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Forestry Commission Scotland is looking for the views of hill walkers and the general public over the future use of two mountain bothies found in Galloway Forest Park.
For many years, the Commission has worked closely with the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) to provide the Back Hill o the Bush and Shiel of Castlemaddy bothies to hill walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, both bothies have been subject to continued misuse and vandalism. In light of the on-going problems, the MBA has decided that it can no longer maintain these two bothies.
Rob Soutar, Forestry Commission Scotland said:
“We have been working with the MBA and the police over a number of years to try and address the issues of misuse at both these bothies.
“Unfortunately we are now at a position where we need to think hard about the future use of the two bothies and we need to have input from hill walkers and the public on a practical way forward.”
Back Hill o the Bush was where the idea of a national bothy maintenance organisation was first mooted and led to the formation of the MBA shortly afterwards. The bothy is very well known to the outdoor community.
Because of its historical value and strategic location, the Commission will begin managing the bothy until further notice. Doubts remain over the importance of the Shiel of Castlemaddy building and whether it is a viable resource to keep open. The MBA will continue to maintain two other bothies at White Laggan and Tunskeen, within the forest park.
John Arnott, Chairman of the MBA said:
“Our volunteers in the South of Scotland have worked long and hard over a number of years, repairing damage and maintaining the bothies as a safe place for people to visit, but we have now reluctantly decided, after consultation with the Forestry Commission and other local interests, to relinquish our interest in these two bothies.”
To feed in views on the future use of Back Hill o the Bush and Shiel of Castlemaddy by Thursday 18th March, please log on to www.forestry.gov.uk/gallowaybothies.
Notes to news editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. The MBA is a charity established in 1965. Its volunteer members undertake the restoration and maintenance of unlocked shelters in the remoter parts of Great Britain for the use of outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508
Neil Stewart, MBA Press Officer, 0141 578 6553 or firstname.lastname@example.org