• Jonny Hawkins

Bothies By Boat

Updated: May 5

We are incredibly lucky to have an organisation called the Mountain Bothy Association (MBA) that looks after a quirky selection of remote bothies across the UK. These rage from leaky piles of stones to luxury Scandie-chic cabins. They are free to stay in but carry a code of conduct to help us protect them for the benefit of future visitors. Many of these can be easily accessed by water but some require a bit more enthusiasm to get to. I have listed some of my favourite Scottish bothy trips in order of ease of access...

shiant, islands, bothy, sea kayak
Rich hanging out in a bothy in the middle of the Minch

Schoolhouse Bothy - About as roadside as it gets and conveniently at the get on for an absolute belter of a river. This old highland school marks the get off for the Coramulzie and Rappach Water and the get on to the River Einig, a legendary remote run deep in a beautiful gorge. Combine a secluded night away with some quality white water!

river, einig, 99 with a flake, kayak, whitewater
Richard enjoying a sweet line on the River Einig after a night spent in the Schoolhouse Bothy

Craig - This bothy started life as a shepard's house, before being adopted by the SYHA and subsequently the MBA. It can be reached via a 5km sea paddle from Lower Diabeg or visited as part of a longer journey along Scotland's stunning NW coastline. It is well kitted out with a toilet, crockery and beds that would have been top of the range some point in time.

craig, bothy, sea kayak, scotland
Bruce and Jonny about to hunker down in Craig bothy during a trip paddling round Scotland.

Ruigh Aiteachain - This is the Palouse Falls, Hurley, Upper Dart of bothies. Set in the stunning Glen Feshie, it nestles among mature Scotts Pines with the bubbling River Feshie flowing close by. The bothy hosts two wood burning stoves, a magnificent toilet and cosy pine clad interiors. A trip that I would love to do is to portage/trolly up to the bothy, spend a luxurious night as the heavens open and paddle back to Feshiebrige the next day.

Ed Smith, kayak, surf, glen feshie, kayaking, whitewater
Ed enjoying surfing one of the brilliant waves on a high water Feshie

Carnmor - This wild and remote bothy is perfectly geared up for access with a canoe or touring kayak as long as you can see the funny side of a 6km, 750m height gain portage. This isn't maintained by the MBA and what is lacks in flooring, certainly makes up for in situation. Below the imposing Carnmor cliffs, on the banks of the picturesque Fionn Loch you are slap bang in the middle of beautiful no-where. To make the portage worthwhile, you can continue your trip along Fionn Loch to paddle the Little Gruinard or take the more energetic route to Aultbea.

canoe, portage, fionn loch, carnmor, expedition
Sean checking progress during the long portage up and over to Fionn Loch

Findouran - No pain, no gain. If 12km portages with overnight gear and 50km of grade 3(5) is you cup of tea, this trip is a must. Wait for the stars to align and go get it :)

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of options but I hope it has wetted your appetite. I'd be excited to hear about your own Boat to Bothy missions or I hope this has inspired you to go on one for the first time :)


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