Bothies remain closed, except for emergency use. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Bothies remain closed, except for emergency use. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The charity that cares for more than 100 mountain shelters said they should only be used in an emergency.

The Mountain Bothies Association said the buildings are still closed, despite the lifting of some lockdown restrictions.

The association said: “MBA-maintained bothies in Scotland, England and Wales should not be used at present except in an emergency.

“This is because Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing, regular sanitising and wearing of face coverings might not be practised by some visitors which would put other people at risk irrespective of reducing rates of infection.”

MBA chairman Simon Birch said: “While we now have a timetable for when travel restrictions might be removed, there is as yet no firm information about when other restrictions that currently apply in the bothy situation – groups meeting indoors, social distancing, personal hygiene requirements etc – might be eased.

“So, for the moment the situation remains the same and regrettably therefore we have to repeat our advice that bothies should not be used.

“We fully understand that this will be disappointing news for many bothy users. However, I should like to reassure them that we are closely monitoring government announcements about further easing of restrictions throughout Great Britain and that it is our intention to make bothies available again, subject to appropriate precautions, just as soon as it is safe to do so.

“While we cannot at present put a date on when that will be, we’re looking forward to the day when we can fully resume our maintenance activities and when those who enjoy the wild and lonely places can once again visit these special buildings.”

The charity cares for 104 bothies in Great Britain, along with two emergency shelters. 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 Scotland, England and Wales for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

There are 85 MBA bothies in Scotland; 12 in northern England; and nine in Wales.

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