John D Burns, author of The Last Hillwalker, returns with a collection of tales about the beloved bothy.
Drawing from plenty of first-hand experience, he paints a rich image of the grey stone buildings, roaring fires and the hunger of those who seek them. The many people he meets are capture with care, accuracy and a healthy dose of humour.
Encounters and experience very wildly. The man who would or could not stop talking, even in his sleep. Dreaded tent fires and, as with so many wilderness journeys, those seeking peace and self in the hills. And poetry. For there is always poetry and bothies.
But his solo experiences are best. Burns has a great sense of depth and self-exploration. He is a proud outdoorsman, yet honest. Both his triumphs and his failings among the hills and glens are treasured memories.
Burns is a talented writer, with a no-nonsense flourish. In his hands the Cold feels bitter, whiskey feels warm, the map and compass become close companions. This style pares well with each story, allowing them to stand apart from each other.
A Quiet Word and A Night in Two-Hat Bothy were my most favourite, drawing me to my rucksack and boots. I craved to earn my own blisters! If you’re looking for the perfect fireside read, then trek no further. Settle down with some Bothy Tales.
Reviewed by Kelsey Ward