by Richard Hammond
For the avid walker or part time enthusiast, it's not easy to find decent accommodation in many of the UK's wilder places. For those that don't mind sacrificing creature comforts, thankfully there is a well developed network of cabins that offer the vital requirements – a roof, four walls and a dry floor - courtesy of the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA).
Since 1965, the MBA has been maintaining remote buildings that are in important positions along longer walking trails in Wales, Northern England and Scotland.
The bothies are without running water or electricity, though many are equipped with fireplaces (although fuel is not always provided). The shelters are unlocked and anyone can use them so long as they respect the Bothy Code. The Association asks that they leave the buildings as they would hope to find them, perhaps with additional preserves and maybe some fuel to welcome future guests. The MBA encourages people to respect the surroundings, making sure that watercourses are not polluted and that firewood is never cut from living trees.
No prior booking is needed to use the bothies. To ensure that there is room at the inn for any walker relying on the shelter of one of the bothies, groups of six or more are asked to look elsewhere.
The bothies are not owned by the MBA but fostered by the association through the encouragement of their owners. Any work on the bothies is financed through membership subscriptions or generous donations and is carried out by volunteers.
To find out more about the Mountain Bothy Association and the locations of their shelters, see the website of the Mountain Bothies Association.