Looking down through the ice that masks the surface of the river Kingie I marvel at the clarity of the water. I can see all the way down, perhaps eight feet, to the sandy river bed below. Here and there, deep beneath the water, fronds of weed wave and swirl in the gentle current and the occasional rock peeps through the rippled sand. Despite the beauty of the river and the glorious sunshine one thought keeps entering my head. I have been walking for four hours, I am one hundred yards from the bothy but there is a problem. The bothy is on the far side of the river.
I imagine myself crawling out across the ice, pushing my rucksack in front of me. All rucksacks float, no matter how heavy, and mine is heavy, full of coal and tinned food. Then I begin to wonder how cold that water must be and the thought of trusting myself to the thickness of that brittle ice recedes. I turn again and begin walking up stream, each tributary I cross must diminish the size of the river I keep telling myself but the depth of the water remains unchanged and the prospect of a long walk out begins to crystallise in my mind.
Then, a quarter of a mile away, I see a herd of deer moving across the floor of the glen. They know of my presence in this remote place, and are heading, unhurried, towards higher ground unwilling to allow me any closer. I freeze for a moment, crouching in a shallow stream bed watching them pass, wondering where they will cross the river. The prospect of an icy bath must be as unappealing to them as it is to me, I am sure they will know the best place to ford the stream. Perhaps twenty or thirty pass me by, pausing now and again to watch this cumbersome two legged figure stumble his way through the bog beside the river. After five minutes walking I come to the place. The hoof marks of the deer pattern the sand beside the river, there are so many I can see that this is where they habitually cross. Following their lead I paddle across the one place where the river is shallow enough for me to walk through it without even getting my feet wet.
The bothy is cold and dark, I’m the first person there for over two months and, as the daylight fades I busy myself searching for dead wood to burn. When night falls, in this primitive shelter, I know that the clear sky will yield a sub-zero night. Later, sawing the logs, a thought occurs to me. I should propose to the BBC a new show, Pimp My Bothy! Here’s how it works.
Yes that could work . You could liven it up a little with a hunt the interior designer section if you're not entirely satisfied with the outcome ! I think that could be fun , give them a 1 hour head start of course then seek & capture . Torture could optional too .