The Bothy Project Inspires a Hiking Hut Building Boom in the UK

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Traditionally found in remote, northern areas of Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, a “bothy” is often a primitive, stone and wood hut used for hikers and hill walkers to shelter in overnight or during particularly inclement weather. Free for public use, bothies have been an integral part of outdoor culture in these places for hundreds of years, particularly in the Scottish Highlands. In fact, they are still so popular that there’s an entire United Kingdom organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving these historic structures.

Today, The Bothy Project seeks to build a system of off-grid, tiny cabins used primarily as artist residency spaces. Distributed throughout the hinterlands of Scotland, the goal of The Bothy Project, according to its own words, is to “create platforms for artists and researchers to journey and explore the history, landscape, and people in the areas surrounding the bothies. These platforms are established through the creation of purpose built structures made in collaboration with artists, designers, and makers to create a varied network of hand-crafted dwellings.”

Started by architect Iain MacLeod and artist Bobby Niven, The Bothy Project saw its first building completed in 2011 and was”fabricated during the RSA residency at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and then transported to Inshriach Estate near Aviemore where the build was completed in a traditional Scottish woodland area in the Cairngorm National Park.” If you’re particularly artsy yourself (or just looking for a few days away form it on an a Scottish estate), you can rent out the very first building from The Bothy Project (sorry, no kids allowed).

Since 2011, multiple other bothies have been constructed and the project has become a full-blown charity. For 2018 and 2019, the project hopes to “develop an inaugural series of funded artist residency opportunities, establishing the project as a leading art residency organisation.” Which is great for the arts and artists, but honestly, we’re more into the bothies than anything else.

What say you, Americans? Is it time to bring the bothy stateside? We think The Bothy Project could learn a lot from these guys (even if they are Canadian). Though, we can understand if you’d prefer to travel to the Highlands instead.