Thursday, 6 July 2017

Book Review: The Scottish Bothy Bible

by Geoff Allan
This book reveals the location of what many outdoor enthusiasts regard as the 'hidden gems' of Scotland, that network of bothies - simple shelters in remote places - scattered throughout Scotland which offer shelter to all comers.

This isn't the first guide to the bothies of Scotland to be published but Geoff Allan has spent some considerable time on this work and he has done it properly. It is the most comprehensive guide to Scottish bothies anyone could ever hope for!

In his book he gives an insight into the history of the bothy and the work of the Mountain Bothies Association, that organisation which looks after the maintenance of bothies. He has a few words to say about bothy ettiquette and the Bothy Code, hillcraft and safety and how to travel around the highlands, especially in the remote areas.

Set out in logical order Geoff divides Scotland into areas and lists the bothies in each. Northern Highlands, North West Highlands, Western Highlands, Central Highlands, Eastern Highlands, South West Highlands, Southern Scotland and last, but not least, the Islands.

Lavishly illustrated with stunning photographs which will make you want to dig out your hill gear and get out there each featured bothy also has a good description of how to get there and what to expect when you do. How many rooms does it have? Is there a fireplace? What kind of floor is there? Are there sleeping platforms? Is there a handy water supply?

These are some of the important considerations for a stay at any bothy and armed with this information it is possible to make allowances for any shortcomings a bothy may have and help to make your stay as comfortable as it can be.

Some people say this book should not have been published. Why not? Because it may lead to an increase in the numbers of hillwalkers, ramblers, mountaineers and others using these bothies and in doing so lead, through overuse, to a deterioration of the bothy and its environs. But considering the amount of information already published about bothies that particular cat is already out of the bag!

If you are a hill enthusiast then a copy of this book should be sitting on your bookshelf. As well as being an excellent resource for planning a trip to the great outdoors it's a wonderful book to browse through on a rainy afternoon - just what you need to get your hill juices flowing!

For more about bothies read this article The Bothy Code.