Bygone Cairngorm bothy photos

I’ve been sitting on some of these photos for a while now, mostly sent in by George Adams and Colin Campbell, always waiting for the context to use them.

Then one of the comments after Ashie Brebner’s skiing article remarked that there can be few photos of Altanour Lodge still in circulation – and I got all guilty. Sure, there are a good new old photos in Ian Murray’s excellent books, but here I am sitting with some on my laptop.

So. No narrative to link them all together: just a collection of old photos of old bothies and buildings which were once close enough to intact to spend a night in.

Altanour Lodge, Glen Ey, Cairngorms

Altanour Lodge in 1952

Ruins of Altanour, Glen Ey, Cairngorms

Altanour in 2014

This is the Altanour Lodge, up at the head of Glen Ey, fleetingly mentioned in Ashie’s story as being a broken down even back in 1951. The upper picture, from George Adams, shows it a year later, still being used as a bothy but plainly in sad need of repair. The lower photo I took myself last year, showing how little remains in this remote corner of the Cairngorms.

Auchelie bothy, Glen Ey, Cairngorms

Auchelie in Glen Ey, 1951

This photo, again from George, shows Auchelie, lower down Glen Ey, later in the same year of which Ashie wrote. Again, there is very little remaining today.


Auchelie Bothy, Glen Ey, Cairngorms

Auchelie in 2014 – just an outline of stones.

Across the hills, follow Glen Geldie up to the Bynack Burn where it comes down out of the hills, and you find more ruins – Bynack Lodge.

Bynack Lodge, Cairngorms

Bynack Lodge in 2014

Here it is as it was in 1952, in a photo From George Adams.

Bynack Lodge, Cairngorm bothy, in 1952

Bynack Lodge in 1952

And in some later shots by Colin Campbell.

Bynack Lodge, Cairngorms

Bynack Lodge in 1962 – it suffered a serious fire two years later

Bynack Lodge, Cairngorms, 1989

Bynack Lodge in 1989

Further through into Glen Tilt, there’s a bothy – if you could call it that – which I’d never heard of. George Adams referred to it simply as a shepherd’s hut when he was there in 1952.

Shepherd's Hut, Glen Tilt, Cairngorms

Shepherd’s Hut, Glen Tilt

Colin Campbell, on the other hand, referred to it as Black Bothy when he was there 12 years later.

Glen Tilt bothy, Cairngorms

Black Bothy in Glen Tilt, 1964

Heading back north, Colin has another photo – lower Geldie Lodge.

Lower Geldie Lodge, Cairngorms

Lower Geldie Lodge in 1963, with a rickety-looking bridge

And a couple of Ruighe Aiteachain – the Feshie Bothy.

Feshie Bothy, Cairngorms

At the door of Ruigh Aiteachan, Glen Feshie.

Ruighe Aiteachain Bothy, Cairngorms

Feshie Bothy again, probably in the early ’60s

Finally, an old newspaper cutting from the start of the ’60s, just before George ‘Dod’ Adams emigrated to Canada (he subsequently moved to Australia) – a time when the papers would publish photos from under the Shelter Stone and in the bothies. Luibeg Bothy is, of course, the original Bob Scott’s Bothy. Rubbish quality reproduction by the papers, but good taste.

Newspaper cutting showing George 'Dod' Adams under the Shelter Stone, Cairngorms, and in Luibeg Bothy

As an afterword, I’ve recently heard from Graeme Hunter, who’s looking for a photograph of Lochend Bothy, which used to sit at the lower end of Loch Muick. Graeme remarked that he used to stay there a lot when he was a young climber, but never had a camera in those days. If anyone has one it would be great if they could get in touch.


This entry was posted in Bothies, History, People and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Bygone Cairngorm bothy photos

  1. Fantastic! Thanks for those – really lovely to see what Altanour looked like in the early 50s. It was a pretty big place wasn’t it? I really wish it was still in one piece, that more than any of the other bothies. What a wonderful spot!

  2. Roy Starkey says:

    Hi Neil – Great to see those old images. It made me have a trawl through the British Newspaper Archive to see what else I could turn up. For readers who are unaware of this resource, it is a fully searchable digitised archive of millions of newspaper pages, including titles like the Aberdeen Press and Journal, and Dundee Courier, which have lots of Cairngorms coverage.

    Unfortunately the terms of use of the archive mean that I cannot simply cut and paste images into this reply, but here are a few pointers if you are interested to take a look. Follow this link

    and it will take you to a filtered selection of pages with images relating to Cairngorm bothies. You can browse “thumbnails” of the archive for free. If you want to see a high resolution image or download a copy of a page you need to buy credits (there are various different packages).

    The Aberdeen Press and Journal for Monday 9 January 1928 has two images, one of Corrour Bothy buried in snow and the other of the bothy in Glen Eunach.

    A very wintery scene in the Aberdeen Journal for Fri 6 Jan 1933 shows searchers for some lost climbers gathered outside one of the Cairngorms bothies, recalling the tragedy of Barrie Baird four years earlier.

    The Aberdeen Journal for 1 July 1938 has a splendid group photo of members of the Aberdeen Grammar School Rambling and Mountaineering Club at Corrour Bothy.

    A nice image taken in front of the fireplace inside Corrour Bothy features in the Aberdeen Journal for Thurs 13 April 1939, and the image is good enough to recognise the three individuals if anyone happens to know who they are.

    A photo of Corrour Bothy also features in a short piece in the Dundee Courier dated 6 Jan 1928, under a headline “The bothy might have a clue”, in an article on the joys of bothy holidays in the Dundee Courier and Advertiser for Sat 17 August 1929, and again in the Dundee Courier 27 Aug 1936 as part of an article bemoaning poor behaviour in the mountains.

    A different view of Corrour Bothy was used in an article about the “Wee Hoose With Big Job” in the Dundee Courier dated Sat 21 Jan 1950.

    Four cold members of the Dundee Grampian Club standing outside Corrour Bothy, during the search for Glasgow student Hugh Barrie, figure in the Dundee Evening Telegraph for Mon 16 Jan 1928.

    Two different pictures in Glen Eunach, one of the Upper Bothy, in the Dundee Evening Telegraph dated Wed 18 Jan 1933, and one of the Lower Bothy in Dundee Evening Telegraph Wed 18 Jan 1933 (relating to the loss of Thomas Baird).

    Do have a look at the archive – you can quite easily lose yourself in another age and come across all sorts of interesting things to follow up – have fun!


  3. Jim Ford says:

    Ten years ago I created an ‘immersive/bubble’ panorama of the interior of the Slugain Howff. It worked OK, although by today’s standards the digital camera I used was low-res.

    I’m trying to resurrect the panorama so I can post it here, but it’s no longer working with the current version of Java. I’m seeking advice from experts on the ‘net (maybe there is someone here?) and will try to get it working again.

  4. Fascinating glimpses of history.

  5. Angus Robson says:

    If it’s of any interest to you I have a photo of Jeans Hut not long after it was completed. My dad helped carry in the materials for building it & he says it was in Coire an-t Sneachda, but I think it was in Coire an Lochain – unless it was moved twice.

    • Hi Angus, I’m sure a lot of folk would like to see that. It’s a place I was never at myself, but is still often referred to, so maybe worth me putting together a bit more on it if anyone has any history.

  6. Nicci Campbell says:

    The Glen Tilt bothy was known as Black Bothy in the 1960’s when I used it regularly when walking into the Cairngorms from the station at Blair Athol. Wooden structure painted with black bitumen and surprisingly warm. I have a photo of it somewhere.

  7. peterraikmanpeterraikman says:

    Another older photo of Bynack

    Both Bynack and Geldie had an upstairs room still usable in the late1950s. I can remember at Geldie sleeping upstairs, with a herd of deer sheltering downstairs.

  8. RAnderson says:

    Thanks for these!
    It has taken me a while to find a use for these really interesting pics, so it would be unfair not to take a (somewhat belated) moment to thank you for posting them.
    I am supervising a D of E gold group through the Cairngorms next week. Preparing with them for that trip, there has been discussion about the history, nature and uses of remote buildings and bothies in the landscape – something that is new to most of the youngsters.
    Hopefully, in this age of instant info, they may catch an echo of times past….where today we wander, many others have wandered before us, and still others lived and worked when mobile devices meant ‘shanks pony’ or a horse and cart.
    Thanks again
    Richard Anderson

  9. Iain Cullen says:

    Another pic of (I think) Bynack Lodge. From my dad John Cullen who was active in SCottish mountaineering in the 1940s and 50s. He thinks this one is early 50s.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.