Volunteers required for new Bothy project in West Argyll
Volunteers keen on getting in on a bothy-build are being invited to get in touch with the Mountain Bothy Association (MBA).
The build – or renovation – will be of a disused building that has been licensed to the MBA by land manager Forestry and Land Scotland’s West Region team.
Located south east of Oban and north of Lochgilphead, the building – Druimnashallag – was built in 1891 but was last occupied around 70 years ago. It was slowly falling into ruin and faced the threat of demolition until its potential as a bothy was spotted by the FLS.
Raymond Mundie, FLS’ Area Land Agent, said;
“Until recently it had been hidden away in the middle of a forest but recent felling work opened up the ground to the north and led to the building’s ‘re-discovery’.
“It’s a fairly characterful old building and although it hasn’t been used in decades, it was still fairly structurally sound.
“We didn’t see that we could make any use of it and it would have ended up being demolished because it presented a potential risk to members of the public, especially if it was left to fall into further disrepair.
“However, given that it was still reasonably sound it seemed a shame to demolish it. We decided to offer it to the MBA and they were more than happy to take it on.”
With planning permission in place and the building warrant being progressed with the local authority, the MBA has already drawn up plans of the work needing to done.
Peter Rowell for the MBA, said;
“The walls are mostly in good condition although but a couple of sections will need to be rebuilt from new foundations up to the wall heads. A new roof, a new floor, windows and door will be installed before the internal conversion can begin. The plan is to have two internal rooms, each with an open fire and sleeping platform, a central porch and a separate byre for firewood, bicycles etc.
“We expect to begin work in the spring 2023 but it is a phased project over two-years and we’ll be looking to have 10 or 12 volunteers at any onetime to help out over that time. We don’t expect anyone to be there for all the phases but rather for a few days or maybe a week or two at a time.
“Anyone with construction skills or basic DIY would be great but even if you have no skills of this type - yet – we’ll still be able to put you to good use.
“It’s a bit out of the way – as you would expect for a bothy. The nearest shop is 7 miles away, mobile phone reception isn’t great and there’s no telling what the weather will be like but if this sounds like your ideal project, get in touch.”
The byre roof will be designed and constructed to encourage bats and owls to take up residence.
The first batch of materials is to be delivered to site in March/April. Camping spaces, a toilet and shower will be built, as well as a small canteen and will be built to offer basic refreshments for volunteers.
The MBA web site will be the primary source of details for the dates and details during the two year construction phase.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.