Shelter of the Week: Mangersta Stone Bothy

Credit: Donald Goldney for the Norgrove Foundation

The Place: To experience the Scottish countryside in all its rustic splendor, you would want to spend the night in one of its many bothies — small structures typically built from stone, scattered about the coasts and high places of Scotland and Wales, with some in Northern England. A bothy is a simple shelter; it does not come equipped with facilities such as electricity, running water, or a bathroom. They're usually built by locals and almost all are free of charge. This bothy was built with stone and wood into the side of the Mangersta cliffs, on the Isle of Lewis. It was constructed almost 30 years ago by two locals, John and Lorna Norgrove.


“When we were building it, no one was interested, nor did others see it as much other than a waste of time and energy,” said John Norgrove. “However, now it’s there, it’s attained a life of its own, and people come from far and wide to marvel and to stay.”

The Cost: A night in this bothy is totally free. “The bothy is available for anyone to stay in, but we ask that people let us know beforehand because some people phone and book particular nights,” says Norgrove.


The Region:

This bothy is located on a specific section of the Isle of Lewis that is noted for dramatic cliffs and sparsely populated grasslands. The Isle of Lewis is a large island to the northwest of the mainland. “There is some fantastic rock climbing in the area,” says Norgrove. “One in particular, right next to the bothy, have been featured in a BBC program about rock climbs, and a Land Rover advertisement.”