POPULAR travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller has revealed the best bothies across Scotland hikers can stay at for free.

Introducing the list, the publication said: "Traditional bothies are free lodgings left open to anyone in need, scattered across Scotland's heather-strewn moors, snow-capped peaks, and secret beaches.

"They once provided shelter for those who worked the land and are now a network of basic accommodation options for adventurous hikers searching for a night out in the wild."

If you're looking for a "rough-and-ready" place to stay for the night while traversing the beautiful countryside of Scotland, these are some of the best available.

The National: These bothies are free stay in but may have other guests. These bothies are free stay in but may have other guests. (Image: Getty)

Conde Nast Traveller names the best bothies across Scotland you can stay at for free

Here are the best bothies you can stay at across Scotland, according to Conde Nast Traveller.

Find out more about these locations on the Mountain Bothies Association website.

Lookout, Isle of Skye

Dates: Year-round

"Skye’s most northerly bothy, situated on the tip of the island, is surely one of Scotland’s best. Perched vertiginously near the edge of a cliff, the Lookout is precisely that – a former coastguard watch station with uninterrupted views across the strait that separates the Highlands from the north-western islands.

"Early risers might be treated to a glimpse of whales or dolphins passing through (summer’s 5am average sunrise should help get you out of bed). Luckily, the conveniently named Coffee & Cake is just a stone’s throw away if you’re in need of caffeine."

Allt Scheicheachan, Cairngorms

Dates: Consult the MBA website for stalking season closures

"This spot is ideal for first-timers. The route to reach it through evergreen forest and heather moorlands takes around three hours and is easygoing. The Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest, also provides a wonderful introduction to the Highlands, where spotting an impressive red deer and a tufty-tailed red squirrel on the same day is common.

"Bring wood with you to get the fire roaring; if you fancy yourself as Bear Grylls, you can fill your bottle from the flowing stream next door."

Cadderlie, Loch Etive

Dates: Closed during stalking season (September 20 to October 20)

"Legend has it that, centuries ago, Glen Etive was refuge to a pair of lovers. Deirdre and Naoise eloped against the King of Ulster’s wishes and settled in a hill fort near Loch Etive. They grew an orchard, which may be where the area got its name, Cal-der-leys, deriving from the Gaelic for ‘the burn at Deirdre’s garden’.

"This is indeed the perfect setting for a love story: from the bothy, the vast loch looks tranquil; beyond it are the undulating peaks of Ben Cruachan and Starav; a forest backs it, and a burn flows steadily beside it – Scotland at its most idyllic."

The National: There are many bothies across the Cairngorms.There are many bothies across the Cairngorms. (Image: Getty)


Glenpean, Spean Bridge

Dates:  Consult estate notices for 'low-level' routes during the stalking season

"Glenpean, which takes less than two hours to hike if you’re kitted out for rough terrain, is easy to find and completely off-grid. Its 360-degree views of the surrounding glen are phenomenal. The River Pean, which connects Loch Arkaig to the east with Loch Morar to the west, meanders past its doorstep. Meanwhile, the sister Munros Sgùrr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan invite you to climb – or as devoted hillwalkers would say, ‘bag’ – them."

Kearvaig, Cape Wrath

Dates: Closed when the nearby Ministry of Defence firing range is being used - check MBA website

"Usually, having a beach on your doorstep and to yourself is reserved for high-end trips abroad. At Kearvaig, on the northwest coast of Britain, it costs nothing; Kearvaig’s bothy visitors kick back in the secluded bay alone.

"It’s a fantastic destination for nature lovers, who can watch the sunset from the unspoilt beach, swim in the bracing ocean and hike the Clo Mor Cliffs to spot puffins, Arctic skua and other seabirds flying to and from their nests."