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.
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.
The main burn is good to drink
None. Take the bothy spade a walk – well away from the bothy.
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 )
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.
And here’s an excellent short video by Shaman Video portraying a winter’s night in the bothy.