DATE                                       24.10.2010

DISTANCE                              ABOUT 5.5 MILES

WEATHER                              BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH                     CAR PARK BY CHURCH


Spithope bothy

After reading an article about the mountain bothy’s made me realise that there was one in a section of woodland that I have been near but as far as I can remember I have never seen , so todays walk was going to be a very basic walk in and out , hopefully along easy to walk forestry tracks and a small section of the Pennine way , just to see if  it was still there &  to see what it was like , I had been reading that so many of these bothys where being closed due to vandalism especially the one where it doesn’t take too much effort to get there , I suppose that this one would be classed as easy to get to , however the nearest human life  Is in  the small village of Byrness and I cant see there being many bored pissed up yoffs living there who would want to trash the place and it’s a long way to drive from the bigger towns but …………………you never know .

And much to my amazement my better half Yvonne commonly know as the “Hack” said that she would join me today providing that :-

  1. I carried all the gear
  2.  I paid for all the food
  3. There was NO hill’s  involved
  4. It wouldn’t rain
  5. That we had sex that night (she didn’t really! that was just wishful thinking on my part)

After a quick study of the Map a route was quickly sorted , gear was thrown into the car and off we went , the plan was to park up at the small church at Byrness where the Pennine way passes it , then once we got our gear on and I nearly broke my back putting the rucksack on (why is it always so heavy when Yvonne come along ?) we set off along the Pennine way BUT first we had to cross over the road ,once we successfully crossed safely over we entered the forest only to be greeted by a host of signs telling us to keep out as they are busy cutting down the trees , looking at the state of the overgrown path it would appear that the signs have done there job and no one has used this section for some time , however it was Sunday and I am almost certain that no one works here on a Sunday so being the fearless leader we pressed on battling our way threw the overgrown vegetation ……………what I should have done is what any normal sane person did and that was follow the diversion sign and walk along the forestry track especially as we where hoping to link up with it anyway .

Considering this was the first time (that I can remember) being in these woods and walking along a very well recently used forestry track I have to say that I “liked” the area, the views that opened up looking across the valley where good and all in all its was very peaceful, However nothing good last for ever and soon we came to the footpath that would lead us to the bothy and things started to get a bit on the difficult side.

I think that this was a lovley shady footpath that would have taken us to the bothy however the forestry people had been out cutting all the trees down, it was possible to see in places where the path was, but it was impossible to stick to it and so for the next mile or so it was a case of splodging across churned up mud, climbing over old tree roots and branches and generally weaving in and out of the old dead wood making our way in roughly the right direction, then right out of the blue we could see the bothy , picking the most direct route was out of the question and so we slowly made our way down towards the Spithope burn where we where rewarded by seeing a lovley small waterfall from there it was almost spitting distance to the Bothy .

This was the first time we had been in this bothy and I have to say that we where both very surprised on how clean, tidy and how well maintained it was. Naturally we stopped and used the facility’s for lunch (I know I spoil Yvonne at times) and had a read of the visitors log book, it was full with some very amusing comments, on further investigation the “larder shelf” had plenty of “just add water “dried food and there was coffee, tea and sugar in various jars that a knackered walker could use to stuff his or her face all washed down with a hot drink. Its nothing earth shattering but stuff like this helps restore my faith in the human race, but then I always maintain that walkers are nice people, I mean you meet someone in the middle of nowhere and instantly you talk about anything like it’s the most naturally thing in the world where as you must pass hundreds of folk in town and don’t get so much as a hello …..Yep walkers are nice folk! after we finished our lunch it was a case of clear up , I noticed that we still had a couple of coffee  sachets going spare and in doing my good deed for the day put them on the food shelve along with a couple of unopened packets of bisects . the visitors book was signed and we where off , our route back was to cross over the stream walk up some man made steps to the forestry track and walk back on the other side of the valley . We saw a few deer but unfortunately they where very skittish and buggered off before I could get a photo of them. But walking back looking over the other side or should I say the hills on the other gave me a brilliant brainwave about returning and walking along a section of the Pennine way and cutting back this way . Yep that’s a good plan for another day, the walk back proved to be very relaxing and peaceful, I sometime forget how quite it is up this neck of the woods   , even my better half maintained a smile on her face then all to quickly we where back at the church and the car, we did about 5 ½ miles with no great amounts of the ups and downs. A very enjoyable day made better by the visit to the bothy, any one interested about the bothy people: - link

A few photos from today

My better half Yvonne taken just before we enter the trees


The path (a bit overgrown in places)


We should have followed the diversion signs

Now on the forestry track and we leave the forest

The views start to open up.


Yvonne leading the way, very easy walking along this track


Looking up the valley


Looking across the “other side” where we should be walking back later today


Some sort of mushroom or toadstool


All good things come to an end, looks like we have found where they are logging


Looking up towards some crags, I start to think about walking up there another day


The end of the road and time for us to join the footpath to the Bothy

The path isn’t too bad to start with, and the views are really good considering we haven’t really gained any height

First sighting off the bothy ……..but how to get there?


A bit closer it looks like a small waterfall on the burn


We start to cut down and link up with what I think was an old fire break

Now down by the burn and the waterfall a few photos


Yvonne having a well deserved sit down

Now entering the bothy looking towards the man made steps on the other side of the river (our way back?)

Yvonne entering the bothy

Looking up the valley before I go in


Lunch in the bothy ……yes I spoil her at times


Time to leave; this place is in excellent condition thanks to the bothy people


Looking down at the bothy after we have crossed over the burn


Looking up the valley, I have already made planes to walk up there another day


There is something about this place...very peaceful


Same place looking up at the crags above, I will be up there next time.


Now on the track on the way back a few photos as we walk along

A very happy Yvonne (very rare to see a smile on her face)

Back at the church where we left the car.



This was a lovely introduction to this area and I will be back again very soon , and a big thank you to the  Mountain Bothies Association who look after the building .