Starting point: Kinloch Starting point: Rannoch Station A hard walk (mountain (above 600m)) in Highland, Scotland, about 44.70km (27.78 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 15:30h (1 overnight stay). For our group, circumstances meant that on the day we divided into two parties, Johnny and I going in mid-afternoon, with Frank, Bill and Donald starting three hours behind. Ben Alder sits proudly in the middle of the Grampian Mountains. Nature safari on Ben Alder. The walk follows the only road on the isle, which eventually splits into north and south directions about halfway through the walk. It was 2045 before Bill was settled down, Johnny’s torchlight disappeared into the gloom and Donald went back down to the bothy to finish his meal, promising to bring back some hot soup and coffee. All very simple points to many experienced walkers. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. At one point a boat was mentioned, I selfishly perked up at the thought of a lift back in a powerboat to a fire, food, dry clothes and some plasters for my badly bleeding feet. Trevor's Blog – Select topic then scroll down. EVERYONE venturing into the Scottish hills,not only the mountains should read your story for these reasons: Frank said, “blow the whistle every 3 minutes”. And so the long wait and much thinking. Ben Alder is one of the most remote Munros. A bothy is a simple shelter found in remote areas of Scotland. Suddenly, I was awake, sure that I could hear a helicopter coming up the loch, I scrambled out of my bivvy, only to be disappointed when I realised that the sound was Frank snoring, giving a creditable imitation of a Sea King at cruising speed. ben alder bothy question. Shortly after 3am, about six hours after Johnny had set out; I heard it,  the gorgeous sound, the ‘M.A.S.H.’ sound. Heavy rain earlier that morning meant that the river beside the bothy was in full flow, so the little timber bridge beside the bothy was very welcome, even a little scary to cross as the water thundered below, and, as the first to arrive, we had our pick of the accommodation, spread our gear out and soon had a fire going. Near the bothy we saw a few people heading for the hills in different directions, but soon we were on our own.. It seemed that Bill had stepped over a boulder and put his foot down a concealed hole in the peat; Frank thought that it was a simple below the knee fracture and he reported that Bill was fully conscious, in a secure position and not in unbearable discomfort. But what would the outcome have been if your story had involved inexperienced walkers. Time to get your luggage down but too late to tell anyone you’re arriving. Met three people coming out the bothy. Extra rations of water and food are always a good idea. A sergeant also appeared on the scene and contingency plans were made in case the weather was too bad for the chopper. – Frank popped his head in, dropped his bombshell and we were forcibly transformed into as rough an approximation of a well oiled (extremely well oiled!) You’re ten miles from anywhere (the nearest road) with two miles of rough ground to the nearest track and it’s a dirty, wet night with low cloud. This was Saturday night Sunday morning in a Scottish town. It’s slightly less breezy here, or windier, depending on the season. Many folk mountain bike in which seems a good idea, although when chatting to a man from the estate (more on this later) he said that mountain bikes are causing a lot of erosion problems on the smaller trails higher up. 999 should work on any compatible network but you’d be unlikely to find any at all 10 miles from anywhere. Scots Magazine, November 1984, which taken with various walking articles about the bothy e.g. But even they should consider spending the night, as Benalder Cottage is surely as fine a place to stay as any in Scotland. At the car I prised my sodden boots off, slipped on my trainers and hurtled down the road looking for a farm, with the groans of Bill, lying in the heather, still ringing in my ears. Emergency in Belford Hospital was bedlam. The Chapel. You have to do something. Bill seemed to be cheerful enough, so after reviewing my mental first aid checklist (casualty conscious, lucid, able to explain what had happened, check for signs of head injury like obvious blood, contusion, pupils different size, etc), I gave a ‘hands-on’ examination. But in July last year the weather was so superb that I had to make an exception. Remarkable lads and well done to all concerned. Not even I could get lost here without a map. Tuck your pants in your socks. I remember the frustration of realising that cars in driveways showed that the inhabitants were reluctant to involve themselves in any late night drama, although the unearthly racket I was making and the fact I resembled the ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ may be mitigating circumstances. Thirty five minutes and what seemed like a dozen farm houses later, I succeeded in finding a phone and raising the alarm. Length (round trip): 11 mi/18 km Was this before mobile phones? Length (round trip): 6.2 mi/10 km Location: Islands of the Western Highlands (Isle of Rùm) A sign marks the turn for the bothy. After crossing the river at the head of the loch, a quick check of the map and compass and a head dook and drink from the burn gave me an excuse for a breather. Check Matador’s backpacking gear guide for a full list of what to bring. It’s actually the roof of a bothy. It’s unlikely you’ll see any traffic. Classic Walks (Diadem, 1982), keep en Alder in hot pursuit of Shenavall [s claim to the number one spot. Whats the track like, I’m wanting to try out my cross/touring bike with panniers. The door burst open to reveal Frank with the dramatic (sobering, even) message “Bill has broken his leg!”. Therefore, no matter how long the trip is to reach and stop at a bothy in the Scottish Highlands, you need to be self-sufficient and ready to handle adverse and unpredictable weather. In the past locals, primarily farmers or loggers, knew their locations, and in the present, hikers specifically aim for them by following maps. All thoughts of a relaxing bothy evening evaporated as we swung into rescue mode; a quick review of the available assets showed inadequate material to build a stretcher, but enough first-aid kit to handle a small front line casualty dressing station. With poor visibility, mist at treetop level and intermittent heavy rain, helicopter extraction seemed increasingly unlikely and the remoteness of our location meant that land or water based approaches would take a long time to plan and implement. To travel to a bothy is to journey into some of the most remote spots of the Scottish Highlands. I was so glad to be there. Provisions were chucked into a rucksack (1 sleeping bag, 1 bivvy bag and 1 chocolate biscuit), torches were retrieved and maps were examined as we set off up the hill to find a “friend” who had just become a “casualty”. I tilted myself forward and a dreary moorland climb became a floodlit descent through an iridescent forest. They located the hiker in Ben Alder Cottage Bothy half an hour later and planned to evacuate him. Frank and I were in bivvy bags, with our backs against a rock, sipping Bill’s whisky (medically unwise for him to drink), and, despite the intermittent rain we were reasonably comfortable. I wouldn't want to walk in to Ben Alder, no way! Ben Alder Bothy is the nearest one is ever going to get to Cluny’s Cave/Cage, which features in the book. Worth thinking about? Difficulty: Medium. Starting off along the initial doubletrack section. Time to turn right. 4.Most importantly for this generation of hillwalkers/climbers The bothy is from 1848 and with the adjacent ruins was a crofting community. With Scotland’s 10th largest loch, Loch Ericht, five Munros and some of Scotland’s most pristine scenery, Ben Alder Estate’s luxury lodges are an ideal setting for truly memorable holidays. Bike in to Culra bothy nr Culra lodge fm Dalwhinnie it takes about 1.5hrs, climb the hills the same day. Allowing 45 minutes scramble time, plus 60 minutes flying, the earliest arrival would be about 0300 hrs. Celebrate Friendsgiving on a private island in the Florida Keys for just $50 a night, Download the To find out if that’s true, start from Rannoch Station along the West Highland Line railroad. With a little bit of mist the view gets eerie; even more if you’re lucky and see a deer drinking from the river below. ( Log Out /  So they treated me nicely. pouring rain. From Culra Ben Alder looks magnificent, with two rocky ridges - the Short and Long Leachas, enclosing a … The relative silence as the storm eased was punctured only by the staccato thwap! ( Log Out /  Many have looked for it and failed – so don’t bother trying! I remember the relief I felt upon reaching the bothy with a ridiculously heavy load, but the prospect of dining royally for the weekend made the additional weight worthwhile, (for the first five miles!). Many hikers like walking sticks, but this is a personal choice depending on habit, fitness level, and route type. Frank led us back to the accident site without any problems, Bill had been told to blow a whistle when he saw torchlight coming and he was taking this advice very seriously – we could hear the noise from the bothy! Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Frank and Trevor, instead of having a great night in the bothy had to bunk down beside me (they did choose the lee of a big boulder and they had nicked my whisky) and of course Johnny, in his 30s, had to take on the dreadful job of walking out in the dark the eight or nine miles we had just walked in. I made many visits to the cottage from 1980 to about 2000, a wonderful bothy with good trout fishing! Ben Alder Cottage is not just a bothy in the middle of the moors on the shore of a loch. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Kevin and I bike and hike into Ben Alder Cottage bothy (McCook's Cottage), allegedly haunted by the gamie McCook. If you have caught any trouts, cook them over the campfire. Location: Central Highlands Starting point: Rannoch Station Length (round trip): 10 mi/16 km Difficulty: Medium. Close-in, the sheer size of the thing was impressive, with engine noise and warm exhaust down draught combined with a strong smell of paraffin fumes, inside, blue lights were blinking and the Pilot and Navigator were checking their instruments and preparing for takeoff. Johnny, skivvying in a way very familiar to Mrs McCook, had cooked a tasty lamb casserole and magicked up a bottle of Merlot to help the digestive processes along, and looking outside after the meal, I saw head torches glinting on the skyline as a party crested the last bluff and started the descent towards the bridge. The isle’s name comes from the ubiquitous hue of dark red color given by the iron ore present in the rocks. But somehow they found the hospital (of course there are signs). Not a bad place to spend a couple of weeks watching World Cup rugby. Location: Central Highlands ( Log Out /  You could cycle in from North, though. Head north towards Kilmory. It looks all bumpy because of the tussocks, clumps of thicker and taller grasses that cover everything in sight. Difficulty: Medium. 268th - Allan - walk in along Loch Ericht from Dalwhinnie. Good snow cover from 900m, dry with moderate winds but visibility reduced during day to 10m on Ben Alder summit. Incredibly long day at 15hr 8min, snow cover of streams made walk out to Culra bothy tricky. RGibbs: 16/02/2013 A little further on, cross the Alder Burn via a footbridge to arrive at the bothy. Onto the stretcher across 50 yards of rough ground. Bad news: “X-ray shows you’ve got a complicated break, we can’t deal with it here” – “You’ll have to go to a hospital with an orthopaedic department so we’ll take you to Raigmore in the morning”. 1.The terrain that you have to encounter. 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