Hotting it up at Glas Allt Sheil

Glas Allt Sheil bothy entrance

Glas Allt Sheil – the bothy entrance is just inside the dark passage

Partnership working seems all the rage these days, and last weekend up Loch Muick was a great example.

The bothy at Glas Allt Sheil – the one in an outhouse of the Queen’s big picnic hoose – is officially looked after by the Dundee University Rucksack Club, but was needing more work than they had the expertise for. So along came a grant from the Mountain Bothies Association and a workforce from the Bob Scott’s Bothy Association.

Last Friday several 4WD vehicles drove along the lochside to take in trailer-loads of wood and insulation, along with two generators and enough power tools to stock a small DIY shop.

Unloading wood at Glas Allt Sheil, Loch Muick, Cairngorms

Some of the wood being unloaded. The section of roof with the windows removed is the part with the bothy.

Most of the Bob Scott’s regulars were there, along with a couple of new volunteers and, eventually, about 15 or more students from the Rucksack Club. Some were just there for the craic and the hill walking, but others joined in and worked with a will.

Blocks of insulation were sawn into shape to fit between the roofbeams, miles of flooring planks were hand-chamfered to convert them to elegantly finished lining boards (you can guess which of these jobs I was involved in!), and cement was persuaded in gaps between the granite of the external walls. Later in the afternoon too many people crammed into the attic space to nail the superbly chamfered boards while a handful of selfless heroes shivered outside in the grey, drizzling rain, expertly cutting the boards to exact sizes (yup, again you’ve guessed which group I was in).

Work at Glas Allt Sheil, Cairngorms

Cutting the blocks of insulation to size

Work in insulation at Glas Allt Sheil, Lochnagar

Dave Knowles fine tuning to get a tight fit

Dundee University student at bothy work party

India from the DURC, chamfering the wood for lining the roof

Saturday night, like Friday night before it, was ceilidh night. The students, having been entertained to the likes of ‘Sam The Skull’ and ‘The Dundee Doag’ on Friday night, had worked up some retaliation and, on Saturday night, offered up a trio of Corries songs, performed karaoke style. Foolish. We hit back and knocked them for six with a 15-minute version of the ‘Aitken’s Morning Rolls Song‘.  Then there was some real music from Bill on the guitar and a mood killer from my penny whistle. All good fun.

Ceilidh at Glas Allt Sheil

Saturday night ceilidh

Work picked up again in the morning (although I took a three-hour leave of absence to nip up and down Lochnagar) and carried on until late afternoon. I ended up back on saw duty for some of the afternoon, but at least Sunday was nice and sunny.

Cairngorms from near top of Lochnagar

Looking NW from near summit of Lochnagar. The view wasn’t really worth it

Glas Allt Falls, Lochnagar, Cairngorms

The Glas Allt Falls. The weather had picked up considerably by the time I came down










Over the course of a weekend the attic space, used as sleeping accommodation, was fully insulated and pine-lined. Some repointing work was done outside and minor but fiddly insulation put in the eaves where they were open to the lower floor – as well as an emergency repair to the middle of the downstairs floor.

Glas Allt Sheil attic unlined


Glas Allt Sheil Bothy attic fully insulated and lined


Later in the summer another work party will be arranged to replace the rather tired downstairs floor and insulate and line two of the stone walls, which should make the Glas Allt Sheil a lot easier to heat in the colder months.

Kenny Freeman and Allan Moore

Project manager Kenny Freeman (left), delighted at the prospect of another work party at the GAS

Alfie and Derek at GAS, Lochnagar.

And finally, who can resist a picture of a dog at play? Neil Findlay’s border terrier Alfie (left) with Derek Stewart.

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11 Responses to Hotting it up at Glas Allt Sheil

  1. Sinbad says:

    Another great Reid Neil!. A memorable weekend with good company and a lot of work completed.

  2. John Bygate says:

    The pine cladding up the stairs looks really nice. Well done I need to get oot more always good weekends in the Eastern area.

  3. stevie the plumber says:

    Another great article Neil the upstairs looks cool a lot of hard work to all involved it’s amazing what can be done in a weekend

    • Aye, it seemed pretty slow work when we were standing out in the rain with the chopsaw. Them inside were muttering things about having to ‘measure’ stuff and ‘work things out’ but I think they were just drinking tea while we shivered. 🙂

  4. malc says:

    At least Derek had someone to play stick with.

  5. Brilliant! When I was there (on my pedal bike – superb track) I had no idea that section was a bothy and had access. I only found out later. Now can you come and insulate my new hoose? it’s a bit draughty and I’m useless at DIY! 😉

  6. Mark says:

    Great work! The Cairngorms are getting some very bespoke bothies. With the extra three bothies opened by the MBA in last couple of months we’re spoilt for choice.

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