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 http://cairngorms.co.uk/resource/docs/boardpapers/05112015/20150192GlenfeshieBothyV1.0.pdf