A bothy in the Scottish Highlands

A bothy in the Scottish Highlands

The body that looks after Britain’s mountain shelters has issued a plea to companies not to use the buildings without permission.

The Mountain Bothies Association said today in a statement that there is evidence that some of the remote shelters they maintain are being used for commercial activities. It points out that it does not own the buildings and, if companies or commercial organisations want to use the bothies, they must have the owners’ consent.

Bothies are often in wilderness areas, mostly in Scotland but a few in England and Wales, that are available for walkers and mountaineers to use free of charge. Use by commercial organisations means that there may not be space for walkers who want to use the buildings legitimately.

Neil Stewart of the MBA said: “From time to time, there is evidence, either in the form of actual use or in advertising, that some of these bothies are being used by commercial organisations as overnight accommodation for their clients. Such use is not a permitted activity under our agreements with the owners of these buildings unless that owner has given specific permission.

“Unauthorised commercial use of bothies places the good relations that the MBA has with the owners under some strain and may even result in closure of a bothy.

“It is also unfair to legitimate users arriving at the bothy who may have difficulty finding space, being made unwelcome or even rejected as has happened in some cases.”

If commercial organisations want to use bothies, they must contact the owner beforehand. In most cases, the MBA said, this would be the estate owner.

“Organisations having difficulty finding bothy owner contact details can send a message with appropriate details to the MBA website and we will try to help,” Mr Stewart said.

More than 100 bothies are currently in the care of the MBA, which was founded in 1965. The buildings, former cottages, huts and similar buildings, are maintained and repaired by the association’s volunteers for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Many of the buildings that are cared for by the MBA would otherwise have become derelict.

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