Many a-year ago I stayed in this youth hostel on the shore of Loch Ossian in central Scotland for something like £12. No electricity, no running water, no roads, just a coal stove – a mile or so hike from the nearest rail station. Everyone else there had hiked over the mountains and was in their 70s or 80s. It was wonderful.
sigh I live on a small island full of gorgeous hidden treasures. It is one of the reasons I moved here. On the one hand I feel everyone should have access to these natural wonders. On the other popularity will kill them. I’ve no idea what you do, raising the cost/bar to entry is one answer I suppose.
@theodore604 Remove all ability to get to your island, and create a massive distraction on social media (“Giant steaming dump next door! Ruined forever!”). Hold onto it as long as you can. If you raise prices it becomes a playground for the rich, and normal people will get pushed out.
I moved to a similar island 10 years ago, then the film industry ‘discovered’ it. The last 5 years have been a slow slide toward being stripmined for its real estate.
‘Bothy culture’ is a bit of a mixed bag - I have been in quite a few bothies on my wanderings although my family have always preferred to bivi or wild camp (which is mostly illegal in England, more generally permissible in Scotland), but I have yet to encounter a UK bothy that did not contain a human poo. Hence, I suppose, our preference.
I think the Alpine ‘refuge’ system is better maintained by its users. Not all refuges are un-staffed, of course - there are several that operate more like a high-altitude youth hostel.
I believe that there is technically a right to wild camp in England if the individual is underway somewhere - this would have been essential for herdsmen bringing cattle to market in earlier times. As such, if you are travelling with purpose you supposedly cannot be arrested under vagrancy laws. in realilty, I don’t think anyone puts that to the test, and I don’t suppose in a country where purposeful travel is done by private vehicle or public transport, that the police would be aware of, or take seriously, that distinction.
Some people would say this island is already a steaming dump ruined AND a playground for the rich. But when I say raise the price of entry I wasn’t speaking strictly in terms of $$ though that’s the simplest way to do something (although the shittiest way IMO).
Bivy bags are a similar idea, and some US hikers use them.
Since my tent weighs less than a kilogram, I simply always bring it.
There are a few nice bothies on this side of the pond. Here’s one that some friends and I stayed in a few years ago. No turds - @AnonyMouse, really? Yuck! - and really, not a lot of rubbish. The bottles on the ALCOHOL PROHIBITED sign are a joke!
Once again, most of what protects it is that you have not only to know where it is but also to get there:
The closest i’ve been to staying in something like a bothy was a very old bare stone cottage out in the derbyshire peak district. It was very basic, though it did have electricity and running water (most of the time) plus a very impressive hearth which we kept fed with coal of which there was a large supply out back. Looking at the main image for this article though I realised I’ve actually seen one before but only in the walking game “Dear Esther” set on an island in the Scottish Hebrides.
When I was backpacking through Scotland, I had a romantic idea of staying in a bothy in the Hebrides and remember spending quite a lot of time pondering whether to go to Harris, the Uists, or Eigg. With only one day of leeway in my travels and very unreliable (at the time) ferries, I was too leery of missing my flight back to the States. So the Hebrides are still mystical to me.
It’s shame you missed your chance to go and explore. I can understand why you wouldn’t wan’t to risk getting stranded though. I must admit that after playing Dear esther i wouldn’t mind going there myself some day. Here’s hoping you get another chance to visit those islands yourself in the future.