Remote shelters known as ‘bothies’ across Scotland will now only be available via booking on accommodation sites such as Airbnb and Expedia.
The decision was made by the Mountain Bothies Association due to an increase in vandalism and a lack of volunteers signing up to care for the bothies in 2018.
Mountain bothies have previously been free to the public for use as a mountain refuge. They are popular with farm labourers working in remote areas of Scotland and outdoor enthusiasts.
Usually left unlocked, they are to be found in remote mountainous areas across the country and are particularly common in the Scottish Highlands.
They rely on the good graces of users to keep them well-stocked and in good condition and on a network of volunteers who look after them.
Mountain Bothies Association representative, Dougal MacKenzie, released a statement on Monday, April 1 about the decision to list bothies on popular accommodation websites, including Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia.
”It made the most practical sense to start charging people to use them. There were too many ignorant yahoos treating bothies like playgrounds, leaving piles of rubbish behind and getting drunk and disturbing genuine bothy users.”
Mr MacKenzie estimated over 7000 empty bottles of Buckfast had been collected by volunteers the previous summer.
”Aye, we’ll never stop them going for the drink so we figure we better start charging them to clean up their mess.”
Dougal MacKenzie from the Mountain Bothies Association is fed up with ”ignorant yahoos” treating bothies like a playground.
He says that the Mountain Bothies Association will still be accepting donations, volunteers and members, and will continue to run more or less as usual.
Bothies will be available to book online from April 30.
On a completely unrelated note, happy April Fools Day!