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Despite considerable challenges, volunteers of the Mountain Bothies Association have successfully completed work re-roofing two of its most remote bothies – Dibidil in Rum and Ollisdal in Skye.
At Dibidil, after most materials had been delivered, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused an 18-month delay to work starting.
During the delay, some food went out of date and had to be replaced, the materials left outside had to be moved into the bothy because their protective polythene covers had disintegrated due to UV and strong winds, and some of the petrol for generators had evaporated and also had to be replaced.
Work finally got under way in September this year. Eighteen volunteers worked for 220-person days; some of this time being needed for the challenging five-mile walk to and from Kinloch, the only island habitation.
Six people stayed for the entire 23 days. The work party also received considerable assistance from the local fish farm in transporting food and equipment by boat.
Ollisdal bothy also has a new roof. It was particularly urgent that this work was undertaken as soon as possible after most Covid-19 restrictions were lifted – the existing roof had been badly damaged by winter storms and the bothy was unusable.
Hard work by a small work party in early October saw the damaged roof removed and a new one installed.
Mountain Bothies Association chairman Simon Birch said: ‘We thank all of our volunteers at the two work parties for their considerable efforts and for their willing compliance with the additional precautions necessary to ensure a Covid-19 secure working environment.’
The Mountain Bothies Association is a charity established in 1965, with around 4,300 members.
With the consent and support of their owners, it undertakes the restoration and maintenance of old cottages, huts and similar buildings throughout the wilder parts of Scotland, England and Wales for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
It currently maintains 103 bothies and two emergency shelters, 84 in Scotland, 12 in northern England and nine in Wales.