Members of 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers at work on the new bothy. Photo: Major Iain Lamont

Members of 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers at work on the new bothy. Photo: Major Iain Lamont

A replacement bothy is being built on the Isle of Skye after the present shelter owner decided he needed to take the existing shelter back for his own use.

Members of the Royal Engineers have constructed the building at Camasunary, and volunteers from the Mountain Bothies Association will fit out the bothy internally.

Alan Johnson, who owns the existing bothy about a kilometre away, said walkers and climbers will be able to use it until the new building is brought into use.

The MBA said Mr Johnson has been the driving force behind the project. A spokesperson for the charity, which looks after but does not own most of the shelters in its care, said Mr Johnson was concerned that when he resumed his own use of the building, there would be no basic accommodation available in the area for those who had enjoyed the bothy in the past and those who would visit the area in the future.

He expects to take the building back in late 2015, once the new bothy, built by 59 Commando Squadron of the Royal Engineers, has been fitted out by the MBA.

Mr Johnson said: “I am pleased to have been able to work with the MBA and 59 Squadron to provide this replacement bothy.

“It is a magnificent stone building, designed and built to withstand the area’s rugged climate.

“The last time I stayed in the existing bothy, there were folk there from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France, England, Wales and Scotland, all at the same time. The new bothy will serve the same purpose and will, I have no doubt, bring much pleasure to very many people from all over the world.”

MBA trustee and owner liaison officer Roger Muhl said: “The new bothy is a fine example of the generosity shown by a number of landowners towards the MBA and bothy users.

“The existing bothy at Camasunary is one of the most popular of the buildings that we maintain, both for day visits and overnight stays.

“A number of people got in touch with the association when it was first rumoured that the existing bothy would be closing, expressing concern at the loss of this much valued bothy.

“The MBA is pleased that, thanks to the generosity of Alan Johnson, these concerns can now be set aside.”

Major Iain Lamont, commanding officer of 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, added: “We were absolutely delighted to be involved. Building the new bothy was exactly the arduous training opportunity that I was looking for.

“We have really been tested, working hard, isolated, and battered by the weather. I’m over the moon that the walking and mountaineering community will benefit from it in years to come.”

The new bothy is on the east side of the bay at Camasunary in the shadow of the munro Blàbheinn.

Bothies are available to walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and other outdoor fans free of charge overnight, subject to the Bothies Code.