Details for the main event

Bell’s Bothy Challenge

Dates: 29th April – 7th May

Venue: Camasunary, near Elgol, Isle of Skye

Open to everyone!


Challenge yourself to get to Camasunary – by whatever means you like, from as far away as possible – the tougher the better, but please stay safe!

Beach clean:

Help us clear the bay of rubbish.  We have a boat and crew, courtesy of “Misty Isle Boat Trips” (link) to take the rubbish out and removal from Elgol is in hand. We will be at Camasunary at some stage during both weekends.  There will be an obvious collection point, close to the beach.  If we are not about please stack any beach rubbish there, ready for collection, and make sure it is secure, and will not blow away in strong winds.  Thank you.


If you are going to join us, please bring some food to cook, rolls, a little wood or charcoal, or an instant  BBQ, and any liquid refreshment you may require!

Saturday (29th April), 7.30pm

Sunday (30th), 1pm

Friday 5th May, 7.30pm – Camas Malag Beach


Bothy space: shelter, but NO facilities!  Bothy may be full so please bring your tent!  Free.

Space in the “big house” 28th – 2nd only.  A bit less basic! H&C running water, woodburning stove, cooker, crockery & kitchen equipment, but NO vehicular access, telephone or wifi.  There WILL be a charge for this.  for more details email

5th – 7th May. Wildcamping – tents, campervans/small motorhomes (max.5) at Camas Malag beach.

The Neil Mackenzie Trust

The idea of the Challenge was to do something at Camasunary (where the new bothy was kitted out in memory of Neil) with his spirit in mind. It is about being challenged, meeting friends (old and new), having fun, and telling stories as Bell would have done, and at the same time helping the environment.

Some Challenges have already taken place, and we are looking forward to reading more stories about more challenges, anywhere in the world, on this blog – get in touch to be invited to write yours – and let as many people as possible know about the Bell’s Bothy Challenge.  It is a year long, worldwide event and does not stop after the main event!

Donations to the Trust are invited from everyone taking part in the Bell’s Bothy Challenge.  Although it does not show up on our Charity Choice page, yet, we have already reached nearly £500.


More information is available on previous blogs or on the website  or email for answers to specific questions.

Pleae note that we will be away from Thursday 27th April, and may not have internet access – so if you need to know something please email by 26th!!






Challenge main event 29th April – 7th May


Camasunary House

We are hoping for lots of Challengers at Camasunary at the end of April/early May.  The timetable (outline, below) includes plenty of time for challenges, cleaning the bothy, clearing up the bay and some fun!  Remember to donate to participate, or better still get some sponsors!  We will also be there April 1st/2nd and 1st/2nd July – for Canada Day Celebrations!


For the very old and the very young (or anyone else who is interested) there will be beds available, in the relative comfort of a remote house with no electricity, telephone or central heating!  We are renting the “big house” from Friday 28th April – Tuesday 2nd May. Let me know if you are interested, and for which nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and/or Monday) and I will forward more details to you, including what you will need to bring. There will be a small charge per person per night for this, to help to cover our rental cost.  Please note that there is plenty of hot and cold running water and a well equipped basic kitchen, and a drying room.

The house itself will also be available for any less experienced campers and bothiers who would like to use drying facilities, hot water, flush toilets, even the use of the kitchen, again for a small charge per person per day.

The following weekend we plan to park our van on the shores of Loch Slapin, and hope that one or two others, with vans, will join us.  We will be walking in to the bothy, again, on 6th and probably 7th May to continue the clearance work.

Outline Timetable:

Challenges any day or every day!

Friday 28th – Walk in to Camasunary House, and preparation for the event

Saturday – Beach clean and evening BBQ & bonfire

Sunday – Beach clean and lunchtime bonfire & BBQ (if there is sufficient non plastic rubbish to burn)

Tuesday 2nd – Tidy up and walk out

Saturday 6th – Beach clean

Sunday 7th – Beach clean

More details will be available nearer the time.

Please let us know if you think you will be walking in or walking out to Camasunary with some extra space/weight and could help to carry some stuff in or out.  We are hoping to enlist some help from locals, but all help will be much appreciated.


Many thanks those of you who have made the first donations to the Challenge. We have already received £375 (updated 14.3.17) and we hope to raise a minimum of £5,000 before the end of the year – we are optimistic as there will be a lot going on!


It is important to us that we make the most of your donation, giving the smallest possible amount to the money grabbing banks and organisations that get involved!

Unfortunately, unless we collected all donations personally and kept them under the bed until we give out our grants, however hard we have tried, a small percentage of your donation, may go in bank charges – although the bank says that it does not make charges on the particular account that we hold.  Confused? so are we!

We are still learning about Charity Choice, the website where you can donate to the Trust to take part in the Challenge.  It is cheap and cheerful, beside its better known rival site, JustGiving, but as a result more of the money donated goes to our charity.  It also seems to be a little less user friendly, and so far less appears on the “barometer” than has actually been raised.  I think we have now cracked this, and hope that all donations made through the link above (and other links we have created) should appear in the Appeals barometer.

Please note – in order for The Neil Mackenzie Trust to benefit fully from your donation:

  1. Donate through Charity Choice, not CAF Donate (unless you are a CAF Donate account holder) or donate directly into our bank account or send us a cheque (ask for details)
  2. Donate using a debit card, and opt to pay the 25p charge, yourself. (Personal credit cards cost 10p + 1.4% either to you or to the Trust).
  3. If appropriate, UK tax payers should tick the Gift Aid box.  (If this is not yet available you will be contacted in due course by either us or the charity to sign up for GiftAid)

2017 Bell’s Bothy Challenge is a worldwide event. It is a “positive challenge” for anyone who wants to challenge themselves, improve the environment, meet and make friends, raise money for the Trust, and help to publicise the Trust by encouraging donations and posting on the blog.

It works on a donate to participate or sponsorship basis.  If your challenge involves sponsorship, why not become a fundraiser – it should make it easy for your sponsors to donate? To do this, visit our Charity Choice page, scroll down on the right hand side and click “fundraise for us”.

We really appreciate your help, and hope that the Challenge will be fun and rewarding for you.  Our strapline is “fun to donate, fun to participate, fun to benefit”.  Neil was full of fun, and we want donors, participants and beneficiaries to continue to have fun in his memory!


First Challenges

478News is filtering through of some of the first challenges that will be taking place in the New Year.  As I have already said, we  hope to do a winter walk in to the new Camasunary Bothy (Bell’s Bothy) sometime towards the end of the first week of January, weather permitting, and we hope that we will have company. There are also a couple of Antipodean Challenges happening soon, canoeing in Australia and cycling in NZ, and another in Canada, skating on the canal in Ottawa.  Thanks Lewis, Pablo and Stephane and Good Luck!  I hope you’ll have fun, get lots of support, and meet some friends along the way!  Please post your plans and photos to let us know how you are getting on.

For everyone taking part in Bell’s Bothy Challenge please note:

It can take place anytime in 2017, anywhere in the world.

It should be a personal challenge but can take place individually or in a group.

Support for The Neil Mackenzie Trust can be made by donation to
or, if you are being sponsored for your challenge, you can set up your own online sponsorship at  The money raised will be awarded in grants for outdoor skills training in Scotland and expedition and adventure grants anywhere in the world.  There is no minimum donation.

In order to encourage others we would like you to add your plans and your adventure – with lots of photos – to this blog and don’t forget to read what others have done and are planning.

We would also like you to take time, at some stage during your challenge, to collect some rubbish on your route, and dispose of it responsibly, leaving anywhere you visit cleaner than you found it.

And finally we hope that you will meet old friends, and forge new friendships along the way – in the spirit of Bell.

Wishing you all the best for Christmas and a Challenging 2017!  Good Luck!




Bothy Challenge

cuilin-ridge-panorama-copy2017 Bell’s Bothy Challenge is a fun, fundraising, year long, worldwide challenge in aid of the The Neil Mackenzie Trust (Charity No. SC046080)
Bell’s Bothy (Camasunary new bothy) is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. The family and friends of Neil (Bell) Mackenzie donated £3,000 to MBA to fit out the new bothy at Camasunary, on Skye, in his memory.  [Camasunary Bay can be seen about half way up the photo above, taken by Neil in 2011, and about a quarter of the way from the right.]

The Bothy Challenge is a “positive challenge” for anyone who wants to challenge themselves, improve the environment, meet and make friends, raise money for the Trust, and help to publicise the Trust by encouraging donations and posting on a website or blog.

First and foremost our thoughts relate to Bell’s Bothy, but of course the principles can apply anywhere in the world.  Our hope is that as many people as possible will take part, throughout the year and help us clean up the Camasunary area, and others over the 6 continents, and raise money for NMT.  A challenge indeed!