Thursday 19 July 2012

Glas-allt-Shiel Bothy Maintenance Meet 2012

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th July 2012, Loch Muick 

The Glas-allt-Shiel bothy was established by DURC in 1991, and the club has been responsible for its maintenance ever since. It is dedicated to the memory of DURC member Graham Leaver, who in 1988 tragically died in a climbing accident on the Isle of Rum.

The bothy is within an outbuilding of the Royal Lodge on the Balmoral Estate, and is in regular use by hillwalkers, climbers and others who come to enjoy the area's spectacular mountains.

Typically, we make an annual trip to clean, paint and carry out repairs, acting on visitors' feedback passed to us via the DURC website, and this summer's meet was no different.

Glas-allt-Shiel exterior
Looking towards the bothy entrance
Commemorative door plaque
The commemorative door plaque

We were aware that a new stove had been installed recently with the permission of the Estate, and were keen to try it out - the bothy is well known to be pretty cold - and it didn't disappoint! Setting off on the Friday night we arrived to find the bothy unoccupied and after a quick recce it wasn't long before the stove was blazing and filling the main room with heat.

The recently-installed stove
The stove as we found it. It was originally donated by Gordon Meldrum to Bob Scott's bothy.

Our thanks to Ian Shand, Neil Findlay and all others who contributed to providing this great addition to GAS bothy.

The lit stove
A welcome fire

Saturday was cloudy and blustery and we began with a quick breakfast, the highlight of which was the demise of Euan's gas-adapted Trangia, which abruptly glowed red hot and melted. Then we got to work:

  • disposing of rubbish and expired or perishable food
  • removing the extensive cobwebs (and occasional spider eggs)
  • wire-brushing the walls
  • cleaning the shelves, windows and other surfaces
  • repainting the white walls and window frames
  • replacing outdated signage
  • cleaning the stove
  • clearing the alley and emptying the ash bin
  • replenishing the firewood
Taping the windows
Euan and Roo preparing the windows
Stephen on the top floor tackling an awkward section of wall
Stephen tackling that awkward top section
Brett painting
Stephen and Rachelle painting
Stephen and Rachelle: head torches were a must even during the day

Euan and Ruaridh also made a few repairs, and best of all constructed and installed a toilet seat - quite an improvement over the hole in the ground and something future visitors will no doubt appreciate!

The new toilet seat after painting
The new throne

That evening we were joined at Glas-allt-Shiel by a group of walkers returning from the mountains who, given the wet and windy conditions, seemed pretty glad to ditch their plans to bivvy on the hill and share the bothy with us for the night.

Sunday saw the wind die down and, inevitably and irritatingly, midges emerged in force. We worked all morning and with everything ticked off by the afternoon we left the bothy clean, tidy and in good condition, with a new visitors' book - and a few wet paint signs.

The bothy entrance
The bothy entrance after clearing the alleyway
The main room after completing the work
The main room on the ground floor, cleaned and painted

With no opportunity to head up into the hills, some of us made time for a quick wander around the loch and environs before the return to Dundee:

Stephen high up in a tree, watched by Ally on the ground
Stephen (tree) and Ally (ground)

For those of us helping out for the first time it was a valuable experience, and on the next meet we'll be well placed to do what's needed.

Thanks to all who attended for their hard work over the weekend: Ally, Brett, Euan, Jim, Rachelle, Ruaridh and Stephen.

And again, we'd also like to extend our thanks to those outwith the club who have generously donated their time and expertise to maintaining and improving this great bothy.

Want to know more about the Glas-allt-Shiel bothy, or thinking of visiting? We have a dedicated web page with history, photos, a map and contact information.

If you go, please take the time to send us some feedback - we'd love to hear from you, and indeed rely on your reports to resolve problems and get work done. Thank you, and enjoy your stay.

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