A network of mountain huts, much used by hikers, have re-opened as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
The bothies – which are free to use but simple, basic buildings – are dotted across Wales and Scotland. They all closed at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.
Now with with Welsh and Scottish governments removing most restrictions, the 96 bothies can once again be accessed for responsible use by outdoor enthusiasts.
The latest move follows the reopening of the bothies cared for by the Mountain Bothies Association in England on July 13.
Bothy news from charity chairman
The charity undertakes the restoration and maintenance of old cottages, huts and similar buildings for use as open shelters for outdoor enthusiasts. It maintains 103 bothies and two emergency shelters: 84 in Scotland, 12 in northern England and nine in Wales.
Simon Birch, the MBA’s chairman, said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have adopted the position that our shelters are closed and we would like to thank all those responsible MBA members and the general public who have complied with that request.
“Covid-19 has not gone away and governments are advising that everyone should remain vigilant and continue to take precautions to stop the further spread of the virus.
“We are therefore asking bothy users to make their own risk assessment before deciding to visit and to exercise personal responsibility while they are there.
“We are also asking that they follow some straightforward guidelines. By doing so they will protect both themselves and others.”
MBA Covid-19 guidelines
The Mountain Bothies Association asks that hikers and anyone planning to use a bothy to be aware of, and follow, Government health guidelines.
Also, you should not set off to visit a bothy if you have symptoms. It's recommended that you also take a lateral flow test even if you don’t have symptoms.
Take and use your own face masks and sanitising fluid.
Ventilate the building by opening windows and doors but remember to shut the door when you leave.
It is especially important that when you leave that you take with you everything that you have brought in, including rubbish, so that the potential to leave the virus on the surface of your bothy discard is eliminated.
Follow the bothy code and always be respectful, courteous,and tolerant of others.
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.