A brand new hut has been completed at Camasunary in the Skye Cuillin, providing free seaside accommodation in one of Scotland's most spectacular locations. It will replace the existing bothy, which is being taken back into private use.
Behind the project was Camasunary's owner Alan Johnson. Concerned that when he resumed his own use of the building in 2015, a much-loved facility would be lost to the hill going community, he talked with the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) about a possible replacement.
Planning approval for a new open shelter was granted in August this year.
59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers agreed to take on the building as a community project, and their work on the external structure is already complete. All internal fitting will be undertaken by MBA volunteers.
'I am pleased to have been able to work with the MBA and 59 Squadron to provide this replacement bothy' said Alan Johnson.
'It is a magnificent stone building, designed and built to withstand the area's rugged climate.The last time I stayed in the existing bothy, there were folk there from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France, England, Wales and Scotland, all at the same time. The new bothy will serve the same purpose and will, I have no doubt, bring much pleasure to very many people from all over the world.'
The new bothy stands on the east side of the bay at Camasunary, about 1km from the existing MBA-maintained bothy.
It's a single storey affair, designed to accommodate up to 15 people in two rooms. The building is of block and timber frame construction faced with local stone. Although it will not have a fireplace or stove it will be insulated throughout, and fitted with bunks and other fixed furniture.
'The new bothy is a fine example of the generosity shown by a number of landowners towards the MBA and bothy users' said MBA Trustee and Owner Liaison Officer Roger Muhl.
'The existing bothy at Camasunary is one of the most popular of the buildings that we maintain, both for day visits and overnight stays. A number of people got in touch with the Association when it was first rumoured that the existing bothy would be closing, expressing concern at the loss of this much valued bothy. The MBA is pleased that, thanks to the generosity of Alan Johnson, these concerns can now be set aside.'
Major Iain Lamont, Officer Commanding 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, sounds chuffed too.
'We were absolutely delighted to be involved' he said.
'Building the new bothy was exactly the arduous training opportunity that I was looking for. We have really been tested, working hard, isolated, and battered by the weather. I’m over the moon that the walking and mountaineering community will benefit from it in years to come.'
The existing bothy will remain open until its replacement is ready.