If I pitch up at the Hutchinson Memorial Hut in the Cairngorms next Monday for a three night stay I should be OK, shouldn't I? I guess apart from clothes, I just need to take a camping stove, fuel, food, a sleeping bag and mat. I've never stayed in a bothy before.
Definitely take a tent. HH is tiny, and might already be full. Tents are generally nicer anyway, and you can pick your spot and the company you share it with.
OK, bothies are occasionally handy. But I'd never head to one without carrying alternative accommodation in case.
bothies are not for a 3 night stay like booked accommodation. They are places one can stay for a night (in emergency e.g. or passing through). You should leave after your one day and also take a tent in case the place is full.
You should also take a backpackers trowel to make sure you know how to sustainable go to the toilet.
Hope you have a good time
What experience are you looking for?
If the idyllic one, then whisky, lighter / matches, kindling and probably some fuel as there's sod all about. You can't expect any on your arrival.
Toilet paper of course.
Candles / portable lantern.
Radio or other source of music.
Ear plugs. If someone else there snores.
Bothy slippers or thick socks as its nice to take off your boots.
A sharing attitude.
Is there actually an issue staying in a bothy for more than one night? My understanding is that they are simply intended as open shelters for people to use to support access to the outdoors. That could be a lunch break, shelter from rain or an overnight stay. I definitely wouldn't have any qualms about spending a second night in a bothy if it suited my plans (although I would leave kit packed with a note rather than having it unpacked).
I've only stayed in one busy bothy though (Corrour) and wouldn't have felt very up for a second night in there.
You are right. I am sure you can stay a couple of nights if needs be and to be fair I probably have in the far distance stayed for two nights somewhere in the past, the thing I am referring to is that it is not a holiday home you book and intend to go for for 3 three days. That's all I am saying. Best Heike
OK, thanks I'll take a tent. My reason for going is that there's currently a snowy owl in the area which I'd like to try and see. Climb a Munro or two as well. I guess it's worth heading for the bothy even with a tent because it's good to have the extra space to be able to move around in, and maybe there will be good company. Or maybe not.
Enjoy your trip.
I'd always take a tent if I was going bothying in case the bothy's popular that night, and in any case I just prefer having my own place to sleep even if I use the bothy for cooking, socialising etc.
Best of luck in spotting the owl, it's a great reason to go up there and hang around the Hutchie for a few days!
> Mystery downvote...
Possibly your recommendation to take a radio (if you're intending to 'share' it with others)? I'd walk on if I heard a radio on in a bothy. I do like peace and quiet in the hills and will go out of my way to get it.
Bothies are often empty too so you plan for both possibilities. If you head out with the intention to share then its best bring someone else with you! Personally don't like the sound of tinnitus when the environment is too quiet.
Yes, I suspect it's most likely to be empty apart from me, unless there happens to be a group of snowy owl spotters with the same idea as me. Maybe I should take a speaker to play music from my phone to make it seem more homely.
The weather's looking relatively good, so I'm more or less decided to go ahead.
Just to counter some other posters replies.
Tents are not nicer. The Hutchie has a fire if you can carry 5kg of coal you’ll have a lovely night sitting in its warm glow (assuming it’s cold enough to warrant a fire). If quiet you’ll have loads more room in a bothy. Although, taking a tent is probably worthwhile as the Hutchie is tiny, and popular. But if everyone leaves their kit outside you can squeeze a few more people in.
As for how long you stay. Yes they’re not meant to be ‘holiday homes’, but 3 nights is not excessive. I’ve spent similar in a few bothies in my time and had the bothy to myself.
Good luck. Bothies are not the same as they were when I first started using them. But on the right night, they can still be a marvellous experience. Unlike the night I once spent with a bunch of blokes, with a case of vodka, a CD player with rave music on repeat until 8am and a fist sized block of speed!!
> My reason for going is that there's currently a snowy owl in the area which I'd like to try and see.
Enjoy, my last visit to the Hutchie a few years back was actually for the same reason. Do consider spending one of the three nights in the Shelter Stone, which is closer to the area this bird is frequenting, not as grim as it looks, and a very authentic Cairngorms experience (although maybe too authentic if it's still midgey).
Take a small shovel. There is limited poo-ing around that bothy.
The munro to the right as you face the loch is a really nice one (I forget the name) with a scrambly tor on top.
If you want a good night then take a couple of fire logs and a bottle of your choice of booze.
> The munro to the right as you face the loch is a really nice one (I forget the name) with a scrambly tor on top.
Beinn Mheadhoin. Very nice hill as you say. Funnily enough, relating to another bit of the discussion, I was once approaching the summit tor when someone came the other way listening to the test match on a transistor radio. Like Lankyman I sort of disapprove, but I also like cricket so I asked the bloke the score.
Take a few candles with you if you're going to use the bothy. Also some bog roll and a trowel.
For all the folk suggesting bog roll - why not just use some moss? By far the nicest thing to wipe your bum with - if they sold it in Waitrose all the posh folk would buy it…..hmmmmm
Agreed, I have used it before. It might just be full of snow though, looking at the weather forecast.
The Hutchinson is quite small and it's popular so I would agree with those that say take a tent. Even if there is room the others in there might not be all that interested in owls and only intent on getting totally blotto'ed, having another option is a good idea.
Just got back. The bothy was much fuller than I had expected, but there was enough room. A much better experience than staying alone in my tent. Didn't see the owl unfortunately.
Glad you enjoyed your stay - and the timing was just right. The bothy will be closed on 7th to 9th October for essential maintenance, which will include replacement of the stove.
I think I got it pretty much right. The tent was useful as I did camp on the third night. In retrospect I would have included:
1. A lightweight down jacket instead of a fleece. Warmer and lighter, and definitely better for the evenings.
2. Small packets of butter. It's easy to think you can make up a baguette with some cheese and salami without it, but really it's too dry.
3. A hipflask of whisky. I don't drink the stuff normally, but in the evenings in a bothy it does go down well.
Once had to explain to Dundonnel MRT who were training nearby, why I was sat sheltered under a peat bank on Sgùrr Bàn and occasionally jumping up. It was the rapid fall of Australian wickets in the 81 Edgbaston test.
If there's a concern about butter melting squeezy cheese in a tube can be a good alternative as that seems to last several days before it goes off.
> Once had to explain to Dundonnel MRT who were training nearby, why I was sat sheltered under a peat bank on Sgùrr Bàn and occasionally jumping up. It was the rapid fall of Australian wickets in the 81 Edgbaston test.
Good story. You were ahead of me - I'd not climbed a single M*nro by the time of the Botham/Willis/Brearley etc series, but I started making up for lost time shortly afterwards.
I pack a lightweight jacket too, even for walks as its warmer than a fleece. Without a fire, a bothy can get pretty cold 🥶
Despite my experience, I forgot candles on my recent bothy trip. There was some there but I like to leave behind more than I've used, if possible.
You could take some olive oil if butter in danger of melting. Would complement your salami. What kind of cheese did you have?
Cathedral City pre-sliced cheese. Maybe goat's cheese would be better as not dry.
We tend to take wraps on multiday trips - easy to pack, don't get stale, don't need butter, go well with thin slices of cheese or salami, reasonably energy dense.
I normally take whisky (normally a small plastic water bottle - a lot of hip flasks go less far than you'd expect if you start sharing them around), but I've got a friend who takes port, again decanted into a plastic bottle. Surprisingly good choice - easy to drink, sweet and warming.
> Radio or other source of music.
Christ. Top of the list of things one goes to the hills to avoid.
> Christ. Top of the list of things one goes to the hills to avoid.
I've not used bothies but I think I might stick to camping instead.
Three nights excessive in my opinion. Many mentions of taking alcohol - another reason for taking a tent and camping nearby, difference adding a nip to hotdrink and boozing in Bothy.
I spent many nights on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and at Bothies use the technique mastered on the AT of rolling up to shelter and a. assessing any occupants and b. not setting up bedroll or camp till later; then moving on to tent does not offend any one; inviting comments why you are moving on.
> Christ. Top of the list of things one goes to the hills to avoid.
Me too - the whole music in bothies thing (including the seemingly acceptable folkie stuff until 2am), along with the general carousing, is part of why I've stopped using bothies. Here's a recent example of the genre:
If you'd been at Ben Alder Cottage on the night in question you'd have had to enter into negotiations not to listen to heavy metal - including this lot:
or else simply try and find somewhere else to stay. Perhaps they were trying to scare away the ghost!
Mine is other people.
So hopefully we'll never have to share a bothy.
From some extreme responses (there must be a law against moderate views on the internet) you swear music was akin to projecting pornography on the walls of the bothy.
Yes, I play music when I'm alone in a bothy. Winter evenings are long and dark enough by yourself in such a place and I don't seek virtue in a hair shirt approach. It seems beyond understanding that music may be turned off when someone else arrives, though more than likely I will take to my tent instead.
I was expecting a tale where you had an awful experience rather than that of two friends enjoying a trip with their dog in the hills and no evidence that anyone was put out. The guys sound reasonable and friendly.
I will usually avoid a bothy if I cannot have a room to myself as I always have my dog. The risk of something going wrong when I'm asleep keeps me awake! I've walked past bothies several times when there's been too much activity but that's part of the whole open door risk and you take it or leave it.
You playing music when you're the sole occupant isn't the issue. It's what someone else showing up later thinks. You come across as a very reasonable person but some less so would just carry on playing their thrash/folk/cowpunk etc without a qualm. That's putting the burden onto someone else to ask the noise to stop. Personally, I'd be uncomfortable to put someone else in that situation over something l had no real reason to be doing. I like loud guitar music but don't feel the need to share it with other hillgoers.
> I was expecting a tale where you had an awful experience rather than that of two friends enjoying a trip with their dog in the hills and no evidence that anyone was put out. The guys sound reasonable and friendly.
Much as Lankyman says, it feels like there's a flaw in that (otherwise reasonable) argument. If someone - eg me - approached a bothy and heard music coming from it, they/I might well not go in. It feels a bit like the argument one hears from non-disabled people who park in disabled places (there's one near me right outside an eaterie that is constantly used in this way). They tend to say there was no one in it when they arrived, but forget that a disabled person coming along after they've nabbed it then doesn't have the option.
Re the Walkhighlands example, even though the thrash metal-loving chaps in question might be perfectly fine and friendly, I certainly wouldn't want to enter a bothy and immediately have to get into some kind of discussion about asking them to turn it off.
Doesn't quite work as a simile unless you consider those playing music not to have the same right to be there and do their thing as you.
Silence too can be an imposition and I usually adopt a 'who gets there first, gets first claim on setting the scene' approach. I wouldn't walk into a room with friends catching up, having some cans and ask them to turn off their music (I dont listen to metal or hard rock either) etc. my more sober use of the bothy is no more valid. So I carry a tent and will use it if there isn't another unoccupied room, without any ill will towards those cracking open cans (and I'm drawing a distinction between those having a nice evening and those burning bothy furniture and trashing the place). I'm fine with that gamble and I tilt it in may favour by avoiding weekends.