The Appeal of Mountain Bothies

The Appeal of Mountain Bothies

Mountain Bothy

A Mountain Bothy

Recently fellow Trail Ambassador David Hine joined me in the Cairngorm National Park for a few days hiking. The park itself represents 6% of the landmass of Scotland. Five of the UK's highest summits are found within its boundaries and many more of the highest mountains in the UK dominate the skyline.

We only walked over one mountain - but it was in a remote location and very few locations in Scotland are more remote than in the Atholl Forest.

With many miles of walking over wild and often pathless terrain, we travelled light. Single skin pyramid shelters our home of choice, and packs of choice, the Gossamer Gear Gorilla and Mariposa models. They gave us comfort, and kept the load stable and close to our natural centre of gravity.

Pack weight matters and keeping that weight as close to your natural centre of gravity aids in your performance and balance when traversing hard uneven terrain.

Carn an Fhidhleir

Carn an Fhidhleir

Once we had finished our ascent of the mountain Carn an Fhidhleir (meaning cairn like peak of the fiddler) we opted to change our route and go to a remote Mountain Bothy.

Mountain Bothies are shelters in the hills. Many are run by the Mountain Bothy Association, and some by estates. They are mostly old estate workers cottages, now used for hill walkers. Some are divided like Ben Alder Cottage into estate and walkers areas.

Bothy Register

Reading the Bothy Register

They often have fire places, stoves and sleeping platforms and there is a code:

Respect Other Users

Please leave the bothy clean and tidy with dry kindling for the next visitors. Make other visitors welcome. If they are not MBA members set a good example.

Respect the Bothy

Tell us about any accidental damage. Don't leave graffiti or vandalise the bothy. Please take out all rubbish which you can't burn. Avoid burying rubbish; this pollutes the environment. Please don't leave perishable food as this attracts vermin. Guard against fire risk and ensure the fire is out before you leave. Make sure the doors and windows are properly closed when you leave.

Respect the Surroundings

If there is no toilet at the bothy please bury human waste out of sight. Use the spade provided, keep well away from the water supply and never use the vicinity of the bothy as a toilet. Never cut live wood or damage estate property. Use fuel sparingly.

Respect Agreement with the Estate

Please observe any restrictions on use of the bothy, for example during stag stalking or at lambing time. Please remember bothies are available for short stays only. The owner's permission must be obtained if you intend an extended stay.

Respect the Restriction On Numbers

Because of over crowding and lack of facilities, large groups (6 or more) should not use a bothy nor camp near a bothy without first seeking permission from the owner" (from Mountain Bothy Association website)

tea in the Bothy

Hot Tea in the Bothy

David and myself enjoyed a warm and sheltered night in the bothy while the rain fell, and wind gained strength overnight.

Falling asleep with your sleeping bag draped over you lying in front of the fire makes for the best nights sleep to be found in the mountains. Add in the social side of sitting around the fire chatting and sharing tales of past walks and you can see the appeal of bothies for me.

Next time you are in the UK planning a walk see if you can add a bothy into your route so you can discover the appeal of mountain bothies.

This post was written by Trail Ambassador Martin Rye.

First Steps with a Mariposa Backpack

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack

In May, I embark on another coast-to-coast walk on The Great Outdoor Challenge event. Fellow Trail Ambassador Philip Werner and Gossamer Gear's Grant Sible are accompanying me on this walk. 215 miles of mountains, high moorland and wild land to cross in two weeks.

Wild Camping in the UK

Travelling light on an event like this has to be a priority. I will be using a Mariposa backpack for this trek and took it for a training walk in the English Lake District recently. The mountains here close to the coast rise steeply up from the valley floor and give the backpacker a stern test in preparation for the mountains of Scotland that await.

Lake District Sunset

The walk had tremendous vistas of the highest mountains in England with sunset views to make the cold high camp worth every effort to get to.

 Cloud inversion over Lake Coniston

The dawn had a cloud inversion over Lake Coniston and I was soon up and over the mountains walking high alone.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack in the Lake District

My Mariposa carried my equipment with sublime comfort. It was as comfortable as my old Gorilla Pack, but has more volume and pockets, which I soon found useful and can see this as a ideal pack for 3 season backpacking in the United Kingdom. It's light, durable and over rocky terrain climbing down rocky ridges it also proved to be stable. I have high hopes for this pack's performance on the upcoming walk with Grant and Philip. I am excited to meet up with my teammates and look forward to our upcoming journey together.

Submitted by Trail Ambassador Martin Rye

Welcome New Trail Ambassadors

Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassadors

Gossamer Gear welcomes 10 new Trail Ambassadors including Erin Saver, Dave Chenault, Liz Thomas, Martin Rye, Julie LePage, Rob Kelly, Christy Rosander, Jim Barbour, Paul Osborn and Vicky Mattson. Selected from hundreds of applicants, these individuals bring the total number of individuals in the Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Program to 48.

"The purpose of the Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Program", says Grant Sible, president of Gossamer Gear, "is to sponsor people who are passionate about growing the lightweight and ultralight backpacking community and are already doing it themselves by mentoring and teaching others hiking and backpacking skills."

Distributed throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, this new group of Trail Ambassadors brings a wealth of hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, packrafting, climbing and bikepacking experience to the Gossamer Gear community. In addition to their impressive hiking chops, they hold leadership and teaching positions with hiking clubs and outdoor organizations including the Appalachian Mountain Club, The Sierra Club, Leave No Trace, The Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America and Meetup.com.

For more information about the Trail Ambassador Program, please visit the program description and application page.

Please welcome these new Trail Ambassadors to the Gossamer Gear family!