Bothies in May: Know before you go

Phoebe Smith (author of Book of the Bothy) gives us some top tips for staying in bothies in May and suggests we all have a go joining a work party to help look after these wonderful buildings.

Bothies in May: the ideal time to visit a bothy

The mornings and evenings are lighter, the sun is starting to shine and midges are not yet out in full force – it can mean only one thing – the perfect time for a bothy adventure. From the Cairngorms to the Isle of Skye, Northumberland to the Pennines, Snowdonia to the Brecon Beacons, the UK is dotted with a network of over 100 bothies offering walkers and mountain bikers respite from the elements, for a snack stop, a lunch break or an overnighter. May – with two bank holiday weekends – is the obvious time to pack your rucksack and head for the hills. But do bear in mind it is also the time when the Mountain Bothies Association’s volunteers head out to undertake much-needed maintenance work on the buildings too, so you may not always be able to stay.

bothies in may: The Lookout Bothy Skye from Book of the Bothy

The Lookout Bothy on Skye. All photos by Neil S Price and from the Book of the Bothy.

Why not join a bothy work party?

Warnscale Head, Invermallie and Burleywhag are among those being worked on at different dates across the month – so do check out the MBA website before you go. Or better yet why not consider joining a work party this year? Volunteers are always welcome – you’ll get to meet like-minded people, spend time in some of the most beautiful places in the country and have the satisfaction of knowing that you contributed to looking after one of these wonderful shelters. Could there be a better way to spend a weekend? Not for me – I’ll be doing my bit – hope to see you there…


Phoebe Smith

Phoebe is award-winning editor of Wanderlust travel magazine and has written extensively for a range of newspapers and magazines, both in the UK and overseas, and is also the author of several books on wild camping. She was a finalist in the 2015 National Adventurer Awards, and in 2014 became the first woman to camp at all the extreme points of mainland Britain on consecutive nights.

View Articles and Books by Phoebe Smith

Get involved with Cicerone