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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.