Article: Alastair Humphreys on respecting the bothy

When I’m stuck in the city, chasing deadlines and dollars and other men’s dreams, I often wish I could escape to something different…I say to myself, imagine this: I could jump on the sleeper train tonight, fall asleep in London and wake up in the massive silence of the mountains. Imagine that. I really could do it. And so I do.

This is a great article and video from Alastair Humphreys and the excellent Sidetracked magazine about the joys of ‘bothying’. 

In Mountain Bike and Bothy Nights, Humphreys (of expedition and microadventures fame) takes us on a mountain bike tour of Scotland, extolling the delights of bothying along the way.

Bothies are essentially small, basic and often remote huts, cottages or shelters.  There are no mod cons but the 100 or so bothies maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association provide wind and waterproof accommodation.  No charge is made for their use but visitors are asked to respect a simple set of rules: The Bothy Code. 

The best bothies are the remote ones  They are hard to access, hard to find and all the better for that. Its the way there that matters; the harder it is the more worthwhile the journey. 

The article is nicely written and is enticing and vivid in its descriptions of the scenery and solitude.  The video is the perfect accompaniment, giving more background as to what bothies are about and with beautiful video of the  Scottish scenery.  Both make it easy to see why Humphreys feels the way he does about bothies:

I hope to keep making journeys to the wilderness throughout my life. I don’t need to head to the ends of the earth these days. I don’t need to be gone for months on end. Something as small as returning, again and again, to a favourite bothy is all I need. 

After reading and watching these, it is almost impossible not to start to plotting your own bothying get away. 

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