The Charr Bothy: Mearns 50+ group
The walk to Charr Bothy is not one of my favourites, as a general rule, but our walk proved that it can be an interesting and enjoyable walk.
The drive over the Cairn was clear – a good omen – and we started the walk at the gate just before Spital Bridge.
That’s the bridge with the ruined cottage beside it; the water under the bridge is the Spital Burn.
Little more than 100 yards into our walk, we crossed a wooden bridge over the Water of Dye, just downstream from the spot where the Spital Burn joined it. Once over this bridge, you can go left and take the shorter route to the Bothy, or you can do as we did and take the track to the right: a slightly more challenging way.
The path was muddy in places, but improved as we travelled further from the water. The main track heads roughly north for quite a way before turning back on itself and heading south, uphill all the way. To miss out that sharp angle, we cut across some rough ground to reach the higher path.
We saw one or two sheep as we walked, but at one point we saw two sheep together with a newborn lamb. The lamb was still very wobbly on its legs. Later we saw a couple of other lambs in the distance but they appeared steadier on their feet. At different times we caught glimpses of birds of prey.
How well they blend into the hillsides as they fly! As far as I’m aware, no-one was able to identify any of the birds as they were too far away, but Stewart did manage to photograph one in flight.
Along the way we crossed another wooden bridge, this time over the tumbling water of the Burn of Waterhead. Then, before we knew it, we could see the roof of the bothy, but it took a few more twists and turns before we actually arrived at it. Despite an unfavourable weather forecast, the sun was shining so many of us sat outside to have our lunch. We could hear the occasional grouse in the distance. A quick look inside the bothy showed that it is clean and well-maintained.
Our way back took us alongside the Water of Dye and past a man-made pond which, on the map, is described as a weir. As we neared our starting point, the sky became darker and we wondered if we would be caught in a shower. Luck was on our side and we reached the bus and cars before the rain. Looking back as we drove home, it was obvious that we had got back just in time, although whether it was snow or rain, we couldn’t tell.
I had often wondered how the Charr Bothy got its name. On studying a map when I got home, the answer is plain to see. The Bothy is situated near the confluence of the Brocky Burn and the Water of Charr with the Water of Dye.