walkhighlands

Bothy Experience - Over Phawhope - was no Bother

Date walked: 27/04/2024

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 11km

Ascent: 200m

bothy9 out.jpg
Welcome to Over Phawhope Bothy, my home for a night and a morning.

bothy10 bye.jpg
Situated on the Southern Upland Way. I came down from the left (Ettrick Pen) the night before.

This walk was preceded by 'An Ettricks Compleation by Bothy'
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=123809


My latest 3-day trip, comprising Cauldcleuch Head and the complete Ettrick Hills, finished with 'the great bothy experiment'. I had built myself up for this for some time, feeling that the most efficient way to get most of the Cairngorms done might be to use all its bothies, but deemed it very advisable to try one out somewhere else (and simpler) first. Over Phawhope was perfect for this, although I didn't know exactly what to expect until I got there. Arriving from Ettrick Pen the night before, tired and keen for shelter, warmth and food, it was immediately obvious this was a 5-star bothy as bothies go. It caters for the Southern Upland Way, but on this occasion it catered only for me: I had it to myself, of which there was evidently about a 50/50 chance of that happening at this time of year (April), I saw from the visitors book. I could spread myself out, take my time, get 'comfortable' (yes indeed, it even had sofas) and learn the ropes.

I had been worried about my ability to start a fire - even though humans have done it for millennia - but I needn't, as there was a sufficient supply of already-cut wood, not to mention coal, matches and firestarter blocks. Idiot-proof really. I did not try to figure out the stove, though, but contented myself with boiling up enough hot water (little kettle placed on top of the fireplace, which took some time) to make a pot noodle from my own supplies. If I hadn't had any, there was already one or two items on site, but it would not be advisable to rely on these. The fire gave off precious little heat, for the purposes of heating the place, and it would have been damned freezing in winter. It takes quite a few decent-sized logs to get a fire burning merrily for an adequate length of time, I discovered, and I soon ran out of these and would have needed to cut some more for myself. Luckily, I didn't need to, because it was bedtime anyway and I had enough stuff to wrap up in to sleep cosily. I did try to saw more chunks the next morning, to make a contribution, but found it no easy task, with a distinct danger of sawing into my thumb (I have memories of doing just that in school woodwork). I'd have managed eventually, but gave up on it, because I had to go; sorry. I cleaned out the ashtray and gathered up a load of tinder for the next visitor, which was the least I could do: I had slept really well (would not have done in winter without a much thicker sleeping bag), and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Bothy1 flag.jpg
Lighting and heating is provided.

bothy2 lounge.jpg
Here is my living room...

bothy3 bed.jpg
...and here is the master bedroom...

bothy4 small.jpg
...and here is the small bedroom.

bothy5 corner.jpg
Don't worry about the graffiti, but note the view from the front window.

bothy6 dead.jpg
Well, we can't guarantee they're not, but...

bothy13 bothies.jpg
Mountain bothies are regularly maintained by the MBA.

bothy8 loo.jpg
There is a choice of toilets (the other being the countryside, but not near the bothy and use a spade).

bothy7 bench.jpg
In addition, Over Phawhope boasts a picnic area, open all year round.

bothy11 info.jpg
'For feats of frolic, strength and agility, he had no equal in his day.' Something to aspire to.

bothy12 info.jpg
Culture hits you when you least expect out there.

During my entire 3-day mission, I had come across a grand total of 4 walkers (3, really, and one runner). I met one guy going the other way on Herman Law at the start of yesterday, then nobody for the rest of the Ettricks. On the morning of my departure from the bothy, 3 folk came by as I pottered about outside. The first of these looked admirably like he was running the entire Southern Upland Way, chugging along with pack and poles, whilst a chap I had a chat with was on his way to do Loch Fell. He had local knowledge and suggested I was a bit lucky not to have encountered the 'friday night crowd' that can occasionally blight this bothy. That would certainly have spoiled my equilibrium. As it was, it was off over the pass of Bodesbeck Burn for me, to gain the Moffat-Selkirk road and up to Birkhill to my car (hoping it had not encountered any friday night crowd in my absence). I managed to mess up this picturesque walk, which should have been simplicity itself, but hey things had gone so perfectly to this point it had to happen. My map cut off exactly at the point where Bodesbeck farm meets the road, so not quite showing which way the access track ran, but I thought surely that won't matter. I intuitively chose right, which was wrong, and it lead only out into fields then along the river on the wrong side, with no bridge for ages and increasingly awkward ground. I finally managed to do a Bear Grylls and cross on some fallen trees, but the whole business would have been easier if I'd simply ploughed across and accepted a foot-soaking earlier. No matter; a great trip!

bothy14 Potburn.jpg
I depart, with fondness. Potburn, just along the track, where I turn off for the pass to the A708.

bothy15 pass.jpg
A blissfull scenic walk over the pass, a view of White Coomb.

bothy16 superb.jpg
A view of Under Saddle Yoke.

bothy17 farm.jpg
The farm at Bodesbeck, where the A708 was supposed to be joined.

bothy18 river.jpg
Moffat Water (I should have been on the other side of it, where the A708 is).

bothy19 rough.jpg
Note the ripple where my foot had gone in. It had all gone too well, have to make some small mistake.

hawick3.jpg
Epilogue: Hawick.

hawick1.jpg
Well done, young men (English though I may be).

hawick2.jpg
The Borders will always be Scottish.

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 2



An Ettricks Compleation by Bothy

Attachment(s) Fionas: Andrewhinney Hill, Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen
Donalds: Andrewhinney Hill, Bell Craig, Bodesbeck Law, Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen, Herman Law, Loch Fell, Wind Fell
Date walked: 26/04/2024
Distance: 23km
Ascent: 1700m
Views: 218


My One Visit to Cauldcleuch Head

Attachment(s) Fionas: Cauldcleuch Head
Donalds: Cauldcleuch Head
Sub 2000s: Greatmoor Hill
Date walked: 25/04/2024
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 600m
Views: 169


A Fantastic Fannichs Five

Attachment(s) Munros: A' Chailleach (Fannichs), Meall a' Chrasgaidh, Sgùrr Breac, Sgùrr nan Clach Geala, Sgùrr nan Each
Date walked: 04/03/2024
Distance: 22km
Comments: 7
Views: 734


Fiona offers a great view

Attachment(s) Fionas: Beinn Bhreac (Meall Dubh)
Date walked: 03/03/2024
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 667m
Views: 292


My First Whiteout Walk

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Faochagach
Date walked: 02/03/2024
Distance: 13km
Ascent: 687m
Comments: 2
Views: 511


Mission Mull Day 3: My Fiftieth (Munro, that is)

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More (Mull)
Fionas: Beinn Fhada, Corra-bheinn, Cruach Choireadail
Date walked: 08/08/2023
Distance: 22km
Ascent: 2513m
Comments: 2
Views: 834


Mission Mull Day 2: Almost Three Corbetts

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Dùn da Ghaoithe
Fionas: Beinn Talaidh, Sgùrr Dearg
Date walked: 07/08/2023
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 1795m
Comments: 1
Views: 492


Mission Mull Day 1

Attachment(s) Fionas: Ben Buie, Creach Beinn
Date walked: 06/08/2023
Distance: 11.5km
Ascent: 1302m
Views: 333


Unpleasant little Fiona destroyed my phone

Attachment(s) Fionas: Meall Tairbh
Date walked: 25/06/2023
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 504m
Comments: 1
Views: 386

The English Alpinist


User avatar
Location: Lancashire England.
Occupation: Food delivery driver.
Interests: Mountaineering, music, movies, writing.
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Loch Lomond Arms
Mountain: Ben More on Mull.
Place: Strathmore, Sutherland.
Gear: DMM cirque mountain axe.
Camera: Samsung smartphone.
Ideal day out: A blue-skied midwinter day in the high mountains.
Ambition: Compleation of the Munros

Munros: 56
Tops: 28
Corbetts: 11
Fionas: 27
Donalds: 28+16
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 136
Sub 2000: 2



Filter reports


Statistics

2024

Trips: 6
Distance: 99 km
Ascent: 3854m
Munros: 6
Fionas: 6
Donalds: 10
Sub2000s: 1

2023

Trips: 10
Distance: 164.5 km
Ascent: 14026m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 10
Donalds: 6

2022

Trips: 20
Distance: 411.7 km
Ascent: 25325m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 6
Fionas: 5
Donalds: 12

2021

Trips: 10
Distance: 238.27 km
Ascent: 12968m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 3
Fionas: 7
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 6

2018

Trips: 1
Distance: 19 km
Munros: 2

2016

Trips: 33
Distance: 1336.64 km
Ascent: 86703m
Hewitts: 70
Wainwrights 133

2015

Trips: 13
Distance: 274.6 km
Ascent: 17762m
Hewitts: 43
Wainwrights 84


Joined: Oct 27, 2015
Last visited: May 17, 2024
Total posts: 321 | Search posts