After more than a year of fundraising and delays in the work getting done due to the depth of snow on the track, the new stove has finally been installed at Bob Scott’s Bothy.
A day and a half of hard work was followed by a great wee ceilidh on the Saturday evening as the new stove was thoroughly tested out and found to be just the business.
The bothy, in Glen Lui in the Cairngorms, must be one of the most popular in Scotland and was built and is looked after by a loose aggregation of volunteers dedicated to the aim of maintaining the building as a shelter open to all in one of the bonniest parts of the Scottish Highlands.
The previous stove was well past its sell-by date. Made circa 1976, it had seen seven hard years at Scottie’s, but was showing its age, held together this last year or so by steel banding. It’s been taken away now to see if refurbishment is possible and will hopefully be donated to another bothy.
The new stove – and this one is new – was taken up in Neil Findlay’s 4X4, which just managed the track in places after a late clout of snow which fell within hours of the date being announced for the installation. Neil, along with Walt, Stornoway Bill and Neil Frae Fife, manhandled the stove from the track down to the bothy and then had a spring clean and repainted the chimneybreast.
Sinbad and John Bygate arrived later on the Friday and, after an indecently early start, Saturday saw lots of action as the old stove was taken out and Neil F went up on the roof to replace the cracked chimneypot. The new stove was then partially fitted before it was realised the flue liner would have to be adjusted, so Neil F went back up on the roof, took out the new chimney pot, adjusted the flue (and repairs the cracked chimney stack), then replaced the new chimney pot.
At last the new stove was all connected – and right on cue, the rest of the work party arrived, all pretending to be sorry they’d missed the main action and only had the ‘fun’ of dragging the old stove up to the track to be loaded onto the jeep.
By afternoon the assembled crowd included all the aforesaid, along with Kenny Freeman, his daughter Elaine and her boyfriend, Abbie Morgan, Dodd Thompson, Ricky Marshall and Stan. For a good part of the afternoon a stray waif was incorporated into the company: Tom had been ski-touring until a broken binding drove him to seek shelter, and he very nearly ended up staying the night, for, when his friend returned on the way back from the hill, Tom was half cut and getting well into bothy culture! Two evening visitors were Hugh and Marlene, MOs at Faindouran, who came up on the way back from a day’s hillwalking just to see how everybody was doing.
And it was a good night. Everybody sang after their own fashion, and a guitar, penny whistle, mouthie and drum all made appearances during the proceedings.
The new stove performed beyond expectations too, producing a prodigious amount of heat for relatively little fuel.
There are concerns about the longevity of the glass doors, given the average bothy visitor’s propensity for using feet to force doors shut against over-large logs, but we’ll just have to hope some restraint will be shown.