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Mountain bothies in 'wild and lonely places' in the Highlands and Islands must not be used until clear Covid–19 guidance is issued


By Louise Glen

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Corriemulzie Estate bothie.
Corriemulzie Estate bothie.

The Mountain Bothie Association (MBA) has issued a statement reminding walkers that bothies should not be used, other than in an emergency during Covid–19 restrictions.

The association, that runs bothies in Scotland, England and Wales said until clear guidance was available from government, use of the bothies would put other people at risk.

It said this was because Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing, regular sanitising and wearing of face coverings might not be practised by some visitors which would put other people at risk irrespective of reducing rates of infection.

MBA chairman Simon Birch said: “While we now have a timetable for when travel restrictions might be removed, there is as yet no firm information about when other restrictions that currently apply in the bothy situation- groups meeting indoors, social distancing, personal hygiene requirements etc- might be eased.

"So for the moment the situation remains the same and regrettably therefore we have to repeat our advice that bothies should not be used.

“We fully understand that this will be disappointing news for many bothy users. However, I should like to reassure them that we are closely monitoring government announcements about further easing of restrictions throughout Great Britain and that it is our intention to make bothies available again, subject to appropriate precautions, just as soon as it is safe to do so.

“While we cannot at present put a date on when that will be, we’re looking forward to the day when we can fully resume our maintenance activities and when those who enjoy the wild and lonely places can once again visit these special buildings.”

The MBA is a charity, established in 1965, with around 4,300 members. With the consent and support of their owners, it undertakes the restoration and maintenance of old cottages, huts and similar buildings throughout the wilder parts of Scotland, England and Wales for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. It currently maintains 104 bothies and two emergency shelters, 85 in Scotland, 12 in northern England and 9 in Wales.

The work of the association was recognised by a Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2015.

To read more about bothies click here.


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