First Time at a Bothy?

A bothy was originally farm accommodation for itinerant workers; now a bothy is an open shelter usually in a remote location where travellers might have need of four walls and a roof. Most bothies are old cottages and at least several hours walk from the public road.

You can’t. We don’t have a booking system. Bothies are open for anyone to use. Just turn up. People using a bothy must expect others to arrive looking for shelter and make room for them if that happens. We advise that you should consider taking a tent if you intend using a bothy in a popular area.

No charges are made for using any bothy in our care. MBA maintained bothies are free at the point of use. We have, however, been known to accept donations from grateful patrons.

You should only expect to find a wind and waterproof building with somewhere dry to sleep. Some bothies have a sleeping platform but at many you have to sleep on a wooden or concrete floor. Most have a fireplace or stove that can be used to provide warmth but you will usually need to carry fuel in. You will also need to take a stove for cooking and candles for light. Water comes from a stream or spring nearby. Do not expect the bothy to have toilet facilities; you will need to use the spade provided. Leave the bothy clean and tidy and don’t forget to shut all doors and windows.

There is an Ordnance Survey map showing the bothy location plus a note of the grid reference on each bothy page on this site. Bothies are mostly situated in remote countryside and you must ensure that you are able to correctly use a map and compass before setting out. You should also note that there is unlikely to be a mobile phone signal at many bothies.

We maintain about 100 bothies to keep them wind and watertight. We only own one of the bothies that we maintain, the others are maintained by agreement with the landowner.

No, MBA maintained bothies are open to anyone who needs the shelter.

Now and again the owner of a particular bothy may impose restrictions on the use of their property, such as during the deer stalking season in Scotland or during lambing. Details are published in our Member’s Handbook and are noted in the Bothies section of this website, or you can contact the estate concerned directly. MBA asks people using bothies always to respect any requests made by the owner. Planned overnight stays by commercial groups are not permitted.

There are no direct benefits to members of the MBA. People join the association to support our maintenance work – either financially through their subscription or by joining work parties. At present every member gets a copy of the Member’s Handbook when joining and four newsletters a year.

MBA relies heavily on member’s subscriptions to continue its work. This is our main source of income. So the first thing we spend your subscription on is materials and other things like transport costs and safety gear that support the actual work on bothies. Part of your subscription goes to provide the newsletters, the website and other services we provide to our members. We also have to manage the association and this includes insurance, bookkeeping services, producing the annual report and other governance costs, such as fair elections and hiring venues for open meetings.

We welcome assistance in both the maintenance work and to help run the Association. Meetings at all levels are as far as possible advertised beforehand in the newsletter and on this website. Unless there is a special reason for privacy we welcome people who want to come and listen. Work parties are also regularly advertised (see below). You can also help by reporting the condition of Bothies you visit, especially if you notice any problems. Contact details should be in all Bothies, and you can make a report on this website.

Yes, but it must be kept under close control at all times. Other visitors will not appreciate your dog begging for, or stealing, their food, or toileting inappropriately, or otherwise annoying them.

No. Bothies are for the use of walkers and cyclists. Roads and tracks leading to bothies are private and vehicle use is forbidden.

© Copyright Mountain Bothies Association, Edenbank House, 22 Crossgate, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5HW
Mountain Bothies Association is a charity registered in Scotland, no. SC008685 and a company limited by guarantee and registered in Scotland, no. SC191425