The Bothy Project: a mission into outdoor space

Posted by Alex Messenger on 10/11/2016

What happens if you take four female artists and dispatch them to a remote Scottish bothy to untangle their need for outdoor space? Find out in the latest BMC TV production from the team that brought you the award-winning Operation Moffat.

The Bothy Project was the second BMC TV film to premier at Kendal in November 2016 (the other one was Hard Rock: a tribute to Ken Wilson). Supported by Lowe Alpine, this short film features four women who travel to the remote Shenavall bothy in the highlands of Scotland. Filmmaker Jen Randall follows wild-swimming-video-artist Natasha Brooks (star of Blue Hue), acclaimed Sheffield artist Tessa Lyons and poet Claire Carter (as seen in Operation Moffat) as they explore the surrounding wilderness.

With additional cinematography from Nick Brown and James France, this is a stunningly shot, evocative call of the wilderness that will inspire you to head north and find your own adventures.

HOW: to watch The Bothy Project?

GET: BMC women's clothing

Inspirational explorer Becky Coles models the latest in climbing fashion. Photo: Pete Burnside

We've also teamed up with Tessa Lyons to create a range of BMC women's clothing with a unique Camdala design. Visit our shop to see the new Camdala tees and vests and Camdala hoodies and jumpers.

SEE: The BMC's clothing range

WATCH: The Bothy Project trailer on BMC TV

WATCH: Blue Hue with Natasha Brooks on BMC TV


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WATCH: What does the BMC do for hill walkers? on BMC TV

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  • Hill Walking Essentials DVD: Follow Fredelina and Ben as they learn essential skills and techniques for the British mountains. Buy it now in the BMC shop.

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1) Anonymous User
30/04/2017
Please enjoy your trip, and think of joining an MBA workparty at one of our many bothies
Details on the website

To give you an idea -over 3 yeas this is the kind of work that we do
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL4XT23osNk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qThYvkdJdw
http://youtu.be/afOt-_2sscg
2) Anonymous User
01/05/2017
What a lovely, gentle film of the four girls at Sheneval. Beautifully composed and presented I only wish it had been longer. Clearly four talented ladies, it captured all that is good in bothying. Very well done the BMC and all involved. Being ex-military, I particularly enjoyed the single rank, left turn, quick march from in front of the red van at the beginning. The whole process was so well thought through.
02/05/2017
Staying at Shenavall brings back memories, especially the midges. Love that finishing shot as the camera zooms away from the hut. Stunning end!
09/05/2017
I stayed at Shenavall a long time ago. 3 very miserable mountain dayside to the conditions and my lack of fitness at the time. I got a good poem out of it though. Here's part 1.

Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Shattered

I

I'm only here
Because you are
So wild, So f***ing hard to reach;

Some kind of challenge:
I am to meet you 
Upon the mountaintop and find my ecstasy.

But you, You lay
A forest at my feet
Then wipe it out, clear the land with one swipe

Of your mighty hand,
Leaving the trees
To wither and whiten and sink into the peat.

My path is now
Ditches and tussocks,
A great wilderness of ankle-twisting,

And now the rain
Is beating down.
This is your doing! I approach the throne bedraggled.
09/05/2017
Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

Shattered

Parts 2 - 5

II

It pisses down
All the way
To the insignificant little stone bothy

And I am reminded
That there is little
Or nothing completely waterproof.

This pile of rocks
With a roof
Should be relief, but inside

We bemoan
The lack of etiquette:
No one has left enough wood for a fire.

I head back out,
Look up to the beat,
Beat, beat, look down to the wounded peat

And hop from tuft
To tuft to pull
Twisted corpses from the black earth.

It’s as dirty
And as drenched as me,
And only makes for a pissy, spitty little fire.

We huddle round
And dangle our socks
Above the hearth. There’s nothing

To do after tea
Except shove
My damp clothes to the foot of my sleeping bag

And climb in,
Hoping my 37
Degrees is enough to lessen the wet.

Feeling shit,
We share
Stories of feeling shit.


III

Wake up
To the same dripping.
Ha bloody ha ha. And early too.

Are you sure
You want us
To do this? Personally, I’m not fussed.

I could stay here
And wait for you,
I suppose, but I still have enough

Trust in you
To follow your lead,
Once again into the Great Wilderness, and up.

This time you lay
A rolling sea
Of black with islands of stunted grass,

And parts of it
So “None may pass!”
That we have to strip down to pants

And wade
Across the river,
In the hope of finding blessing over there.

I rub my numb legs
And see nothing
Up there through the lowering cloud.

We plod on, stop,
Cross back again
To the slightly less black side, reclothe, and try,

Try, try again,
All this just to get
To the beginning, the bottom of the climb.


IV

I think I do this
To feel alive.
I certainly know the capacity of my lungs,

And the limits
Of my heart,
And the build up of lactic acid in my legs,

And just how far
My sense of humour
Can carry me through this senselessness,

And just how far
I can tolerate
Yours. And the f***ing spring in your step.

Sod it! I carry on,
And on, and up,
And on. “Onward and upward!” you chirp.

I mutter
More curses
And summon up a hope of it all coming to an end.


V

I am bewildered,
Surrounded by cloud,
And you keep on disappearing. I’m lost

On the scree slope,
Scattered chunks
Of slipping, nasty, angular quartzite. Where the hell are you?

I lose my footing,
Tip a rock, turn it,
And slip several feet, nail my hands and scrape my arse,

And just sit there,
Broken and blubbing.
You emerge from the clouds and I blurt my complaint:

“This is stupid!
It’s pissing down,
I’m cold, I’m soaked through to my pants,

I’ve hardly slept,
I’m shattered,
My ankles are killing me, there’s no bloody view,

All I can see
Is piles of rocks
And clouds, I’ve dragged myself up this f***ing hill,

And for what!?
You told me
This would be beautiful! You said this would be fun!

I’ve had enough!
You brought me here!
You made me do this! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! You…”

You look down at me,
All understanding.
Without a word you hand me your walking pole. It is enough.

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