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Bothies are shelters that are made of stone or wood, with basic facilities like wood-cooking stoves and toilets. Most, if not all, of them are free, making them a popular spot for hikers across the UK, especially in Scotland.
These are usually managed by the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) which makes sure they are being looked after. We’ve listed the best bothies in Scotland which could serve as a good pick if you’re planning to stay the night somewhere off the grid!
Address: Lairg, IV24 3BS, UK
Once a schoolhouse from the 1920s to 1930s, this bothy is found along the Cape Wrath Trail near Knockdamph Bothy. Although this has been renovated since then, it still has a wood-panelled classroom with desks and a blackboard.
There are three rooms which can accommodate up to five people who want to stay overnight.
Fun fact: you’ll find the complete works of Shakespeare in their mini library!
If you’re up for a quick soak, the River Einig is close to the bothy.
Contact details: +44 197 150 2220
Address: Lairg, IV27 4NZ, UK
Found at the head of Loch Glencoul, the Glencoul Bothy is a small accommodation with two rooms and a common area with a fireplace.
Getting to the bothy is notoriously known as one of the hardest climbs on the Cape Wrath Trail – but it’s worth the effort with the gorgeous views of the loch and its nearby mountains.
You can even walk to the Eas a Chual Aluinn, the highest waterfall in the UK with a drop of 200 metres, which is a few metres away from the bothy.
If you’re planning to stay during the stalking season, which runs from August to October, the owners require you to call them first.
Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy
Contact details: +44 154 065 1212
Address: Kingussie, PH21 1NX, UK
Found in Glen Feshie in Cairngorms National Park, Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy is owned by Wildland Limited. Renovated in 2017, it now offers two wood-burning stoves and a nearby toilet.
This site is the neighbouring bothy where 19th-century landscape painter Edwin Landseer created the preliminary sketches of his famous painting, Monarch of the Glen.
Although there’s wood supplied, it should be sawn up – you’ll find the saw inside the bothy.
Address: Spean Bridge, PH34 4EL, UK
Glenpean Bothy is an off-the-grid location that has lovely 360 views of the surrounding Glen. It has sleeping platforms on both levels and wood-burning stoves.
From this site, you can go to River Pean, connected to Loch Arkaig on the east and Loch Morar on the west.
While you can’t drive to the Glenpean Bothy, it only takes around 2 hours to hike it from Strathan, Spean Bridge.
Address: Lairg, IV27 4QQ, UK
If you want to be close to white-sand beaches, the Kearvaig Bothy is a great pick since it’s located near Kearvaig Bay. Plus, you’ll get gorgeous mountain views with the highest cliffs in Britain, Clò Mòr.
Apart from beautiful views, you’ll see lots of bird species around the area like razorbills and puffins, especially during summer.
Since the bothy is close to the Ministry of Defense’s (MOD) firing range, we recommend checking the government’s website for firing schedules to ensure that it’s safe to stay on your preferred day.
The Lookout Bothy (Rubha Hunish)
Address: Rubha Hunish, Isle of Skye, Portree, IV51, UK
Found at the tip of the Isle of Skye, the Lookout Bothy (a.k.a. Rubha Hunish) stays true to its name, offering stunning panoramic views of your surroundings. Once a coastguard watch station, it was turned into a bothy in the mid-70s.
This shelter can only accommodate up to three people and has no stoves or drinking water.
There may be no water on the bothy – but you can get some from the nearby Trotternish Art Gallery.
Taigh Thormoid Dhuibh Bothy
Address: Raasay, Kyle, UK
Located on the 14-mile-long Isle of Raasay, the Taigh Thormoid Dhuibh Bothy has stunning views of the craggy peninsulas and surrounding islands. It was originally built as a crofter’s cottage but is now a shelter often used by hikers of the isle.
Bring your own stock of water since there’s none available the bothy.
Address: A87, Kyle, IV40 8HQ, UK
Dubbed one of the most stunning sections of Cape Wrath Trail, the Camban Bothy is found between the Kintail mountains.
Re-established in the 20th century as a shelter in memory of two mountaineers that died in a climbing accident, this bothy has two large rooms which can accommodate up to eight people.
Don’t forget to clean up after yourself as a form of respect to the next people who are going to use them.
Ben Alder Bothy
Address: Dalwhinnie, PH30 4AA, UK
If you’re up for something a wee spooky, stay the night at the Ben Alder Bothy. Remotely located a few miles away from the nearest public road, this shelter is notorious for ghoul sightings!
It fits up to six brave (living) souls with bunk beds for your comfort. It’s near Loch Ericht so you can soak in the beautiful views the next morning after a spine-chilling evening.
Although there’s a wood-burning stove provided, you’ll need to bring your supply of firewood.
Contact details: +44 133 974 1669
Address: Mar Lodge Estate, Braemar, UK
Built in 1877 for an anonymous deer watcher, the Corrour Bothy is now used as a base for most hikers who are going munro bagging. It has a composting toilet and a room that can sleep up to three people.
To get here by foot, park your vehicle at the Linn of Dee car park or at the Lower Cairngorm Ski Centre Car Park. From there, it’s an 11-kilometre walk to reach the bothy, found at the foot of the Devil’s Point.
Address: Achnasheen, IV23 2QN, UK
Nestled between majestic Munros (Best Munros Scotland) in Scotland, Shenavall Bothy is a great base if you want to hike any of these tall mountains: Sgurr Ban, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Beinn Tarsuinn and more.
It sleeps up to eight people with the bedroom upstairs and a common area on the ground floor. Since it’s in the middle of a spacious area, you can try camping outside the bothy if it’s full.
To get here, park first at a long layby by Corrie Hallie on the A832. It’s an 8-kilometre walk to reach the shelter.
Contact details: +44 197 150 2220
Address: Lairg, IV27 4NZ, UK
Owned by the Reay Forest Estate, the Glendhu has a more modern touch compared to most mountain bothies, with three bedrooms and a large common area. Believe it or not, this shelter used to be storage space for deer carcasses!
It’s next to an old stalker’s cottage and has a great view of the nearby loch where seals are often spotted bathing.
The easiest way to hike to this bothy is from Kylestrom since it’s by a 4×4 track compared to trekking north from Inchnadamph on the Cape Wrath Trail.
Address: Ullapool, IV26 2XQ, UK
Knockdamph meaning ‘Stag Hill’ is an old bothy dating back to the early 1800s. It’s found at the head of Loch an Daimh and is often used as a shelter for hikers who are traversing the Cape Wrath Trail.
There are two large communal rooms with fireplaces in this shelter. If you’re lucky, you might hear the chilling cry of the wild stags that sometimes roam around the area.
Since some beds are quite dated, it’s best to bring your sleeping bag and pillow for added comfort.