Welsh bothies

You may be familiar with Scottish bothies but did you know there are eight bothies tucked away in the Welsh hills?

Whilst hiking in the most remote places in the UK, you may not expect to find 5* accommodation or a camping site along the way but what you might find is a Great British Bothy. A form of shelter or accommodation with minimal or next to no facilities, it's free of charge and doesn't require a booking system - but you do have to beat others to a bed! Use them as checkpoints, lunch pitstops, over night stays or just for sitting down and airing your socks for an hour; adventurers in the wild tend to appreciate these four walls for something, whatever it may be.

'To maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use & benefit of all who love wild & lonely places.'

The Mountain Bothy Association is a charity-run organisation that works to maintain bothies all over the UK. Wales' bothies are mainly inland and in the North, here's a list of the eight bothies you can find in Wales, based on an MBA map:

Find a Welsh bothy
From North - South:

  1. Dulyn (not show on map, at most northern point near Bangor)
  2. Cae Amos
  3. Arenig Fawr
  4. Penrhos Isaf
  5. Nant Syddion
  6. Nant Rhys
  7. Lluest Cwmbach
  8. Grwyne Fawr

All mountain bothies are a no vehicle access area, most aren't equipped with fuel or water sources and nearest towns are generally miles away. We particularly like the look of Arenig Fawr in Snowdonia and Grwyne Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. Both situated in the midst of unspoiled and vast natural landscape; home to some of the most beautiful mountainous scenery in Wales.

Gwyrne Fawr Bothy, Brecon Beacons

We came across a great article recently on The Peel, written by Ivan Kilroe and featuring some beautiful photography documenting a hike to Gwyrne Fawr bothy. 

Photography and words by Ivan Kilroe:

Travelling from the north as we were, you would be forgiven for missing the structure nestled at the mouth of the reservoir. Fortunately we had seen a few pictures of the shelter beforehand and could work out its position in relation to our surroundings.
Grwynn Fawr is a particularly small bothy overlooking the reservoir and sleeps a maximum of three people (cosily) on a mezzanine sleeping area. Its size means there is always the gamble of it already being occupied, so we made sure to be there extra early on in the afternoon to avoid disappointment. It would have been particularly unfortunate after carrying such a heavy bag of logs over the 4 mile route to be met with an already occupied bothy. Of course this would be a great present for the residents, but fortunately our efforts were rewarded and we secured the occupancy.
Inside the bothy there is a singular rectangular window that doesn't let much light in on a grey and overcast day like today, a miniature table, stone bench, chairs, and a small but exquisitely crafted stove that tapers into the flu. 
We turn to the torches and headlamps to provide some illumination while we fix ourselves a wee dram of whisky to keep us going. The cold white light of the LED's does little to make the space feel homely, but once the fire is underway the bothy is transformed, and a warm comforting glow penetrates the dark corners of the room as we start to feel quite at home in this quaint little building nestled in the Welsh countryside.
Whenever I describe this kind of trip to someone who has no desire to do a trip like this, I'm often met with confusion and a complete lack of understanding as to the why? It's sometimes hard to convey, and I completely understand their sentiments when you describe the somewhat unappealing wintery scene. But there's something in being away from the distractions of modern life and all its convenience that makes me appreciate a few slightly burnt sausages in-between two slices of bread in a dimly lit room with a good friend and a dog sipping whisky into the night. 

Read the full article here

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The best outdoor shower in Wales? fforest shower block inspired by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt

'Layering and changeability: this is the key, the combination that is worked into most of my buildings. Occupying one of these buildings is like sailing a yacht; you modify and manipulate its form and skin according to seasonal conditions and natural elements, and work with these to maximize the performance of the building.' 

- Glenn Murcutt, 1996

Known for his smaller scale residential buildings, Australian architect Glenn Murcutt's projects blend a modernist design approach with an ever-present consciousness of the environment; qualities that have inspired fforest chief his entire career. The picture shown above is probably his smallest work, but the simplicity, modesty and respect for context make it a personal favourite.

A hero and reference point for Chief, the shower block at fforest is a 'homage' of the most humble sort. Choosing materials that can be produced easily and economically; from glass to stone to concrete, brick and metal, Murcutt's buildings evoke a distinctive Australian flavour that are in constant harmony with their natural surroundings, much like the majority of our buildings at fforest. Murcutt has resisted expanding his staff and has remained as a sole practitioner with the minimum of assistants. 

fforest chief invited Glenn to the 'Do' lectures at fforest in 2009 but unfortunately he was unable to travel the long distance due to old age. His hand-written response to the invitation will continue to be a prized possession. 


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Ceilings of St David's cathedral

The smallest city in Britain in terms of both size and population, St Davids can be found in Pembrokeshire at the most westerly point of Wales...

This beautiful little city has attracted tourists form all over the UK for many years; a place full of history and the final resting place of Saint David, Wales's patron saint. The Cathedral is at the heart of the city, a breathtaking building (due to the sheer size of it!) after a walk around you will leave feeling overwhelmed by its magnificence. We love visiting just to look up to the intricate ceilings, you have to take a trip just to photograph them!

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Frank Lloyd Wright

Falling Water, 1935

Born in 1867 in Wisconsin to a family of Welsh decent, Frank Lloyd Wright became America's most famous and influential architect. Although he found fame in America, his family were from Ceredigion and Welsh culture was to have a huge influence on his architecture...

Falling Water, the house Frank Lloyd Wright built for the Kaufmann family in 1935, is one of architecture's most iconic houses. A marriage of dynamic composition and integration with nature, it is strongly influenced by Japanese architecture. fforestchief says he is going to live there when he retires.

Few might know that Frank Lloyd Wright's ancestors are Welsh. His maternal family emigrated from Cardigan to Wisconsin in 1844, where Frank was born in 1867. From an early age it was clear that Frank was highly influenced by his Welsh roots. Having been christened Frank Lincoln Wright, as a teenager he decided to change Lincoln to Lloyd as a dedication to his Welsh Mother.

He designed more than 1,100 buildings in his lifetime and continued to work as an architect up until his death in 1959, aged 91. Frank ensured his Welsh heritage was represented in many of his buildings. He completed the build of his own home in 1911, which was developed on land belonging to his maternal Welsh family. He named the house 'Taliesin', after the ancient Welsh bard, and some of his other builds were adorned with the Welsh motto "Y gwir yn erbyn y byd" ("The truth against the world"). His Welsh heritage had a profound effect on his design outlook and inspired much of the organic feel of his architecture.


Frank's one and only trip to his ancestral country was made in 1956 to receive an honorary doctorate from Bangor University. He actually stayed with another world-famous architect of Welsh decent during this trip, Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis, creator of the Portmeirion village near Porthmadog in North Wales. Pictured together here in 1956, the two famous architects shared a similar vision: to design buildings that lived in harmony with the natural landscape. A little bit like fforest.


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