were often situated in an old hut or caravan.
In Scots law, bothies are defined in law as:
a building of no more than two storeys which—
(a)does not have any form of—
(ii)piped fuel supply, and
(iii)piped mains water supply,
(b)is 100 metres or more from the nearest public road (within the meaning of section 151 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984(9)), and
(c)is 100 metres or more from the nearest habitable building
Any such building is exempt from council tax and from legislation requiring registration for letting purposes.
The etymology of the word bothy is uncertain. Suggestions include a relation to both "hut" as in Irish bothán and Scottish Gaelic bothan or bothag; [ citation needed ]a corruption of the Welsh term bwthyn, also meaning small cottage; and a derivation from Norse būð, cognate with English booth with a diminutive ending.
Most bothies are ruined buildings which have been restored to a basic standard, providing a windproof and watertight shelter. They vary in size from little more than a large box up to two-storey cottages. They usually have designated sleeping areas, which commonly are either an upstairs room or a raised platform, thus allowing one to keep clear of cold air and draughts at floor height. No bedding, mattresses or blankets are provided. Public access to bothies is either on foot, by bicycle or boat. Most have a fireplace and are near a natural source of water. A spade may be provided to bury waste.
There are thousands of examples to draw from. A typical Scottish bothy is the Salmon Fisherman's Bothy, Newtonhill, which is perched above the Burn of Elsick near its mouth at the North Sea.Another Scottish example from the peak of the salmon fishing in the 1890s is the fisherman's bothy at the mouth of the Burn of Muchalls. A further example is the Lairig Leacach Bothy in Lochaber, not far to the east of Fort William.
Because they are freely available to all, the continued existence of bothies relies on users helping look after them. Over the years, the Mountain Bothies Association has developed a Bothy Codethat sets out the main points users should respect:
The Gardeners Chronicle of 1906 rather grandly defines a bothy as “the apartments in a garden allotted for the residence of under gardeners”.These came in variety of sizes. An advertisement from 1880 notes “two in bothy”. At the other end of the scale was “The Royal Bothy”at Frogmore (near Windsor castle) with accommodation for 24 gardeners, and of sufficient interest to be listed in Scientific American Building Monthly. A more recent summary mentions intermediate sized bothys housing three to six gardeners.
Bothy quality varied as well as the size. Frogmore, in 1903, had not only lavatories and dining room, but included a sick room and reading room. However at the other extreme one author in 1842 reported:
The bothy is commonly a little lonely shed placed on the north side of the north wall of the kitchen-garden ; that small apartment has often to be kitchen, breakfast-room, dining-room, parlour, bed-room, dressing-room, and study, for men that deserve better accommodation. If a little of the money that is spent upon dog-kennels were employed in erecting decent habitations for journeymen gardeners, gentlemen would receive a higher rate of interest for money laid out in such a way, than they do from much of their wealth that is sent out in other directions.
Having local accommodation for gardening staff was not just a convenience but a necessity. The twelve gardeners in Baron Rothschild’s bothy in Francenot only worked the 6-till-6 day shift in 1880, but every day one of them was the “night guard” to look after the forty different fires. Another article notes that the gardeners had to be up every 4 hours at night to note the temperatures.
Bothy life seems to have been varied, with some of the flavour of a student residence. In some cases gardeners were fined for being untidy and forbidden to sing.Another ex bothy resident recalled gardeners arriving with heavy heart, having left home for the first time, and regretful years later on leaving the bothy. In “A bothy Yuletide” he describes how, despite the necessity for two gardeners to remain on duty over the holiday to bank up the fires, the others accompanied them on their rounds and “the sound of Christmas carols mingled strangely with the rattle of the shovel”. Clearly singing was not always forbidden.
Bothies are usually owned by the landowner of the estate on which they stand, although the actual owner is rarely involved in any way, other than by permitting their continued existence, and by helping with transport of materials. Many are maintained by volunteers from the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA), a charity that looks after 97 bothies in Scotland, the north of England, and Wales.
The location of these bothies can be found on the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) website,along with information on how people can help.
Kincardineshire, also known as the Mearns, is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area on the coast of northeast Scotland. It is bounded by Aberdeenshire on the north and west, and by Angus on the south.
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often an extended journey, and may involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts, widely found in Europe, are rare. In New Zealand, hiking is called tramping and tents are used alongside a nationwide network of huts. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of a variety of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other words used to describe such multi-day trips.
A cottage, during England's feudal period, was the holding by a cottager of a small house with enough garden to feed a family and in return for the cottage, the cottager had to provide some form of service to the manorial lord. However, in time cottage just became the general term for a small house. In modern usage, a cottage is usually a modest, often cosy dwelling, typically in a rural or semi-rural location and not necessarily in England. The cottage orné, often quite large and grand residences built by the nobility, dates back to a movement of "rustic" stylised cottages of the late 18th and early 19th century during the Romantic movement.
The Lairig Ghru is one of the mountain passes through the Cairngorms of Scotland. The route and mountain pass partially lies on the Mar Lodge Estate.
A summer house or summerhouse has traditionally referred to a building or shelter used for relaxation in warm weather. This would often take the form of a small, roofed building on the grounds of a larger one, but could also be built in a garden or park, often designed to provide cool shady places of relaxation or retreat from the summer heat.
A mountain hut is a building located high in the mountains, generally accessible only by foot, intended to provide food and shelter to mountaineers, climbers and hikers. Mountain huts are usually operated by an Alpine Club or some organization dedicated to hiking or mountain recreation. They are known by many names, including alpine hut, mountain shelter, mountain refuge, mountain lodge, and mountain hostel. It may also be called a refuge hut, although these occur in lowland areas too.
A bivouac shelter is any of a variety of improvised camp site, or shelter that is usually of a temporary nature, used especially by soldiers, or people engaged in backpacking, bikepacking, scouting, or mountain climbing. It may often refer to sleeping in the open with a bivouac sack, but it may also refer to a shelter constructed of natural materials like a structure of branches to form a frame, which is then covered with leaves, ferns, and similar material for waterproofing and duff for insulation. Modern bivouacs often involve the use of one- or two-man tents but may also be without tents or full cover. In modern mountaineering the nature of the bivouac shelter will depend on the level of preparedness, in particular whether existing camping and outdoor gear may be incorporated into the shelter. A bivouac shelter is colloquially known as a bivvy.
A gîte is a type of accommodation that comes in a variety of forms, ranging from a gîtes d'etape, a hostel, for walkers and cyclists, to a gîte rural, a holiday home in the country available for rent, often an accessory dwelling unit. The term gîte originally meant quite simply a form of shelter. Gîtes d'etape, which resemble mountain huts, or youth hostel, usually provide meals and have dormitory accommodation. They are found along Grande Randonnée long distance trails. The holiday homes type are fully furnished and equipped for self-catering. Some owners may also provide meals.
Frogmore House is a 17th-century English country house owned by the Crown Estate. It is a historic Grade I listed building. The house is located on the Frogmore estate, which is situated within the grounds of the Home Park in Windsor, Berkshire. Half a mile (800 m) south of Windsor Castle, Frogmore was let to a number of tenants until the late 18th century, when it was used intermittently as a residence for several members of the British royal family.
A hut is a small dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials. Huts are a type of vernacular architecture because they are built of readily available materials such as wood, snow, ice, stone, grass, palm leaves, branches, hides, fabric, or mud using techniques passed down through the generations.
The Dunmore Pineapple is a folly in Dunmore Park, near Airth in Stirlingshire, Scotland. It was ranked "as the most bizarre building in Scotland".
A wilderness hut, bothy, backcountry hut, or backcountry shelter is a free, primitive mountain hut for temporary accommodation, usually located in wilderness areas, national parks and along backpacking and hiking routes. They are found in many parts of the world, such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, northern Russia, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Huts are basic and unmanned, without running water.
Newtonhill is a commuter town in Kincardineshire, Scotland. It is popular due to its location, just six miles south of Aberdeen with easy reach of Stonehaven and with views over the North Sea.
The Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) is a Scottish registered charity. It looks after 104 bothies and two emergency mountain shelters. Of these, only two bothies are owned by the charity. The remainder are maintained with the agreement and encouragement of the owners. The majority are in Scotland with the remainder in Wales and Northern England. These may be stayed in without charge.
Corrour Bothy is a simple stone building on Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
A shieling is a hut or collection of huts on a seasonal pasture high in the hills, once common in wild or sparsely populated places in Scotland. Usually rectangular with a doorway on the south side and few or no windows, they were often constructed of dry stone or turf. More loosely, the term may denote a seasonal mountain pasture for the grazing of cattle in summer. Seasonal pasturage implies transhumance between the shieling and a valley settlement in winter. The isolated nature of shielings may have provided opportunity for sexual experimentation. Many Scottish songs have been written about life in shielings, often concerning courtship and love. The ruins of shielings are abundant landscape features across Scotland, particularly the Highlands.
The Cairngorm Club is a mountaineering club, based in Aberdeen, Scotland formed in June 1887.
Alpine club huts or simply club huts (Clubhütten) form the majority of the over 1,300 mountain huts in the Alps and are maintained by branches, or sections, of the various Alpine clubs. Although the usual English translation of Hütte is "hut", most of them are substantial buildings designed to accommodate and feed significant numbers of hikers and climbers and to withstand harsh high alpine conditions for decades.
Loch Essan is a freshwater trout loch, located 2 miles north of Loch Dochart, within the Stirling Council Area, Scotland.