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Luxury bothies in Loch Eriboll area get the go-ahead for wilderness escapes


By Mike Merritt

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A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.
A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.

They are traditionally the barest of mountain shelters where hikers huddle in a sleeping bag.

But Scotland's richest man has won planning permission to create four futuristic bothies in some of the remotest parts of Sutherland.

The "unique" visitor experience will see guests given a map and compass to hike through wilderness to the two-person lodges – and even carry their own rubbish back at the end of their stay.

Billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen's company Wildland Ltd will build four of the off-grid structures on its estates.

A spokesman for Wildland said that Highland Council had now approved the quartet in Sutherland.

The company says it was "re-imagining" the bothy experience.

Two others are also planned in future at Glenfeshie in the Cairngorms.

They will have no TV, internet or pampered luxuries, but views of spectacular wildlife and stunning mountains and glens.

They ooze chic Scandinavian basic and are not spartan, with showers, kitchens and log and gas fires.

"These bothies will be unique in their ethos, design and situation, adding a valuable and enriching component to the Wildland guest-experience," said an accompanying document to Highland Council.

"While currently visitors' experiences of the remoter parts of the Wildland estates are largely limited to day trips, embarked upon from lodges or cottages, these bothies will provide a rare opportunity for wild living, where guests can spend several days living off-grid, in true solitude.

"They will provide an elevated experience of the traditional bothy, combining excellent design, service, produce, materials and craftmanship with the quintessential experience of the Scottish wilderness."

A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.
A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.

Another statement added:"Positioned in remote locations far from existing settlements, these bothies will form part of the wider Wildland hospitality vision, supporting important conservation work by providing access to wild places with a minimal ecological footprint."

The Sutherland bothies – in the area between and around Loch Hope and Loch Eriboll – will be serviced from central facilities.

The single-storey structures – which will be modular and mainly constructed off site to minimise environmental damage – will have a bed space, a study area, bathroom, kitchen and living area.

They will have a mix of charred timber battens, burnished copper, natural lime render and charred timber shingles on the exterior with a solid oak lining.

The modern design concept seeks to "balance sensitivity in the landscape and provide a unique and truly remote living experience for guests".

"Each bothy site has been selected following hundreds of hours exploring remote parts of the Wildland estates, subject to careful ecological, experiential, and operational consideration," said Wildland in a series of reports.

"While each location provides a sense of remote solitude, wherever possible the sites utilise existing estate tracks, thereby mitigating the need for new footpaths or service accesses. Where this isn’t possible, access is provided directly by boat on the shore of Loch Hope. Due to the ecological sensitivity and remote nature of the sites, significant attention has been given to the construction and servicing of the bothies, to ensure minimal impact on the landscape during construction and use.

A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.
A computer image of how the new bothies might look in the remote landscape.

"The completely off-grid nature of the bothies, and their isolated location encourages guests to hike in, exploring remote parts of the estates.

"It is anticipated that visitors will stay between two and four days. When departing, guests will carry out their own refuse, recycling, bedding as well as their own belongings.

"The current toilet options consist of either a composting toilet or an incinerating toilet. A rechargeable battery is planned to power the water pump, water filtration, LED lighting, two single power sockets and incinerator or fan ventilation for the toilet."

A spokesman for Wildland previously said:"This represents a seven-figure investment providing a paid-for experience for singles and couples to bathe in nature with the ethos of leave no trace. It is re-imagining the bothy experience with designs that reflect the Neolithic heritage of the area.

"Guests will be encouraged to keep electricity use to a minimum and to re-engage with nature."

The cost of staying at the bothies has not yet been decided, but it is hoped that work will begin on the structures next year.



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