Plans approved for Feshie Bothy renovation

Ruigh aiteachain bothy, Glen Feshie, Cairngorms

Ruighe-aiteachain bothy from the south. Due for renovation

As of the start of September 2016, work has now started and the bothy will be closed until further notice – although it is expected it will be completed by the end of the month. Please don’t make any plans to use the bothy during this period, as the work is being done by private contractors and the bothy is completely off limits.

Long anticipated plans to improve and extend Ruighe Aiteachain Bothy in Glen Feshie have been approved by the Cairngorm National Park Authority.

The popular Feshie Bothy, as it is commonly known, will have a stone-built porch added on the north side (where the existing entrance is), housing a flight of stairs to sleeping accommodation upstairs, along with a small wood store.

The existing two ground floor rooms will be retained, but with a new wood floor, new windows and doors, built-in bunks in both rooms, and new wood-burning stoves installed in both rooms, using the existing chimney.

The plans, submitted by Glenfeshie Estate Ltd, were approved by the CNPA on Friday, 13th November.

The MBA learned several years ago that the estate owner, Danish clothing millionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, intended to carry out a professional renovation of the bothy, but information had been scant since then. Assurances had been given to the maintenance organiser that the bothy would remain open to all as at present, but there’s no denying there were suspicions it would end up a paying bunkhouse or similar.

Similar suspicions occurred to Kincraig and Vicinity Community Council, which was anxious that the bothy remain free to the public as a mountain refuge. But the report to the CNPA planning committee contained the reassurance from Glenfeshie Estate:  “Your sentiments are also ours! The bothy will continue as an open to all overnight refuge but on this occasion safe to use. The wood store is to allow for a small supply of dry wood to prevent our visitors cutting down any more ancient Caledonian pines.”

The report from CNPA officials further notes: “It is important to note that the applicant does not seek permission for a change of use of the building. The building shall remain in use as a bothy and any permission granted for this proposal would not permit a change of use to occur.”

Backing those statements is Mr Povlsen’s record since purchasing the estate in 2006, meeting with a favourable response for conservation efforts which have seen a radical reduction in deer numbers and resultant transformation of Glen Feshie with a heartening level of regeneration. He has also in the last couple of years created a much appreciated, non-boggy version of the path into the bothy from Achlean, up the east side of the Feshie, and still has plans to rebuilt the Carnachuin Bridge to link to the road on the west side of the glen.

Timescales for the bothy renovation aren’t known yet, but the planner’s report and supporting papers for the application, along with drawings of the proposals, can be seen at


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18 Responses to Plans approved for Feshie Bothy renovation

  1. I noticed there were nae deer in Scotland anymore – haven’t seen any all year 😦 I like them even if they do eat things!

    Good to see the bothy’s getting some attention – haven’t been to it yet but it’s in the kind of spot which appeals to me and I’m sure I’ll be there sometime in the next year or so. I wonder though whether the fashion for bunks makes for less sleeping places? After all, you can squeeze quite a few on a sleeping platform. I suppose if the floors are wood though, you could always kip on the floor.

    • Hi Carol, I don’t know where you’ve been looking for deer, but Mar Lodge Estate, Glenfeshie Estate and the SNH bit of Creag Meagaidh are about the only areas where deer have been cut at all drastically. Still plenty to be seen elsewhere, and even outwith the no tolerance zone on Mar Lodge Estate.
      Don’t worry too much about the bunks at Feshie – it’s bunks there as it is and, yes, there is also plenty room on the floor. You should head up there – it’s a lovely spot.

      • I was surprised not to see any deer up Glen Derry but didn’t know about Mar Lodge Estate’s policy. They were also actively stalking when I was up Glen Isla and frowning at me as a mere walker while I was parking up. Didn’t see any in the Mamores or Glen Nevis, Torridon behind Liathach, Knoydart, Glen Cassley or the Ben More Estate or anywhere around Lochnagar/Gelder.

      • Maybe it’s cos your jacket is dayglo orange? 😉

      • LOL – actually, my summer jacket is dark blue! My hair isn’t dayglo orange either 😉

  2. malc says:

    Brilliant to see! Hopefully this can be replicated across some other areas of Scotland! I saw deer the other morning on way to work. Braked and swerved and missed it by about 10cms! Too close for my liking :-). Maybe I need orange hair.

  3. piper says:

    Are we ( m.b.a ) doing the refurbishment at Feshie ?..Came back doon the Derry Yesterday, few deer scattered aboot !

    • As far as I know Povlsen is doing it himself (or at least getting contractors in!).
      Don’t tell the estate about the deer or they’ll be up there with the guns! It’ll be Bambi’s dad all over again. 😉 I have occasionally seen a few deer tracks in mud or in snow, but think it’s as well they keep the numbers down until the seedlings get established and they can work out a deer/tree balance.

  4. Have stayed at the Feshie Bothy a few times, a great place, though I do really prefer to pitch up amongst the pines. From what I’ve seen Mr Povlsen has done a lot to turn around the degradation Feshie Estate, I’ve no doubt he’ll ensure a good renovation just hope the improvement don’t end up attracting the stag parties & litter louts.

  5. Mark says:

    Haven’t been to the bothy for a few year but it really is in a splendid spot. I went past it on the other side of the river in late August on a long jog through the hills from the hills from Blair Atholl to claim my penultimate Corbett, Beinn Bhreac. After the rough uplands it as a joy to descend into the upper reaches of Glen Feshie. The trees and lush vegetation put a spring in my step on the last few miles to Achlean.

  6. Ted says:

    I saw a herd of about 200 deer in the corrie south of the headwaters of the Geldie and the Feshie when en route from Braeriach to the Tarf Bothy on 1st October this year. Still ample deer about.
    The current owner has transformed the Feshie. I first visited it in the 70s and have a pic of the hillside adjacent to the bothy in the early 80s. No young seedlings at all. The place was crawling with deer. Now the young growth in the glen is everywhere.
    He has proved the “experts” wrong. I read a piece years ago about how it was impossible to regenerate Scottish glens without fencing deer out.

  7. Kenny Ferguson says:

    At last a wee bit of clarity. This is encouraging even for cynical auld sods like me. Great peice Neil. Thanks for this

  8. Jean-Baptiste says:

    Hi Neil,
    First of all thanks for your wonderful blog, full of precious information 🙂
    I’m considering going on a bothy trip in mid-January, do you think it’s feasible or utterly crazy? I’m familiar with hiking, but not so much with that part of Scotland! I’m wondering wether there might be too much snow at that time of the year.

    Thanks in advance! And sorry for my english (it is not my mother tongue).
    Cheers 🙂

    • Hi Jean Baptiste, the amount of snow is always very variable. You do need to be prepared for it, but may not find too much in the glens in January. Look at the weather forecast – especially the Mountain Weather Information Service (there’s a link to mwis at the side of the blog). I don’t know how flexible you are in timing, but drop me a message closer to the date of your trip and I may be able to offer you better advice.

  9. I had a great four days in Feshie at the turn of the month and was staggered by the care of the bothy. The back room was opened up (a change from my last visit there 12 months before) and the stove hearth was groaning with coal, kindling, wood, firelighters and matches (all apparently provided by the estate). Whilst we didn’t stay there we dried off once or twice before the fire, lovely!

    Feshie became choked with snow over the weekend, it was astonishingly beautiful. I adore the place!

  10. Joyce Gordon says:

    Hi Neil, had a great couple of nights recently in the bothy and wondered if you knew anything of it’s history as one of our party had a wee spooky experience (nothing to do with the amount of sherbets he had!). Keir, Joyce and Ferrier fae Gelder Shiel

    • Hi Joyce, never heard of anything at the Feshie, but if you read Affleck Gray’s ‘Legends of the Cairngorms’ there’s hardly a corner of the whole range that isn’t hoatching with spooks and ferlies. Depends how much you want to believe…

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