Sutherland Trail: Camping at Lone Bothy
When you welcome the sight of an open-sided agricultural shed spattered with wet hen dung as though it’s a four-star hotel you know you’re in trouble.
It had been a long day and Lone Bothy was locked (and uninhabitable anyway), the rain was bucketing down, a gale was howling and we were chilled and hungry. Options were somewhat limited. So we brewed up some soup in the shed and debated what to do. My main objection to sleeping there was the strutting cockered who was proclaiming his presence and would do so again, repeatedly, from around 4am. I also figured the tent could only be warmer.
The stalker turned up in his truck and we chatted about deer numbers on the high hills while we cooked our dinner in his shed. He described the growing pressure from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to cull ever higher numbers of hinds to protect vegetation – something he was reluctant to do.
He seemed pretty relaxed about us using his Argocat as a clothes drying horse and makeshift sitting room then he looked out at his hills, cheerfully forecast more snow, wished us luck and headed off to a cosy house somewhere down the glen. We looked at one another and laughed but the tent ended up doing a great job and we were warm and dry in the morning.
We didn’t take time to search for fresh eggs for breakfast (although he said we were welcome to them if we could find them) but the cockerel and his small harem tucked in to our leftovers.
We looked around and considered. The weather was closing in and we would have no more shelter for another two days so reluctantly we decided to pull out and complete the route another time.
There would be one bus passing through Achfary at 9.30am which would take us to Lairg and from there we could catch a train to Inverness.
I left the glen reluctantly, looking wistfully up to Ben Stack, Arkle and Foinaven. And vowed I’d be back.