The association looks after more than 100 bothies. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The association looks after more than 100 bothies. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The charity that cares for more than 100 mountain shelters has boosted its membership by 18 per cent.

The Mountain Bothies Association also spent its largest ever amount on maintaining the huts during 2018.

The association also took over responsibility for the remote Garbh Choire refuge, a small emergency shelter in the Cairngorms that will accommodate only four people.

Membership of the charity rose to more than 4,300. Most of the MBA’s income comes from membership fees as all the bothies it looks after are free to use.

Spending on bothy maintenance, carried out by volunteers in its working parties, increased about 30 per cent to more than £108,000.

Trustees of the charity praised the work of its volunteer members in the MBA’s annual report. They said the organisation’s finances are in a healthy state.

Mosedale Cottage bothy in the Lake District, where new sleeping platforms have been installed. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mosedale Cottage bothy in the Lake District, where new sleeping platforms have been installed. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Another initiative was the translation of the bothy code into several European languages for the benefit of the many oversees visitors who use the shelters but may not be familiar with the concept of the huts and the rules for users. The bothies are very different from the Alpine huts found in western Europe.

Helena Webster, in charge of the Camasunary bothy on Skye, said: “The bothy is busy with people walking the Skye Trail, many of whom are Europeans.

“When I spoke to them they asked about the MBA and then compared it to the equivalent in their own countries.

“It became clear that our European visitors were not familiar with the bothy code and in some cases their English was not fluent enough to understand the notices pinned up in the bothy. Hence the idea for a multilingual bothy code notice.

“I approached some of my relatives and friends for the Dutch and German translations and then asked for help via the MBA Facebook page. Within a couple of days I had Polish, French and Spanish translations too.”

The sign is now on display at all the bothies in the north-west Highlands and Islands and several others.

The MBA was established in 1965. With the consent and support of their owners, it undertakes the restoration and maintenance of a number of old cottages, huts and similar buildings throughout the wilder parts of Scotland, England and Wales for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

All of the restoration and maintenance work is undertaken by volunteers and is financed by member subscriptions and by donations.

The annual report and other information on the charity can be found on the Mountain Bothies Association website.

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