The Queen’s private Scottish estate is at the centre of another row over “misuse” at Balmoral.
The Mountain Bothies Association announced today that two vital shelters on the estate have been locked – at least one due to “irresponsible” behaviour.
It comes just days after Balmoral hit out at wild toileting on the 50,000 acre estate.
The MBA maintains about 100 shelters for walkers in some of the remoter parts of the UK, though they are currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have been advised by Balmoral Estate that they have now been forced to lock Gelder Shiel bothy due to irresponsible misuse of the building, during the ‘lockdown’ period. Glas Allt Shiel bothy on the same Estate is also locked,” said the charity in a statement on its website.
It’s hardly palatial, but Gelder Shiel does have one luxury many bothies don’t – a toilet – and it lies in the shadow of the imposing mountain Lochnagar, imortalised by Prince Charles in his children’s story The Old Man of Lochnagar.
In May, the MBA also warned over Glas Allt Shiel bothy, also near Lochnagar “due to recent misuse, despite it being officially closed”.
“It should not need saying, but all bothies are currently closed, and whilst they may not all be locked, anyone entering one seriously affects the long term viability of them,” the MBA warned then.