27th April – 1st May 2017
The Bell’s Bothy Challenge – well I tried to rise to it.
After leaving my car in the lay-by near Kilmarie I set off for the Bothy – not easy with a pack weighing over 25kg. Only one box of wine but maybe the butternut squashes,trainers, etc didn’t help. Despite friends being concerned about me walking alone across open Skye countryside with limited (non-existent) map reading skills, the path was easy to trace and the view down onto Camasunary beach was beautiful in the late afternoon sunshine and with the sound of a cuckoo in the background.
Never having stayed in a Bothy before and despite following the MBA website on the building of this replacement Bothy, I was unsure what to expect. In the end I chatted away the evening and spent a cozy night (give the person who invented self-inflating sleeping mats a gong:-) sharing the platform with a Scotsman, his french girlfriend and a German father with his son and daughter.
Plenty of room along the bench the following morning for all our stoves and the first coffee of the day before tackling the horrendous tidal rubbish along the shoreline and beyond.
Despite chilly and wet weather being forecast, we were treated to beautiful skies, no rain and warm sunshine. With help from various users of the Bothy, over the next few days about eight of us collected and piled up a huge quantity to be transported out. By now I had moved across to the house which was surprisingly well equipped considering its remote location. We were fortified in our endeavours by substantial breakfasts, lunches and dinners (well, we had to lighten the load to be carried back out). After the efforts of the days and the hope that we made a contribution, however small, to the beach-clean, it was great to spend the evenings in good company with lots of laughs
Stiffness was soaked away in hot baths, the wood burner kept us warm and toasts were raised to Neil in whose memory we had all been drawn to this special place.