Book review: "The Book of the Bothy"" is, surprise, surprise, about bothies. But what are bothies. Well a bothy is "a mountain hut that's completely free to use as an overnight stop", thanks to the organisation called the MBA, the Mountain Bothies Association, and they are in remote locations far from roads, so this is a book for walkers and hikers of Britain, and those who love the countryside.
Firstly upon getting the book it is full colour. The beautiful picture on the front is typical of the pictures that follow inside. And the inside contains information about 26 bothies including one on the Balmoral estate, one that was set up as a remote hostel and one that was the very first bothy. Each entry has a little history about the building and sometimes a little detail about its past residents before the building was abandoned. Then there is a map, map reference, details of the route in (by foot), an alternative, more challenging route, what facilities each has (no toilets in most), what to look out for while you're there (wildlife etc.) as well as the author's bothy book entry, the bothy book being a book found at each bothy allowing visitors to write their thoughts down for the next set of visitors to find and read and add to.
The author's bothy book entries included things like imagining what the five-year-old girl who wrote an earlier entry felt whilst she stayed in this bothy in a typically beautiful location. These entries definitely helped to break up the more factual information bits that the rest of the book brings, as do the lovely full-colour pics of course, even if common themes do pop-up in them, such as talk of the mice that also live at the bothies, and the author's frustration when she realised she would have to share with others who arrived before her (but then it turned out alright anyway).
The book is suitable for beginners and also for experts I guess, although they may want to skip the early sections on what bothies are, the etiquette involved, what to take, as they probably know these parts or may disagree slightly.
There are some bothies missing from this book as it says there are over 100 in Britain, and this book covers just 26 of them. The author's reason for excluding the other 74 plus is that she "didn't want too large a spread so that there were no new ones for you to discover yourself - that is after all the joy of bothying."
As for me I've never been in a bothy before, and may never do so in the future, but at least I am aware of them now, and should I go on a walking holiday I have a new option available to me, possibly allowing me to explore parts of the country I would never otherwise have seen.
Published on 15 August 2015
Out now on AMAZON.