Mountain bothy book that might save a life

If you chance upon one of the 103 bothies in Great Britain that are maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association you might find a new book hidden amongst the mountain shelters – a 66-page newsprint publication that might just save a life – even if it means setting fire to it.

Shenavall bothy

46 artists and writers, led by Edward Summerton, Senior Lecturer at the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, have created 200 copies of ‘Shelter Stone: The Artist and the Mountain’ and dispersed it among bothies and shelters in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as Iceland and even the French Alps.

Made from 70 per cent recycled midge trap waste and in collaboration with the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA), the 66-page Shelter Stone aims to both entertain and perhaps even become a vital survival tool for those hunkered down in a bothy for a night.

Featuring a mix of creative poetry and art, with writers selected by John Glenday and artists selected by Edward Summerton, this November will mark the half way point in the year-long project, which was launched last summer at its namesake the Shelter Stone at Glen Avon in the Cairngorms.

Edward Summerton, Senior Lecturer at the University, said, “Firstly, Shelter Stone is art, it’s not only something to read but acts as a reference to understanding our relationship with the mountain landscape.

“Secondly, it can also be a survival tool. We encourage those who find it and who need some extra warmth, to use it to dry your boots, light a fire or even use it as a draft-excluder. It might just be crucial in harsh mountain conditions.”

Shelter Stone booklet in Moel Prysgau Bothy

Neil Stewart, Mountain Bothies Association Publicity Coordinator, said, “For over 50 years, our volunteers have restored and maintained old buildings as unlocked shelters for people out in remote places.

“A night spent in a bothy is a wonderful experience and can greatly enhance appreciation of our mountain heritage. Shelter Stone will add to that experience and I am sure that those who come across a copy will be both fascinated and delighted with its contents.”

So far five books have been spotted in remote bothies in the UK, including ones in Oban bothy in the West Highlands, Corrour Bothy in the Cairngorms and another in Cae Amos bothy in Wales.

For those unable to access the remote bothies, an exhibition of the publication will be on display next month in conjunction with the Dundee Mountain Film Festival, the longest running mountain film festival in the UK.

The exhibition opens at the Visual Research Centre (VRC) in the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre on Thursday, 23 November at 6pm – and is open to the public from Friday 24 until Saturday 25 from noon – 5pm.

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