The Cairngorms is a vast area of wild land, containing five of the six highest mountains in the UK as its expansive, high plateau of subarctic tundra stretches for miles.
Walkers can access this via the northern corries of the range and also through mountain passes that cut between the peaks, such as the Lairig Ghru. But while this enables people to go walking
in the area and ascend the many Munros of the range, the fact remains that the peaks are far away from the nearest B&Bs, hotels and youth hostels.
Bothies can provide part of the answer for those embarking on long expedictions, particularly now the long days of summer have passed.
By the Lairig Ghru, for example, the Corrour Bothy offers a place to stay and shelter overnight, while being conveniently located at the foot of an ascent route towards the Devil's Point and Cairn Toul, with Sgorr an Lochan Uaine just beyond. After an impromptu breakfast, walkers can set off in the morning and bag three Munros by lunchtime, two of them over 4,000 ft.
Those studying their Ordnance Survey maps
will find a number of other bothies in the area and one of these is the Hutchison Memorial Hut, 2,500 ft up in Coire Etchachan. This is useful for the other side of the plateau and peaks such as Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm and Beinn Meadhoin.
Visitiors will not be able to use this facility for the next three weekends, but this is because the Mountain Bothies Association has arranged a work party, necessitating the temporary closure of the hut on those dates. There may also be some midweek work.
The bothy is part of the Mar Lodge Estate and those using it between September 1st and October 31st should always contact the estate anyway, as this is the deer stalking season.
However, the hut remains a highly useful means of getting around this area and its lofty mountains. Built in 1954 with money from friends of the late Dr GA Hutchinson - who died in a climbing accident in Wales in 1949 - its modernisation and renovation may make it a great deal more comfortable for future users.
While few people may know much about the late Dr Hutchinson, many will be glad of his memorial as they explore this special place.