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A Cheap Lesson Learned.

A Cheap Lesson Learned.


Postby BigTed » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:48 pm

I was in the Feshie bothy recently. There was half a dozen of us gabbing in the RH downstairs room. Late evening. Meanwhile a Duke of Edinburgh group of 4 or 5 camped outside were using the other downstairs room to cook.

A shout of alarm went up and I went through to see a sheet of flame 3 feet high on the table with a burning gas canister at the bottom of it. Someone opened the door and I used a couple pans to shove the canister to the floor and kick it out the door. Someone else poured water over the table and put the remaining flames out. No harm done.

It turns out one of the DOE group had finished cooking and dismantled his gas stove at the table beside a lit candle. I pointed out the now obvious to him rule that gas canisters are best changed in the open air and certainly not when there is a naked flame anywhere near.

I'm sure the group won't forget it. The smoke/heat alarms in the bothy work/.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby al78 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 12:35 am

Oops, very careless.

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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby gaffr » Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:07 am

More than just careless....D o E folks should not be in the Bothy apart from emergencies perhaps. Camping is the shelter and cooking done outside of a tent.
I would say that they should be failed for this Award.
Were it not for the users in the Bothy the building could have been burnt down.
I can recall a similar incident in Ryvoan Bothy several years ago when someone entering the building came across a similar firewall... again the severely burned person who was changing a gas cylinder with a burning candle nearby..
The injured person was walked out to the Lodge..... Constantly applied wet towels applied to the injuries?
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby al78 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:29 am

gaffr wrote:D o E folks should not be in the Bothy apart from emergencies perhaps.


Why not if the bothy was open? When I stayed at the Barrisdale campsite earlier this year there was an adjacent building with rooms locked apart from a toilet and kitchen area, and I and others used the kitchen for cooking. Obviously we didn't have any naked flames nearby.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby allanglens » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:34 am

al78 wrote:
gaffr wrote:D o E folks should not be in the Bothy apart from emergencies perhaps.


Why not if the bothy was open? When I stayed at the Barrisdale campsite earlier this year there was an adjacent building with rooms locked apart from a toilet and kitchen area, and I and others used the kitchen for cooking. Obviously we didn't have any naked flames nearby.


I think, or understand, that it's the rules for the DoE expedition that they can only use built shelters in emergencies. Not that MBA bothies don't allow DoE groups.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby gaffr » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:59 am

Unless the rules regarding Bothy/shelter use have been changed I don't think that a few midges would count as an emergency? :)
As it stood or stands? the use of a fixed shelter is not allowed so perhaps the rules have been broken.

Oddly enough I have been twice involved in the quelling of stove fires in the Cottage before the upgrading was made.
Once when a student group were cooking upstairs with bedding and all the rest spread out when a fire started fortunately there were enough folks downstairs to form a chain to deliver water to put out the flames. ...and again at RA when I was asleep upstairs when a very large fire in the downstairs from an overloaded grate setting fire to the support beams of the roof I was awakened by the crackling of the wood above where I was inside my sleeping bag....again enough folks around to get water via a chain gang.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Giant Stoneater » Tue Aug 31, 2021 11:47 am

From 2011

Gleann Dubh Lighe bothy, off the Mallaig road in Lochaber, arguably one of Scotland's finest bothies, in which the building was gutted by fire.

"I had an extreme dodgy gas canister event at 6am the other morning. As I screwed in a brand new HIGHLANDER canister the seal seemed to burst and gas billowed out and was ignited by a candle burning my face, eyebrows, beard and most of my fleece. I ran outside padding out the flames as the canister continued to spray massive flames directly onto my rucksack which was burning by the time I returned. I threw a fire blanket to no avail and poured what water we had on it. I went to get more water but when I came back I couldn't get inside for black smoke and the inferno. All I escaped with was my wallet and sleeping bag. I called the fire service and felt like a totally useless b*st*rd. My sincerest apologies to everyone."

It looks as though the o-ring seal on the stove has either failed or dropped out. It is known that the o-ring seal in a stove taking a universal thread type gas-canister can adhere to the sealing surface of the canister, so sustaining damage or being pulled out completely.

The couple staying at the bothy had a narrow escape. It could have been a tragedy resulting from a simple action many of us perform on a regular basis... when was the last time you checked to ensure the seal was intact and in place prior to fitting a new canister?

It may even be argued that it was fortunate the chap was closer to a lit candle than he should have been, as the rapid build-up of gas in a confined space could easily have led to fatal consequences had it ignited once the canister had emptied itself. We need to ask ourselves what might be the consequences of such a thing happened inside a tent, or even out in the open if our clothing becomes saturated with gas!

Finally, it was reported yesterday that the Fire Brigade had managed to get two tenders to the fire, on an estate road which includes a very sharp turn onto a steep downhill gradient, an unrated bridge and a half kilometre of steep upward gradient. A big thanks to some of Scotland's finest!
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby davekeiller » Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:53 pm

The DofE group weren't using the bothy to sleep in, they were merely cooking in there (or at least that's my interpretation of the OP).
I don't see how that's any different from using a sheltered cooking area on a campsite. Given that DofE groups are allowed to use campsites, logically it follows that they are allowed to use the facilities on those campsites. They're certainly allowed to use the toilets and showers!

Having said that, I can see a case for the assessor saying that causing a fire like that means that they're too incompetent to be allowed out on their own and calling off the rest of the expedition.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby NickyRannoch » Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:25 pm

I'm a DofE assessor and it's perfectly acceptable for a group to use a bothy for a rest, a cup for tea or preparing a meal. They just can't use them as the overnight shelter (the guidance does now allow bunkhouses or camping cottages whatever they are)

We often use bothies as a rendezvous at the end of the day.

Anyone can make a mistake. I wouldn't fail a group for this and wouldn't stop the expedition unless someone had suffered severe injury.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby gaffr » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:26 pm

There has been a number of good Bothies that have been lost on account of fire. Open fireplaces and the changing of gas cylinders inside the building seem to be the main cause. As said on here by a earlier poster that changing gas cans should be done outside the building to avoid the 'flare ups'.
I can think of Nest of Fannich, Upper Glen Tanar, Blackburn of Pattack that were burned down and of course the one mentioned on here earlier. There was a small refuge Feinasheen close to Lochivraon that I am sure was intact when I passed by many years back but on a more recent occasion it had gone....just a pile of junk.
Are there more of these lost Bothies?
Another thought is that do the MBA still have a policy of saying no to the use of Bothies by groups of folks but I guess it all depends upon what is considered to be a group of folks. :)
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Dave Hewitt » Tue Aug 31, 2021 10:02 pm

gaffr wrote:Nest of Fannich

The Nest was an amazing place - basically a proper big house (although part of it was shut off) with wood-panelled rooms. I think I only stayed there once, in 1987, and it didn't last long after that - can anyone remember when the fire happened - 1990ish?

In one of his books Hamish Brown mentions some hill friends playing a game where they each in turn simply said the name of somewhere they loved and they would then just sit in silence for a while with fond memories - and one of the places Hamish mentions in this context is Nest of Fannich.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Senja » Tue Aug 31, 2021 10:22 pm

Sat down in a bothy now, just me and the ghosts that are memories. Thinking of the Nest and our battle through Winter spates to get to it and then later reading about its loss in High. Wish I had a dram to raise in its memory
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Scraggygoat » Wed Sep 01, 2021 9:11 am

The Iron Bothy at Glenbeg burnt down in the last decade or so. The estate had only given permission for folks to use it a year or two before, and shortly after the fire took the adjacent stone Bothy back from MBA care. Which is now no longer water tight with a large hole in the roof. So in away two bothies lost for one fire.

Bob Scott’s of course, but like GDL rebuilt.

On my reckoning a Bothy burns down a bit short of once a decade.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Booga » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:05 pm

Isn't the current Bob Scott's the 3rd incarnation of the bothy? Having burned down twice? :shock:

I believe the "teepee" shaped bothy at Crossburn in Galloway was a victim of fire too.
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Re: A Cheap Lesson Learned.

Postby Caberfeidh » Tue Sep 07, 2021 11:01 am

Booga wrote:Isn't the current Bob Scott's the 3rd incarnation of the bothy? Having burned down twice? :shock:

I believe the "teepee" shaped bothy at Crossburn in Galloway was a victim of fire too.


Yes Bob Scott's is now in it's third incarnation - and a poor shadow of it's former self. Crossburn was a neat, well designed place, shame it went. The Sinclair Hut in the Lairig Ghru was a ghastly municipal toilet block of a place, removed not by fire (it was non-flammable, being made of a chilled mix of liquid nitrogen, concrete, stone and ice) but deliberately dismantled as it was a lure to the unwary who may have thought the map indicated a cosy shelter.

Scotties 1989#2r.jpg
Bob Scott's 1989 ish


Crossburn Bothy 1980s.jpg
My late brother Andy at Crossburn Bothy, early/mid1980s.


014sinc.jpg
Sinclair Hut/Municipal Toilet Block
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