Bonnie Bothy Breakaway

We’ve been covering quite a bit of Scottish ground over the last few years, getting old pins into new places on the map, and still it surprises me that there are whole areas I’ve barely explored. This was very much the case when we took the chance for a quick break away towards the end of 2016, after a really difficult few months that ended in a very personal loss. What both of us needed was to reconnect with things that make us smile, in a place that would go easy on us, and afford us a bit of luxury for a few days.

And so we found ourselves a lovely little spot at the head of Loch Lochy on the Great Glen Way, and stayed two nights in the Bonnie Bothy (one of two Laggan Bothies) courtesy of Canopy & Stars.

It wasn’t hard to fall immediately in love with Bonnie, given her amazing views over the loch and surrounding mountains, as well as the quirky location on a series of canal lochs, and of course the stunning interior of this little cabin. Everything about it was spot on for a quick break away, affording great access to a couple of munros for those who like to bag the summits, good road access for getting there and back when time is short, and proximity to the most amazing little pub on an old barge boat, just 100 metres away. I generally consider my diet meat-free, but I have to confess a huge love for seafood and this restaurant served the best seafood platter I’ve ever had, bar none. The freshest langoustine, the sweetest crab, plump scallops……Just. So. Good.

Of course, like any short trip, I always convince myself before I go that I will allow it to be a relaxing time, a mindful time, and a chance to slow down. And I never fully let it be so. No sooner had we pinned back the doors, put the kettle on, unfolded the table and chairs and briefly laid flat out on the very comfy bed, I was bouncing around taking in the views and generally feeling revitalised in spirit within the hour. This is just the truth of me!

Bonnie Bothy turned out to be more than the perfect base for lots of activities crammed into our 48 hours. Soon after arrival we went for a long walk along part of the Great Glen way and took note of the beautiful autumnal colours that were in and around this amazing area, which constitutes one of the major geological fault systems in Scotland. With the shortening days it wasn’t long before we had the chance to get the wood burner lit, and the whisky drams poured, whilst I got my camera set up for some night time photography.  Did I mention the dark skies? 

The large, cosy full-size king bed meant that the following day I was then well-slept, prepped and ready for the main event: getting my fell-running on to the tops of Sron a Choire Ghairbh and Meall na Teanga - the 'Loch Lochy Munros'. Both are extraordinarily accessible from the bothy door with no need for a car, or bike, and with the path for both mountains starting on the west side of the loch just a short walk away. It turned out to be a stunning run in the hills, through beautiful pine forest and despite feeling very rusty in the legs and lungs, this wasn't going to dampen my spirits knowing I would get to go ‘home’ to the Bothy at the end, with a roaring fire, fine sunset views and a much needed hot shower! In fact, I was so taken with the combo of bothy – run – bothy that I wonder how I will ever run up another mountain again without a snug cabin to return to.

This for me was a perfect mini break. Plenty of accessible action and adventure, but with a bit of luxury too. All too often that’s a really hard combination to achieve (as you either have to rough it at the end of a hard day, you have the luxury sleep with none of the mountain grandeur, or you have the luxury and the grandeur but the destination takes too long to get to). Bonnie Bothy was the perfect solution, and I hope I’ll be back before too long…after all, there’s that 60 mile great glen to kayak… 

Thanks for having us Canopy & Stars! #cscollective 

(Seriously loved the elegant Scottish-inspired decor. Posh #bothylife is something I might just get used to!)