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The Word of the Day comes from "LANDLINES" by Raynor Winn.


A BOTHY is an empty house used predominantly by walkers for accommodation and shelter in remote mountainous areas of Scotland, Northern England, Ulster and Wales.

There is even a Mountain Bothies Association and a Bothy code. Because the buildings are freely available to everybody, the maintenance and upkeep is usually performed by the Association and users.

Here are some points of the Bothy code from Wikipedia.

  • Bothies are used entirely at users' own risk.

  • Leave the bothy clean and tidy with dry kindling for the next visitors. Make other visitors welcome.

  • Report any damage to whoever maintains the bothy. Take out all rubbish which you cannot burn. Avoid burying rubbish; this pollutes the environment. Do not leave perishable food as this attracts vermin. Guard against fire risk and ensure the fire is out before you leave. Make sure the doors and windows are properly closed when you leave.

  • If there is no toilet at the bothy bury human waste out of sight and well away from the water supply; never use the vicinity of the bothy as a toilet.

  • Never cut live wood or damage estate property. Use fuel sparingly.

  • Large groups and long stays are to be discouraged – bothies are intended for small groups on the move in the mountains.

  • Respect any restrictions on use of the bothy, for example during stag stalking or at lambing time. Please remember bothies are available for short stays only. The owner's permission must be obtained if you intend an extended stay.

  • Because of overcrowding and lack of facilities, large groups (6 or more) should not use a bothy nor camp near a bothy without first seeking permission from the owner. Bothies are not available for commercial groups.

I am not sure how many of the bothies still exist and are used today, but I think they are a woderful idea, and invaluable to walkers and trekkers looking for a rest and shelter.

The origin of the word is a little vague. Ideas from Wikipedia include a relation to both "hut" as in Irish bothán and Scottish Gaelic bothan or bothag; a corruption of the Welsh term bwthyn, also meaning small cottage; and a derivation from Norse būð, cognate with English booth with a diminutive ending.

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