Glas Allt Shiel

The main house of Glas Allt Shiel in the Cairngorms by Loch Muick

No, not quite. The bothy is round the back

Glas Allt Shiel NO 276 824

Possibly one of the strangest bothies going, if only for being a part of the Queen’s hoose.

Glas Allt Shiel is an open bothy which is one of the out-houses of the Queen’s holiday home, or picnic lodge towards the west end of Loch Muick. A picturesque situation with a lovely lawn for picnics on a sunny summer’s afternoon!

However it came to be the done thing to doss in the Queen’s coal cellar, the big hoose itself is seldom used, so people staying in the bothy have little need to worry about noisy neighbours!

Access

Entrance to bothy section of Glas Allt Shiel by Loch Muick in the Cairngorms

The entrance to Glas Allt Sheil: the fifth door along, it’s just out of sight in the darkness of the passage

When you approach the house up the easily cycleable track from the Loch Muick car park along the north shore of the loch, head towards the back of the house and go into the passageway which leads into a tiny courtyard. The door to the bothy is the furthest in of a row of doors, all the others being locked. The correct door bears a plaque.

Accommodation

Interior view of Glas Allt Shiel bothy, near Loch Muick, showing the stove

Inside the bothy, showing the new stove

Interior of Glas Allt Shiel bothy in the Cairngorms, showing the steep steps up to the sleeping area

Table and steep stairs to the sleeping area

Inside, Glas Allt Shiel is a bit on the dark side, although it was improved in 2016 following a work party from the Bob Scott’s crew. Previously there was only one window to the outside, away in one corner. But now polycarbonate panels have been put in the ceiling, allowing light to come through from the well lit sleeping accommodation in the attic. It’s still a little on the dim side, but much improved. Some may be a little unnerved at the prospect of stepping on the panels, but they’re easily strong enough to take anyone’s weight and can be walked over with impunity.

glass allt shiel rooflights

The polycarbonate sheets in the floor of the upstairs area. The sheets are easily strong enough to walk on. (Photo by Neil Findlay)

The bothy is quite spacious by Cairngorm standards, with a large table and a good few chairs. The floor is wooden, but the walls are unlined stone, so it can be hard to heat, although there are plans to insulate and wood-line two of the walls later in 2017. It also has a well-lit sleeping area in the roof space, up a steep flight of steps. This was previously uninsulated but a work party financed by the MBA and manned by Bob Scott’s Bothy Association volunteers and the DURC in May 2017 installed insulation and lined it with pine.

Stove

The bothy used to be a legendarily cold doss, but since the donation and installation of a stove by the Friends of Bob Scott’s it has become easier to heat. It’s best to take in some coal for fuel, as the estate ask that neither live nor dead wood be collected from the area.

Water

There’s a stream just outside the bothy which is safe to use.

Toilet

There is another building, behind and separate from the main house. On the uphill side of this there is a small toilet (the door is labelled) which is kept open. This is the usual hole in the ground and flushed by a bucket of water from the burn affair.

Phone signal

There is no mobile phone signal at the bothy or in the immediate area.

18 Responses to Glas Allt Shiel

  1. Gill Cairney says:

    Any idea if the main house is used? If so,, who by and for what?

  2. Dave says:

    Neil. Any ideal what the bothy building actually was before it changed to the bothy? all the dooks in the walls leave me to think that something used to hang in it (like meant maybe) the former slit windows in the non window wall by the stair were open at one time presumably to let in air

    • Hi Dave, don’t know what it was used for but I would imagine it was for some form of storage for the ‘big hoose’. When you mentioned ventilation I wondered about a deer larder, but that would be kept well away from the queen’s delicate neb, so I suspect something rather less prone to smelling.

      • Lochnagarclimber says:

        The main house is also known locally as The Widow’s House as it was where Queen Victoria retreated for the solitude after the death of Prince Albert.

  3. AILEEN says:

    Any estimate of how many it may sleep?

    • Probably as many as you’ll need. From recollection, probably eight or more upstairs and a few more than that downstairs. Haven’t been there for a wee while, so my memory of scale is shaky.

  4. brian says:

    great post thanks cairngormwanderer

  5. Sinbad says:

    I was up there last year and saw HRH out walking her dogs down by the loch. She just looked like someones auld grannie.

  6. Suzanne Walsh says:

    Hello Cairngormwanderer: We are Americans interested in leasing Garbh Allt Shiel. .Is the walk to Glas Allt Shiel Bridge and falls doable for non hikers ? Also, what are your recommendations for one staying at the cottage ? Thank you, Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne, the Glas Allt Sheil is a bothy which is open to everyone, so, while you’re welcome to use it for a short stay of up to a few days, you can’t actually lease it or hire it for your exclusive use. You can read more about the ‘rules’ and etiquette of staying at bothies on the main bothies page here – https://cairngormwanderer.wordpress.com/the-bothies/
      As for getting there, the bothy is about 5km from the Spital of Glen Muick Car Park along an easy track, and there is a well made path up the back of the bothy to the falls, so you shouldn’t find any great difficulty.
      Just a word of caution though: you have to remember that the bothy, which is open to the public, is a wee outhouse round the back of the main house – not the grand building you see from the lochshore, which belongs to the Queen and is very definitely not for hire. 🙂

  7. Chris Wright says:

    Really useful update, cheers.

  8. Josh McCulloch says:

    Hi, i was wondering if this bothy is ever shut? During winter for instance. A friend of mine said that it was closed when he last visited (in March). If so when are the bothies normally open again for anyone to use?
    Thanks for your help, i did try and search for an answer but i couldn’t see anything. Sorry if this has already been covered.

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