Hill-walkers are generally aware of bothies â€“ yet many have never plucked up the courage to stay in one. Ben Dolphin decided it was time he did â€“ and he made this atmospheric film to share the experience
I made my bothy debut beside a remote loch in Sutherland and loved every minute. I hope my film gets across something of the practicalities, the etiquette and the satisfactions of staying in a tiny stone house miles from the nearest road â€“ and I hope it prompts you to try it yourself.
First, a few words of background. Though free for all to use, most bothies are owned by the landowner or estate and their continued availability depends on responsible use by bothy visitors and on maintaining a good relationship with the owner. Some bothies have restrictions at certain times of year when estate staff need to use them for stalking or lambing.
Although owned by the landowner, bothies tend to be looked after by dedicated groups or individuals who give their time freely to help with upkeep.
Many are maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association, which arranges work parties to deal with wear and tear. The Association has also published a handy Bothy Code for users.
Whether or not to disclose the location of bothies has proved controversial over the years. While many bothies are well known to outdoors enthusiasts and are well used, others are closely guarded secrets. Many are in vulnerable locations and are open to misuse.
The existence of bothies in the Scottish outdoors is by no means a secret but there are, none the less, longstanding traditions of seeking them out for yourself, inadvertently stumbling upon them on your travels, or learning about them through word of mouth.
In respect of those traditions Iâ€™ve not said exactly where this bothy is. Maybe youâ€™ll find it while youâ€™re out and about on your travels.
For more from Ben, take a look at his youtube channel or the Benvironment blog. By way of a follow up to this video, Ben has also shared a selection of Bothy advice in this video which we’d also recommend watching.
You may also enjoy reading about James Carron’s bothy bagging experienceÂ from back in 2010.