New bothy for Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is on track for a new MBA bothy – the former keeper’s cottage at Ruighe Ealasaid, often referred to as Red House (NO 002869).

An empty shell of a building, Ruighe Ealasaid, which sits by the Geldie Burn, was built in the early 19th century to house a shepherd and his family. Following land clearances, it was remodelled as a gamekeeper’s cottage but was abandoned in the first half of the 20th century and was used as a bothy until it deteriorated to the point where it was no longer habitable or safe.

A wooden shed to the rear has long since disappeared (I recall in the mid 1980s spending a night sheltering under the corrugated iron roof of the shed which, with the walls gone, had been fashioned into a makeshift bothy) and the cottage – so called because of its red corrugated iron roof – now sits derelict. In 2000 work was undertaken to repair and stabilise the structure and, after a lengthy period of uncertainty over its future, it now looks highly likely that it will be adopted by the MBA.

The association has been holding talks with the Mar Lodge Estate (owned by the National Trust for Scotland), plans are in the process of being drawn up and, if approved, work is due to begin later this year (2017).

For a picture of Ruighe Ealasaid, click here.

Comment accepted but a very worthwhile project, whenever it comes to fruition.

 

 

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 amazon.co.uk

Gleann Taitneach Bridge Down

gleann-taitneach-bridge

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

kilbo-bothy

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 & Dundee walks

Working on a new project – a book of 40 short walks in Angus and Dundee due to be published in Spring 2011 by Pocket Mountains. Currently undertaking route research – flitting back and forth across the county in the trusty Rover (trusty that is apart from periodic electrical problems and a broken exhaust which has on occasion required the acquisition of a rather more reliable Corsa).

Auchintaple Loch, Glen Isla

I live right on the doorstep of Angus and I thought I knew the county pretty well but I have been discovering some real hidden gems. Venturing into the upper reaches of Glen Mark, beyond the Queen’s Well, was a particularly memorable outing as I managed to find the elusive Balnamoon’s Cave while Glen Isla provided some great little hikes, including an ascent of Mount Blair in perfect weather and a wonderful trek to Auchintaple Loch. Despite some disappointing weather, the research is going well and I am hoping to have all 40 routes walked and written by the end of September. Will keep you posted on progress…

Elie Chainwalk Re-opens

The Elie Chainwalk

Great news – the Elie Chainwalk in Fife has been repaired and re-opened following the extensive damage it sustained in April 2010. Around two thirds of the chains were cut and stolen, leaving much of the walk out of action.

Fife Council’s Bill Wilson said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm that the work on repairing the Chain Walk is now complete. I would like to thank all those who have supported and encouraged the restoration of this unique coastal feature. I hope the Chain Walk will continue to thrill and challenge future generations of Fifers and Fife visitors for many years to come.”

Rock work specialists CAN, carried out the £8000 restoration work, which incorporates heavier fittings. 

For an article on the unique chain walk, click here.