MBA chairman Simon Birch watches as Bernard and Betty Heath cut the anniversary cake. Photo: Richard Spencer/MBA

MBA chairman Simon Birch watches as Bernard and Betty Heath cut the anniversary cake. Photo: Richard Spencer/MBA

The man who founded the organisation that looks after Britain’s mountain shelters joined members to celebrate the charity’s 50th anniversary.

Bernard Heath cut a cake at a gathering in Newtonmore to mark the Mountain Bothies Association’s 50 years, helped by his wife Betty who is also a member.

The MBA’s first restoration project was at Tunskeen in the Galloway Forest, undertaken by Bernard Heath and his friends. The association now looks after almost 100 bothies in Scotland, Wales and England.

Mr and Mrs Heath said: “We are both thrilled and greatly honoured to cut the cake.

“We can’t believe such an ocean of time has gone by since that so well remembered inaugural meeting in Dalmellington in 1965. We wondered then where the MBA would go and are so pleased that it has thrived. We hope that it goes on for ever.”

The charity and has about 3,700 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 Britain for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Many of the buildings that are cared for by the MBA would otherwise have become derelict.

All of the restoration and maintenance work is undertaken by volunteers and is financed entirely by member subscriptions and by donations. In 2014, the Association spent more than £44,000 on maintenance activities at 59 bothies and volunteers contributed over 1,152 working days.

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