Bothies, Huts & Howffs in the Hills

bothies-cover-12NEW BOOK – Bothies are basic shelters in remote corners of the countryside, a home from home in the hills for walkers, backpackers, mountain bikers and others who love spending time in the great outdoors.

Scotland has a long tradition of bothying and, while the better known ones are easily found, one of the great pleasures of exploring the nation’s mountains and glens is stumbling upon one for the first time – and finding the door open.

This guide takes some of the guesswork out of the equation, listing unlocked habitable shelters, ranging from comfortable, well-equipped bothies suitable for overnight stays to simple wooden huts and howffs offering protection from the elements, a place to break for lunch or a bolthole in an emergency.

Covering Perthshire and Angus, the fully illustrated guide details the location of each bothy, hut or howff by grid reference, offers advice on how to reach it and outlines what to expect upon arrival. Available as a paperback and ebook from

Gleann Taitneach Bridge Down


The bridge spanning the river in Gleann Taitneach (NO 088723), north-west of Spittal of Glenshee, is currently out of use. The wooden deck has gone, rendering the crossing unusable.

It is thought that part of the deck was washed out while the remainder was removed by the landowner, the Invercauld Estate, in the interests of safety. The bridge offered a useful link for walkers following core paths up Gleann Taitneach, across to Glen Lochsie and then back down the Dalmunzie House driveway, a circuit that is now only possible for those brave enough to wade across a stretch of river with no natural crossing points.

The Cairngorm National Park Authority is aware of the issue and is currently liaising with the estate on its plans for a replacement.


Kilbo Bothy Rebuilt


It has been a good few years since I last ventured into the wild upper reaches of Glen Prosen. If memory services, I passed through on a descent from Driesh via the Kilbo Path, emerging from forestry to cross Prosen Water by an old metal girder slung across the tumbling flow before resting by the remnants of Kilbo Bothy, a former shelter used by shepherds.

Hiking up the glen the other day, en route to Craigie Thieves and the hills on the south side of the valley, I discovered a completely different scene to the one I remembered. Not only has the forestry flanking the Kilbo Path on King’s Seat been felled but Kilbo Bothy (NO 249707) has risen from its ruins, rebuilt as a shelter and lunch hut for shooting and stalking parties. And, where once the old girder offered a crossing point, there is now a wooden bridge, linking tracks that run further up the glen, serving a hydro development.

The new bothy, which is securely locked and shuttered, stands on the footprint of the old refuge and incorporates much of its stone while the outlines of adjoining enclosures remain. In addition to the main building, a timber-clad lean-to has been added at the back, housing toilets and a small kitchen.

According to Cairngorms National Park Authority documents, Glenprosen Estate received planning permission for the project in March 2012. Work was complete by the end of 2015. A photo of ruined Kilbo can be found here.


Corrour Station Appeal

As part of a research project I am attempting to make contact with former station masters (or relatives/descendants of former station masters) who worked at Corrour Station on the West Highland Line.
The station – initially a private halt for the Corrour Estate – opened in 1894 and was manned up until 1988.
All information gratefully received.

C1. Corrour Station, gateway to Rannoch Moor  - James Carron

Angus Coastal Trail

cover03 copyAfter devoting the summer of 2012 to the Angus Glens, I spent much of this year exploring the county’s shoreline, hiking the coastal path between Broughty Ferry and Montrose and discovering some real gems along the way. The fruits of these labours have now come to fruition in the publication of Angus Coastal Trail.

The linear route is 68km in length, although there are plenty of detours and distractions as the trail progresses north.

From the Firth of Tay, the mouth of Scotland’s longest river, sandy beaches, backed by a gently rolling grassy hinterland, give way to more rugged and dramatic scenery.

Beyond Arbroath, spectacular cliffs, interspersed with craggy coves, secret caves and unique geological features, rise from the insistent ebb and flow of the tide. Beyond the cliff top village of Auchmithie, the coastline reaches its highest point at Red Head, a towering sandstone promontory.

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

Carlingheugh Bay, near Arbroath

The terrain softens again, the forgotten hamlets of Ethie Haven and Corbie Knowe lying at the southern end of Lunan Bay, a sweep of golden sand. However, a more exposed and inhospitable stretch of shoreline leads round the coast to Scurdie Ness lighthouse, standing guard over the entrance to the county’s busiest port, Montrose.

The trail can either be walked in its entirety or the various sections can be undertaken as day walks.

Fully illustrated, Angus Coastal Trail includes clear mapping and a wealth of background history, geography and wildlife information, plus practical advice on accommodation, public transport and places to eat.

The book is currently available from Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps. Click here. However a paperback is on its way soon…

Camping in Glen Mark

IMG_7292After years of sterling service my trusty Phoenix Phlighter backpacking tent has finally given up the ghost. Patched and re-patched (there are patches over the patches!), the time had come to accept that retiral was long overdue. So, with the Phoenix put out to pasture and unlikely to rise from its ashes, I scouted about for a replacement. I wanted something inexpensive to tide me over the summer and opted to give the Hi Gear Soloista a go. At just £19.99 from Go Outdoors it made but a small dent in my gear budget. Read more…