Hutchison Memorial Hut

The renovated Hutchison Memorial Hut in 2012

The Hutchison Memorial Hut on the day the 2012 renovation was completed

The Hutchie – the Hutchison Memorial Hut – is situated  at NO 023 998 in Coire Etchachan, in one of the most dramatic positions of any bothy, at the foot of the track up to Loch Etchachan and with the crags of Creagan a Choire Etchachan as a backdrop.

Since being renovated in late 2012, it is a comfortable, if small, bothy that will sleep about nine before getting too uncomfortable.

Accommodation

The stone-built bothy is wood lined and insulated, with a double-glazed opening window and a multi-fuel stove. (With no wood locally available it is advisable to take fire logs or, better, a small bag of coal.)

Furniture is restricted to a sleeping bench along one wall which can sleep two on top and two on the floor below. Other sleeping spaces can be found on the floor.

Since the renovation the bothy has been extended to include a small storm porch which gives added insulation for the main room and also somewhere to hang wet jackets and store rucksacks.

Water

The main burn is good to drink

Toilet

None. Take the bothy spade a walk – well away from the bothy.

Phone signal

Should you really need to phone, Vodaphone reception can be obtained at the prominent hillock about half a kilometre east of the bothy. Go to the summit (NO 027 996) and walk several yards downhill to the east where there is a small cairn. You can get a signal here.

In case of emergency, regardless of which network you are on, dial 112 and you will get connected. (This video has useful advice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZv_8dABfU&feature=share )

History

The Hutchison Hut was built in memory of Dr Arthur Gilbertson Hutchison, the Aberdeen born and raised senior geologist with the Shell Group of companies, who died in a climbing accident in Wales in 1949.

His friends decided a fitting tribute to him would be a hut in the hills of his youth, where climbers and hill-walkers could find refuge or stay the night. Early in 1954 the Fife Estates gave permission for a hut to be built in Coire Etchachan, near the path to Ben Macdui and work started at the end of June that year.  It was built from local stone and local climbing clubs and others helped carry all the other materials in, with assistance, it’s said, from Bob Scott and some of the estate ponies. The building work was carried out over three weeks by Aberdeen builders WJ Brown.

Despite the fact it had only an earth floor it quickly became popular as an ideal base for Coire Etchachan, Coire Sputan Dearg and the Loch Avon basin (This being before the construction of the Cairngorm ski road, when access to the Loch Avon basin was usually gained from the south).

The Aberdeen-based Etchachan Club agreed to look after the new hut and installed a stove in 1956, although it was later removed in the late ‘60s. Up until the 1980s the club organised periodic work parties to carry out maintenance and carry out rubbish, but since then it has been maintained by the MBA, who installed a wooden floor and, later, a bench along one wall. However the hut remained cold and damp, even in summer, until the recent refurbishment by the MBA turned it into another five star bothy.

You can read more about the renovation here and here

And here’s an excellent short video by Shaman Video portraying a winter’s night in the bothy.

The Hutchison Memorial Hut in Coire Etchachan, Cairngorms, before its 2012 renovation

The Hutchie as was, pictured before the 2012 renovation. The accommodation may have been basic but the setting was then, as now, awe-inspiring.

7 Responses to Hutchison Memorial Hut

  1. Pingback: The Hutchie – and Hutch | cairngormwanderer

  2. Pingback: Monkey off my back. | drj0nswanderings

  3. Ruth says:

    So I will build my altar in the fields
    The blue sky my fretted dome shall be
    The sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
    Will be the incense I shall raise to Thee.
    Seen in Etchachan Bothy in 1950’s. ( from failing memory)

  4. Roy Preshaw says:

    I helped build this hut in 1954. A group of friends of WW Hutchison, a half brother of Arthur Hutchison, camped in Glen Derry and transported cement bags to the site using Highland ponies brought up by Bob Scott from Mar Lodge. We hobbled the ponies at night, but not very well, and they escaped back down the glen – confirming Bob’s lifelong negative opinion of a university education.
    WW Hutchison had an even more distinguished career as a geologist, becoming Director General of the Canadian Geological Service, and president of the International Union of Geological Services. He only lived three more years more than his half brother, tragically dying of cancer at age 52. It would be appropriate if the Hutchison Hut had a plaque in memory of both brothers.

    • Thank-you so much for this Roy. There’s so much of the history of this area and the people who loved it that just gets lost, and I love it when this site can help preserve some of that. For a long time no-one seemed to know anything about Arthur Hutchison and I was so glad when I found a contact for his nephew, who very helpfully provided most of the information here, and now, through that, you’re adding to the tale in turn.
      I’m sure that both Arthur and WW would be glad to know that the bothy has served so many people so well over the years and is still being looked after. I know, too, that the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team have made frequent use of it while on rescues in this area, so all your efforts those years ago have been so worth it.

  5. Very useful thanks! 🙂
    Keep sharing.

  6. ROD WEBSTER says:

    Never thought of using this bothy but will now. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s