What is a Bothy?

Bothies and bothying have been described as many things. Holiday homes they are not. Camping without a tent is closer to the mark, though lots of things can be useful in a bothy that have no place in a tent, such as candles or a line for drying socks from.


When going to a bothy, it is important to assume that there will be no facilities. No tap, no sink, no beds, no lights, and, even if there is a fireplace, perhaps nothing to burn. Bothies may have a simple sleeping platform, but if busy you might find that the only place to sleep is on a stone floor. You will need to make your own arrangement for water and should be aware that there may not be a suitable supply near the bothy. If there is no fire then on a cold night you may have trouble staying warm. The great majority of nights in Britain are on the cool side and remember that most bothies are up in the hills. Few bothies have toilet facilities apart from a spade and the advice is that you should walk at least a couple of hundred metres from the bothy and 60metres from the water supply before excavations and evacuations commence. If all this sounds rather rough, you are beginning to get the picture. Your comforts have to be carried in.

So what do you need? Start with all of the equipment you would take when camping except the tent. For the rest, you’ll learn what’s useful as you go along.

© 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