Sleep in one of the bothies of the Highlands
June 24, 2019
by Gisella Saldeña
When we think of Scotland, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful landscapes that we usually see in the films: the sea with fog, clouds of incredible shapes, lots of green and open fields.
But what not everyone can imagine is the warmth and solidarity of the culture of the people who live in the Highlands. This is why visitors from all over the world are welcome in Scotland, what you can easily verify at every step of your way.
In the east of the Highlands, you can find the beautiful city of Inverness. From where it is possible to access to many places, always having nature as a protagonist. One of those places is called Eathie.
Eathie is one of the best places in Scotland from a geological point of view. Here, you can find rocks formed during the Kimmeridgian period of the Late Jurassic and the fossils found are absolutely well preserved. If you are the type of traveler who loves the simplicity of nature and enjoys watching rocks, listening to the sound of the waves or walking in search of snails, this adventure is for you! Let’s have a look!
How to get to the fossil beach
Getting to Eathie is not difficult at all despite the infrequency of public transport. The secret is to be cautious, check the schedules very well and be punctual when taking the transport.
From Inverness, it’s about an hour by bus to Rosemarkie, a beautiful little medieval town where getting lost in the streets should be a must for every traveler. You can check the bus schedules here.
Once in Rosemarkie, you will find a small car park with an information board on the coast road from Rosemarkie to Cromarty. The walk to the beach takes approximately 40 minutes and has a lower level of difficulty. Here you can enjoy a beautiful path through the forest, observe a variety of birds and appreciate the immensity of the trees. I recommend doing this trip in the morning or early in the afternoon as it gets very dark inside the forest.
Arriving towards the end of the path, a landscape with colorful sea and millenary cliffs magically appear. From there you can see a basic construction but do not stop here, because the place that will shelter you is on your right, hidden among the rocks. Here is one of the many bothies found throughout Scotland ready to welcome you.
But what is a bothy?
We can say that it is a construction, like a basic cabin, where there is no luxury but instead you can find the footprints of other travelers, sleep by the fire and be repaired by the wind. All this for free! If you want to know more information about the bothies, I recommend the official site where you can learn everything about these wonderful places for passing travelers.
Things to do in Eathie
Look for fossils in the rocks
The beach is lonely and has rocks to admire the passing of time. It is ideal to look for fossils that are easy to recognize. If the weather is good, you can spend hours observing the rocks and the aquatic life of the coast.
See the ancient caves
If you take the coast path to the left, you will reach some ancient caves that are as good as the way there. They are not far away but you have to be willing to walk on the rocks.
Search for dolphins
This place is ideal to find dolphins jumping happily in search of small fish. You have to be patient and sit facing the sea for a while and not be distracted. In this way, you will see them very close! Notice that the best time to see the dolphins is about an hour after the low tide, when the water starts to rise and the fish from which the dolphins feed abound.
Spend the night by the fire with the sound of the sea
The bothy is far from the towns and you probably do not see anyone during the day. As I said before it is a quiet place surrounded by nature. After enjoying the sunset, the best plan is to light a fire in the fireplace of the bothy and eat something warm before going to sleep. The sound of the sea will accompany your dreams.
Things to take to the bothy
If you have been to Scotland before, you know that the weather is very changeable and that the most popular saying is: “If you do not like the weather, wait fifteen minutes”. On the beach, it can get very windy and the bothy is a basic cabin without furniture or elements to warm you up. So it is very important to have plenty of warm clothes in order not to have a bad time.
Lighter or matches
This is essential if you don’t want to spend a cold night or if you plan to cook, make tea and why not, toast some bread. If you forget to take matches, as it happened to me, you might find a lighter in the cabin thanks to the solidarity of previous travelers. But it is better not to take the risk!
As I said, the bothy is a simple place and does not have any comforts. It is important that you bring your own sleeping bag.
Food and water
Last but not least, I recommend bringing your own food and water! There are no markets or shops nearby, so it is very important that you take everything you need.
If you are an adventurous traveler you will want to visit all the bothies in Scotland. It is very important to leave the place clean and tidy, just as you would like to find it. Remember that the sense that underlies these shelters open to everyone is that we are all part of nature and therefore we must respect it and take care of it. Be creative and try to leave a nice message to the people who will come after you. Safe travel!