A long walk and lunch at a bothy

Saturday’s weather was bright and clear, so I had planned a walk across the country that lies between Loch Fyneside and Loch Aweside, along an old drove road. The total walk distance was about 13 miles and gave me an opportunity to do some Geograph square-bagging and pick up a few more points. This geographing is becoming a mild, if positive, obsession and recommended to anyone with a camera and an enjoyment of maps and the great outdoors.
Anyway, back to the walk. The first few miles were on good forestry roads through woods where the snow had lain un-trod since Thursday.

It was crisp and icy underfoot where the sun had not got to it. After a few miles, there was an unprepossessing post by the road where a right-of-way marker was attached, pointing down what appeared to be a stream. This is one of the problems of navigating in Argyll forests; the Forestry Commission build massive new roads that simply don’t exist on the map and many of the older tracks are overgrown/disused/returned to nature and can’t be found with any ease on the ground. Such was the case here; the forest road had followed the line of the old drove road for a few miles, and when the old route was no longer of any interest to the road, it discarded it and swept off into the hills on its own account.
This section of the drove road was little more than a stream, with extensive boggy sections that forced minor detours through snowy ground.

Careful observation of the map showed that the route was taking the right shape in terms of slope and direction and seemed to be heading towards the glen of the River Add, so I followed it. Eventually it came out of the forest and into an area of rivers and rough pasture where once a few cottages and farms had stood and where a bothy had been created out of the ruins of the old farmstead. The bridge over the river was of some substantial construction, which demonstrates how, up here, roads can fall into disuse and almost disappear into the landscape.

The bothy itself was a surprise; I had no idea it was up here and within walking distance of The Chookery. It has a working fireplace, a bench for sleeping on, tables and benches and is wind- and weather-proof. The views across the hills are gorgeous. To my surprise, it is well-visited, mostly by local trail-riding groups, but also by independant walkers and even locals who come to get some solitude for a night. It is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association, who are rightly cautious about advertising the location of their bothies and I shan’t say more about the location than I have already. Still, lunch here out of the wind and sat at a table, which was more than I expected today.
Onwards up the hill into the wild country and following the drove road which is used by stalking traffic; mainly ATVs because even 4x4s would have trouble on some sections of this.

Back home to The Chookery just after sunset and a total of five hours on the hills.
A word about the diabetes. I found I needed to eat just about every hour to keep my energy levels up and, on getting home, my blood sugar had dropped to a personal record low of 4.4 mmol/l. I am really going to have to watch how I manage my blood sugar and energy when walking now; will have to pack more in the way of trail-mix or packets of oatcakes that I can keep nibbling en route. It’s also a fact that I haven’t done much in the way of exercise for a few weeks and this was a big walk for a relatively unfit diabetic, so not too surprising that it took a good meal from the loving hands of Her Maj and a couple of hours crashed in front of the telly before I felt more myself again.
Anyway, that’s a long ramble about a ramble, and I hope you enjoy the illustrations as well.


2 Responses to “A long walk and lunch at a bothy”

  1. Jude Says:

    Well, I just learned a new word – and was surprised to find that ‘bothy’ is actually in my Australian edition dictionary. Here we talk about ‘shacks’ – probably because such buildings tend to be quite ramshackle – while in NZ they use the word ‘batch’.

    Sounded like an enjoyable walk. Hope you get to go there again.

  2. Pat the Chooks Says:

    Jude, glad you enjoyed the post. Bothies are an almost mythical part of outdoor expeditions in Scotland; known to the cognescenti and some have a legend of their own. I haven’t stayed in one yet, but I plan to take my kids on an overnight expedition there one day when they come to visit.

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