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Topic - The Demise of the Mountain Bothy - blog post

There is something special in the stillness of a winterís night, when frost renders the burns silent and dusts the grass with transient iridescent crystals. On such winter nights it feels as though the land is holding its breath, waiting for the sun and the warmth of the spring to set it free. Few people have my passion for visiting bothies in the teeth of winter when the temperature drops well below the minus sign and ice forms on you water supply. This is understandable and I often wonder myself as Iím walking up some isolated glen burdened by supplies to keep me warm and fed through and artic night why I actually still do this.

Last week I spent a night in Luibmaldruig bothy. Itís situated at the head of Glen Orrin, not too far from my home in inverness. Glen Orrin is a broad glen and the hydroelectric dam has created a loch within it running for several miles. The bothy is to be found on a small area of flat land just at the point the valley narrows and splits in two with one fork continuing and the other running a few miles towards the glen of Strathconnon, which was my route in. Walking in I saw no one and only the deer noticed my passing. They seemed surprised to see a human being at all and the bothy book revealed that only two other people had passed this way since the start of the year three months ago.

The bothy is a splendid place, one of the best bothies Iíve been to, and it could sleep thirty odd folk comfortably. There are two rooms with fire place and there is even a stable where you could leave your horse if you decided to ride in. Sad then, that as I read through the bothy book it became evident that the place had only had around 24 visits last year. The tradition of folk spending New Year in a bothy seems to have died out and, it appears from my visits to a variety of bothies, the large groups of folk from mountaineering clubs who used to invade bothies no longer trouble to make the trek. I wonder how long bothies will survive if the trend in their usage continues to decline. It will be harder and harder to justify spending money on bothies when they are only visited by a trickle of folk every year.

Read more here http://johndburns.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-demise-of-the-mountain-bothy/
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