The Bothy Book: Introducing Venture Trust’s New Blog

Posted on 30 September 2021

Venture Trust is proud to launch our new Blog – The Bothy Book 

 Andy Hardie, our Clinical Manager came up with the name for our new blog   

‘a bothy is a place of safety in a storm, a place to take shelter and recuperate in the wildest of landscapes. Traditionally open to all, they are a place you may meet others who are also on a journey, similar but perhaps different to yours. A place where you can share in the warmth of a fire, a song or a tale. But you may also find solitude there; space to contemplate where you’ve been and where you’re headed. In each bothy there is usually a book where people can sign their name, tell their story and share their voice. It may include reflections, poems, observations or pictures inspired by their time at or on their way to the bothy.’  

I have many childhood memories of bothies as a place of laughter amongst friends who had travelled together into the wilderness, strangers arriving off the hills late at night and being welcomed into the warmth, places that made you feel safe and secure no matter what was going on outside or what sort of conditions you had come in from. 

In one of my earliest jobs in residential childcare in North-East Scotland (c1990), I would occasionally take the young people in my care away for a night or two to the bothy up in Glen Feshie in the Cairngorms. I remembered it from my childhood as a place where you could step out of your troubles, step in from the cold, step away from the day-to-day. 

It was like a bit of magic for these young people who had hardly ever been out of a town, to suddenly have to rely on each other to gather firewood or we wouldn’t eat, to realise there was no TV, no shops, no-one else around to react if they started kicking off, to trust that we would be OK out in the middle of nowhere. Their frustrations and pent up anger melted away into the hills.  

It’s this bit of magic that Venture Trust has been delivering for almost 40 years now and most importantly, it’s delivered to those who otherwise would be least likely to access these places, but most likely to benefit.  

Those of us lucky enough to have been brought up experiencing the joys of the outdoors don’t need to be convinced of the therapeutic benefits it brings. There is however compelling evidence to show that contact with nature and the outdoors improves physical health and mental wellbeing. There is also plenty evidence that shows those who might benefit most don’t or cant access outdoor spaces.  

These are the people we offer our interventions to. Those who face multiple challenges in life leading to low self-confidence, motivation and resilience, and under-developed core life skills. At Venture Trust we believe no one should be left behind because they are struggling with adversity, inequality or vulnerability. That is why our work supports people to gain the life skills, stability and confidence needed to reach their potential. We offer: 

All of which have a strong locus in the outdoors and some of which may end up with a night or two in a bothy.    

These are my memories and reflections on the first page of this Bothy Book. We are inviting people from across the public, private and third sector, as well as those who use our services, to spend some time in the Bothy and share their thoughts and ideas across the issues of community justice, personal development, employability and wellbeing.  

We hope the Bothy Book will be a place for learning, developing and committing to action as we look to make Scotland safer, healthier and more equal. 

Alastair Pringle – Venture Trust CEO 


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