Mountain Bothies – a fun way to enjoy the outdoors!

Mountain bothies provide a great way to escape from the wind and cold, and provide an added bit of protection and security.  Staying in bothies provides an added bit of adventure and is certainly recommended by the team!

Mountain Bothy

So what are mountain bothies?

A bothy of the mountain variety is typically a stone-built building, usually one floor, and with a tin or slate roof.

They are a safehaven for planned and unplanned stops when out running, walking or mountain biking in the hills.

What do I need if I am staying in a bothy?

Many bothies have raised platforms to keep you often the drafty floor, but these are not typically beds as such.  So here is a bare minimum packing list for staying in a mountain bothy:

  • Roll mat / Thermarest sleeping pad
  • An appropriate sleeping bag for the season
  • Warm clothes for emergency warmth
  • Fuel as there is often a fire place of sorts
  • An additional stove for cooking
  • Light source – torch, lantern or similar
  • Loo roll, although don’t expect a toilet
  • Rubbish bag to take your litter away with you
  • First aid kit for emergencies

Emergency shelter bothies and permanent shelter bothies.

Mountain bothies are typically different to emergency shelter bothy bags (see the image).  These are to be carried with you when out hiking and provide an excellent form of temporary shelter to rest from the wind and rain in bad conditions.

Bothy etiquette…

As these are shared communal spaces, when staying in a bothy, remember at the very least to:

  • Respect other users of the bothy
  • Respect the bothy it self
  • Respect the surroundings

There has been a great deal of press about mountain bothy misuse in recent years, so please ensure that you report any problems with the bothy to the authorities associated with that bothy.

Where can I find a mountain bothy?

Most bothies around the UK are based in Scotland, some in Wales and parts of northern England, but there are the odd one’s scattered elsewhere too.  Visit the Mountain Bothy Association website (see link below) for more information.

Maintaining bothies for the future

Mountain bothies provide such an excellent service to outdoor folk, but don’t forget they need maintaining.  A charitable organisation, the Mountain Bothy Association, has been set up to look after these bothies in regards to their structural integrity and general maintenace, which is obviously quite extensive work.


You can volunteer by taking art in working parties with the Mountain Bothy Association and give something back for essentially what is a warm and free nights stay in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the country.

For more information on staying in a mountain or hill bothy, please contact the Mountain Bothy Association.  Here’s a bit of blurb from the site,

The Mountain Bothies Association is a charity which looks after about 100 shelters in some of the remoter parts of the UK. We welcome new members among hill walkers, climbers or long distance cyclists who use bothies and want to join in our extensive repair and maintenance programme.

Your thoughts?  🙂

Have you ever stayed stayed in a mountain bothy? What was it like? Would you recommend it? Do you have any tips for others? Let us know!


One thought on “Mountain Bothies – a fun way to enjoy the outdoors!

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