After sunset the temperature had plummeted and in the late evening the wind increased to a near gale. The roof of the bothy flexed a little in the blast, but we were warm enough in winter sleeping bags. Towards dawn the forecast drop in wind strength arrived, and the temperature fell still further.
Douglas was having trouble with a sore knee but slept once he'd taken some strong painkillers; I slept well. One of the mice in the bothy seemed to fancy a career as a tap dancer as it repeatedly ran across our pan lids. In Scotland we don't have bears to contend with, but we still hang all food and kit in the rafters of bothies away from these industrious little creatures. I have a theory that bothy mice are rapidly evolving into a distinct subspecies (ssp bothy caledoniensis?), being distinguished from regular field or house mice by possessing fitted crampons and titanium tipped teeth....
The morning was grey and very cold. We packed, tidied the bothy and stacked the extra wood we'd collected, then raked through the ash of our fire to make sure it was fully extinguished. We wasted no time in getting our kit back down to the boats and repacking them as the wind was already increasing again.
We'd have a raw wind in our faces on the way back to our starting point; we soon became comfortably warmed up as we paddled steadily into the weather.
Nearing our destination we entered the lee of the land; above us breaks in the grey cloudsheet allowed some sunshine to spotlight the landcape.
All too soon we arrived back at the start point to finish our short winter trip. It had been a superb few days, and proved once again that winter can give great paddling opportunities.
We would normally include details of the location and our route for a trip such as this. In this instance we have decided not to do so. The reason for this is that the bothy we used is not administered by the MBA; it is a private building left unlocked for use by others. The owner merely asks that the Bothy Code is respected and that the location is not publicised. In this way, those who find it will enjoy it as we did and it will not become over-used, particularly by large groups.
If this seems a little selfish we apologise, but surely it's good that in the age of internet information on all MBA bothies being a click away, there are spots to find for oneself?
If you've used this bothy or know where it is, or can guess from the photos on our blogs, Douglas and I would ask that the owner's wishes continue to be respected. If you don't know where it is, we truly hope that you find it in the same way that we did, and that you have as good a time as we did in surely one of the best little bothies in the world.