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An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible


Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:39 am

The owners of the MBA-maintained An Cladach bothy on Islay will be closing this bothy for 6 months a year due to information provided in the (MBA-endorsed - their logo is in the book) Scottish Bothy Bible by Geoff Allan. Surely this has to be a very sad day for our bothies and the outdoor community as a whole as a bothy will now be closed due to obvious commercialisation? The owners cannot be blamed at all for their, IMO, entirely understandable decision, but the MBA were warned over the last few years by many members that such direct commercialisation would lead to such inevitable and awful consequences.

What does the forum think?
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby davekeiller » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:34 pm

I think it's very sad.

I'm not sure that commercialisation is the right word. However, I agree with the sentiment that some of these guidebooks are encouraging people to go to remote places but without educating them about showing respect to the environment (or, no doubt, being properly equipped). It's a crying shame because it does spoil these places for the rest of us.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby rgf101 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:11 pm

Remind me of this, which I saw a few months back
https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/stay-in-a-bothy-for-free-3259090

I'm all for getting people out onto the hills, but... I do wonder if bothys should be something you hear about when you're out there, rather than the actual reason for going.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:02 pm

davekeiller wrote:I think it's very sad.

I'm not sure that commercialisation is the right word. However, I agree with the sentiment that some of these guidebooks are encouraging people to go to remote places but without educating them about showing respect to the environment (or, no doubt, being properly equipped). It's a crying shame because it does spoil these places for the rest of us.


I hear what you are saying Dave - all salient points, but surely it has to be commercialisation? What else can it be described as? After all, the Bothy Bible is a commercial guidebook, and whilst - I stress - it is not the main point, it has made the author and publishers a lot of money; >£100k so I've heard. Also, it appears that the owners of bothies such as An Cladach were not consulted prior to publication, so it is no wonder that they are upset. Perhaps the MBA made a grave error when they endorsed the Bothy Bible (for a 10% cut of profits) as the MBA's own Bothy Code does specify that bothies are 'not for commercial groups' and some might say that it would seem reasonable that that would extend to publishers?
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Essan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:21 pm

Ronnie Hillbagger wrote:The owners of the MBA-maintained An Cladach bothy on Islay will be closing this bothy for 6 months a year due to information provided in the (MBA-endorsed - their logo is in the book) Scottish Bothy Bible by Geoff Allan. Surely this has to be a very sad day for our bothies and the outdoor community as a whole as a bothy will now be closed due to obvious commercialisation? The owners cannot be blamed at all for their, IMO, entirely understandable decision, but the MBA were warned over the last few years by many members that such direct commercialisation would lead to such inevitable and awful consequences.

What does the forum think?



The MBA did not endorse Geoff Allan's book. They simply permitted him to use the MBA logo in conjunction with a recommendation to readers to join the MBA and help look after bothies. In other words, he endorsed the MBA ;) And the MBA had no more say in it's publication or content than they do on how much NASA spends on scented toilet rolls.

In the case of An Cladach it's unfortunate that this book gave out what later turned out to be incorrect details on where to park. Maybe if the MBA had been consulted before publication, and been involved in checking the information in the book, this and other some other minor mistakes would not have occurred? Or maybe not.

As for "commercialisation" - mentioning bothies in books that are sold for money - well, had it not been for one published in 1978 I might never have heard of them. Although I daresay I'd have discovered them through the multitude of magazine articles and references in other hill walking and climbing books made throughout the 1980s and 90s. Or websites like Walk Highlands ;)
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Essan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:00 pm

It's also worth noting that whilst the Bothy Bible may give incorrect information on where to park, this in no way at all excuses those people who ignore private road signs, park indiscriminately, blocking access, and/or knock on the door of a private residence, at all times of the day and night, to ask an elderly lady "which way to the bothy?". The latter, presumably, having not read the book ;) These are the ones responsible for the proposed closure of An Cladach during what is, just coincidentally, the stalking season.

But why anyone would be driving to a bothy like An Cladach beats me..... surely it's for kayakers and coastal walkers?

(Of course, quite a few bothies used to be closed during the stalking season back in the old days, so really it's not much different. Just pretend it's 1980 - except now you drive everywhere, instead of walk)
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby iangpark » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:23 pm

I thought this might happen. If I recall, it was listed under 'best for couples' or something and I thought at the time that the poor place was really going to suffer for it, despite being a somewhat rugged bothy to reach. Was lucky enough to visit in 2017 before the book had come out (and a relative thoughtfully bought me it as they knew I was an occasional bothy fan). Think I first came across bothies on WH in all honesty but this is why fishermen keep their best spots secret - because the aesthetic-loving populous will always (by no fault of their own) find a way to drain the magic out of things like this.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:41 pm

Essan wrote:It's also worth noting that whilst the Bothy Bible may give incorrect information on where to park, this in no way at all excuses those people who ignore private road signs, park indiscriminately, blocking access, and/or knock on the door of a private residence, at all times of the day and night, to ask an elderly lady "which way to the bothy?". The latter, presumably, having not read the book ;) These are the ones responsible for the proposed closure of An Cladach during what is, just coincidentally, the stalking season.

But why anyone would be driving to a bothy like An Cladach beats me..... surely it's for kayakers and coastal walkers?

(Of course, quite a few bothies used to be closed during the stalking season back in the old days, so really it's not much different. Just pretend it's 1980 - except now you drive everywhere, instead of walk)


Hi Essan,

I need to correct you here: The Bothy Bible states that you can park at 'Lossit Farm (NR 413 655)' which is down a signed 'private' (I've seen the sign myself) private road. Therefore, bothy goers have been directed by the book itself. It is sad to see your inference that this closure by the estate is anything to do with the stalking season as this is simply not the case, and is disingenuous unless you have evidence to support that claim? This case is very different to any bothy closures of the '80s as it is a direct result of a commercial guidebook or in other words bothy commercialisation and whilst this may be a recent phenomenon it is a great shame and is surely worthy of public debate such as that afforded on this forum.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:46 pm

Essan wrote:
Ronnie Hillbagger wrote:The owners of the MBA-maintained An Cladach bothy on Islay will be closing this bothy for 6 months a year due to information provided in the (MBA-endorsed - their logo is in the book) Scottish Bothy Bible by Geoff Allan. Surely this has to be a very sad day for our bothies and the outdoor community as a whole as a bothy will now be closed due to obvious commercialisation? The owners cannot be blamed at all for their, IMO, entirely understandable decision, but the MBA were warned over the last few years by many members that such direct commercialisation would lead to such inevitable and awful consequences.

What does the forum think?



The MBA did not endorse Geoff Allan's book. They simply permitted him to use the MBA logo in conjunction with a recommendation to readers to join the MBA and help look after bothies. In other words, he endorsed the MBA ;) And the MBA had no more say in it's publication or content than they do on how much NASA spends on scented toilet rolls.

In the case of An Cladach it's unfortunate that this book gave out what later turned out to be incorrect details on where to park. Maybe if the MBA had been consulted before publication, and been involved in checking the information in the book, this and other some other minor mistakes would not have occurred? Or maybe not.

As for "commercialisation" - mentioning bothies in books that are sold for money - well, had it not been for one published in 1978 I might never have heard of them. Although I daresay I'd have discovered them through the multitude of magazine articles and references in other hill walking and climbing books made throughout the 1980s and 90s. Or websites like Walk Highlands ;)


Hi essan,

The MBA DID endorse the Scottish Bothy Bible.

A quote from MBA Management Committee meeting minutes 01st December 2018 (AOCB) thus: "The group were informed that Geoff Allen [SIC] is producing another book and are the MBA going to endorse it? The Chairman advised that there had been no decision on endorsing this book. It was
decided at the meeting that the MBA would not endorse this new book."


An obvious question here: If the MBA thought it such a good idea to endorse Geoff Allan's first book why are distancing themselves from his - as yet unpublished - 'next book'?
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Essan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:37 pm

The MBA did not endorse the Bothy Bible. This is quite clear since no such endorsement exists. A mostly positive review in the MBA newsletter does not constitute an official endorsement (and I stand by that review - it's quite a good book, some errors notwithstanding, and I would personally recommend it, but also advise people to check the MBA website for more up to date info on bothy access etc as this does change and any book may quickly become out of date)
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:48 pm

Essan wrote:The MBA did not endorse the Bothy Bible. This is quite clear since no such endorsement exists. A mostly positive review in the MBA newsletter does not constitute an official endorsement (and I stand by that review - it's quite a good book, some errors notwithstanding, and I would personally recommend it, but also advise people to check the MBA website for more up to date info on bothy access etc as this does change and any book may quickly become out of date)


Hi Essan,

I did not quote a positive review in the MBA newsletter (although that may be seen by many as a further endorsement) to support the fact that the MBA endorsed the Bothy Bible - please read my post.

Here is another quote from MBA Trustee Meeting minutes from 17th March 2018:
"THE SCOTTISH BOTHY BIBLE – agreed Trustee response to any future queries – AGREED 25th February 2018
Our agreed stance:
Geoff Allan approached us. We did not commission the book. The book had already been accepted by a
publisher and was ready to “go”. He asked if he could include our logo in return for giving us 10% of the
profit and him acting as an ambassador for the Association in any publicity work that he carried out."


That is a clear endorsement for a 10% fee...

So, if you support the Bothy Bible will you now end your support now that an MBA-maintained bothy will be closed as a direct result of the Bothy Bible?
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Essan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:58 pm

Ronnie Hillbagger wrote:
Essan wrote:The MBA did not endorse the Bothy Bible. This is quite clear since no such endorsement exists. A mostly positive review in the MBA newsletter does not constitute an official endorsement (and I stand by that review - it's quite a good book, some errors notwithstanding, and I would personally recommend it, but also advise people to check the MBA website for more up to date info on bothy access etc as this does change and any book may quickly become out of date)


Hi Essan,

I did not quote a positive review in the MBA newsletter (although that may be seen by many as a further endorsement) to support the fact that the MBA endorsed the Bothy Bible - please read my post.

Here is another quote from MBA Trustee Meeting minutes from 17th March 2018:
"THE SCOTTISH BOTHY BIBLE – agreed Trustee response to any future queries – AGREED 25th February 2018
Our agreed stance:
Geoff Allan approached us. We did not commission the book. The book had already been accepted by a
publisher and was ready to “go”. He asked if he could include our logo in return for giving us 10% of the
profit and him acting as an ambassador for the Association in any publicity work that he carried out."


That is a clear endorsement for a 10% fee...


No is not. I don't think you understand what endorsement means. Or maybe you have been duped by a certain person who opposes anyone knowing where bothies are? The Bothy Bible endorsed the MBA, Not the other way around. Why do you think that was such a bad thing? Are you so against people looking after bothies? :o

So, if you support the Bothy Bible will you now end your support now that an MBA-maintained bothy will be closed as a direct result of the Bothy Bible?


No, see above. I advise people to use the MBA website.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Ronnie Hillbagger » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:10 pm

Essan wrote:
Ronnie Hillbagger wrote:
Essan wrote:The MBA did not endorse the Bothy Bible. This is quite clear since no such endorsement exists. A mostly positive review in the MBA newsletter does not constitute an official endorsement (and I stand by that review - it's quite a good book, some errors notwithstanding, and I would personally recommend it, but also advise people to check the MBA website for more up to date info on bothy access etc as this does change and any book may quickly become out of date)


Hi Essan,

I did not quote a positive review in the MBA newsletter (although that may be seen by many as a further endorsement) to support the fact that the MBA endorsed the Bothy Bible - please read my post.

Here is another quote from MBA Trustee Meeting minutes from 17th March 2018:
"THE SCOTTISH BOTHY BIBLE – agreed Trustee response to any future queries – AGREED 25th February 2018
Our agreed stance:
Geoff Allan approached us. We did not commission the book. The book had already been accepted by a
publisher and was ready to “go”. He asked if he could include our logo in return for giving us 10% of the
profit and him acting as an ambassador for the Association in any publicity work that he carried out."


That is a clear endorsement for a 10% fee...


No is not. I don't think you understand what endorsement means. Or maybe you have been duped by a certain person who opposes anyone knowing where bothies are? The Bothy Bible endorsed the MBA, Not the other way around. Why do you think that was such a bad thing? Are you so against people looking after bothies? :o

So, if you support the Bothy Bible will you now end your support now that an MBA-maintained bothy will be closed as a direct result of the Bothy Bible?


No, see above. I advise people to use the MBA website.


Yes it is, clearly.

I don't believe I've stated anywhere that I'm at all concerned about 'knowing where bothies are' - their locations are all available on the MBA website after all. That is NOT the issue. The issue is the direct commercialisation of bothies by the Bothy Bible and not the publicity of their locations. To suggest otherwise is a diversion. I'll ignore the jibe about being duped and my views are my own, but perhaps you could enlighten the forum as to who that 'certain person' you refer to is?

On the contrary. I fully support those who look after bothies and, as you will be well aware, many MBA members, volunteers and Officials are appalled at the closure of An Cladach due to the MBA-endorsed Bothy Bible. If you are OK with that then I suggest re-thinking you stance on a book that has directly led to a bothy closure.
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby Essan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:34 pm

My concern is your false, disingenuous and, indeed, libellous, assertion that the MBA endorsed the Bothy Bible. When clearly they did not. Quite the opposite. And the fact that it appears that you only joined this forum to spread such lies and, IMO, fervour animosity against the MBA.

Meanwhile, there has at yet been no agreement on any agreement with regards An Cladach. However, the Estate have said that they wish to close the bothy (its not clear atm how) from Sept to March starting from next year, due to inconsiderate parking by a minority of bothy users and the distress caused to the owner by persons asking how to get to the bothy. I expect that to be the case.

Potential users should take note, but check the MBA website which will be updated as and when any agreement is reached (it also makes clear where you should park)

https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/bothies/southwest-highlands-islands/an-cladach/
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Re: An Cladach to be closed due to Bothy Bible

Postby dav2930 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:36 pm

Ronnie Hillbagger wrote:The MBA DID endorse the Scottish Bothy Bible.

A quote from MBA Management Committee meeting minutes 01st December 2018 (AOCB) thus: "The group were informed that Geoff Allen [SIC] is producing another book and are the MBA going to endorse it? The Chairman advised that there had been no decision on endorsing this book. It was
decided at the meeting that the MBA would not endorse this new book."

Having briefly read through this thread with a feeling of dismay about the main issue in question (that the Scottish Bothy Bible is having such a negative effect on the gift-economy that the Scottish bothy system so wonderfully represents), I find myself extremely puzzled by the assertion made in the above post. The quote clearly suggests that the MBA does not endorse the SBB. I cannot see how you can derive the opposite conclusion from this quote! Are you a member of the current government by any chance? :?
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