The new tiny bothy at Flittingford in the Kielder Forest. Photo: MBA

The new tiny bothy at Flittingford in the Kielder Forest. Photo: MBA

Volunteers spent the equivalent of almost four years’ working days on Britain’s bothies in 2016.

The Mountain Bothies Association, which looks after about 100 rudimentary shelters in the hills of Scotland, Wales and England, said it spent more than £85,000 on the work, a rise of more than a third.

Among highlights outlined in its annual review are the opening of the new bothy at Camasunary on Skye, work on a new shelter at Cae Amos in Wales and Flittingford, a tiny lost ruin in the Kielder Forest that was only discovered during tree felling, and which accommodates only three people.

More than 100 work parties were undertaken by the MBA’s volunteers, with 257 different people devoting a total of 1,404 days’ work.

Agreement for a new bothy at Abyssinia near Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll was secured, and the association’s income, raised entirely from its members and donors, grew 10 per cent to more than £157,000.

Chairman Simon Birch said: “After the excitement of our anniversary year in 2015, we anticipated a somewhat quieter year in 2016 but instead have delivered over 100 work parties and continued an immense amount of bothy maintenance which, after all, is what we exist to do.

“We have continued to maintain strong working relationships with all landowners and greatly appreciate their support and generosity without which the association would not exist.

“We are a volunteer-run organisation and large numbers have been involved in work parties and in running the association. A huge thank you to them all.”

The MBA owns only one of the bothies it looks after. The others are under the ownership of a range of individuals and organisations, including the Queen, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, National Trust for Scotland, the Ministry of Defence, Forestry Commission and United Utilities.

The bothies are available for walkers, mountain bikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts without charge, for overnight stays. Users are expected to follow the Bothy Code.