The Hutchison Hut is finished.
The cold hole of legend is gone, replaced with a warm and cosy hut which is dry and easy to heat and keep warm, where a night after a day’s climbing or walking can be enjoyed rather than endured.
First thing to notice, after the new roof and the flue sticking out of it, is that the old open porch area is now enclosed, with a new door facing down the glen. That means you can hang your sodden waterproofs up without flooding the floor inside the bothy. The porch is floored and insulated too.
Inside, the Hutchie is now fully insulated – floor, walls and roof – and is wood lined, with a new sleeping bench providing room for two on top and two below, with floorspace for another four or five without getting too cramped (you can keep rucksacks in the porch).
There is also the stove, of course, and if that gets too hot, then the new double-glazed window can open to let some fresh air in.
A double-glazed window which even boasts a pair of rather fetching tartan curtains. Posh? Not half.
It’s all absolutely top hole, chaps and chapesses, but don’t imagine for a moment that it wasn’t without its troubles.
I spoke in earlier blogposts about the horrendous midges, but they were followed by storm and tempest.
One Thursday night the wind blew so fiercely that a large amount of material – old roofing sheets, insulation and wood – was scattered all over the glen, despite having been weighed down with rocks. Project manager Kenny Freeman even saw a concrete block fly through the air as it was flipped off a sheet of panelling it had been holding down.
The following day joint maintenance organiser Ian ‘Piper’ Shand spent about six hours collecting insulation and corrugated roofing, all the time fighting against the still strong winds. And the following weekend I retrieved another two roofing sheets and more insulation from half a mile away!
On the whole though, given the remote location and the scale of the project, the whole operation went remarkably smoothly, due in no small part to the amount of forward planning which had gone into it, the existing skills of the core members, and the cumulative experience gained from similar projects at Bob Scott’s, Corrour, Fords of Avon and other locations. Under this direction, the work was completed by a diverse crew which took in people of many skills and none and still allowed all who wanted to make a positive contribution. The usual suspects were there, of course, but new volunteers turned up, a foreign visitor (who hadn’t been put off by helping last year at Fords of Avon) returned, and we even had a passing Duke of Edinburgh supervisor who took an hour or so out of his supervisory duties to lend a hand!
Everyone who contributed, both on site and in the considerable preparatory work, can justly be proud of what they have achieved. And if anyone using the new Hutchie Hut feels inspired – there’s always the next project.