A Scottish Bothy – I Know A Place…

By  |  2 Comments

I Know A Place…

Where waves rumble against craggy cliffs as the wild Atlantic Ocean meets the rugged Scottish Coast.

Where the salty breeze curls your hair and the windswept scenery takes your breath away.

Where a single wooden arrow nailed to a fence post points in the direction of where you need to go.

Cross the sheep field and the paddock with highland cows, walk 200m in the direction of the arrow and you’ll find it.

The place, is Mangersta Bothy, also known as Eagle’s Nest.

Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Perched on top of the Mangersta Cliffs on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, at first sight it feels like you’ve discovered a pirate cave of secrets. But alas it’s a bothy. Perhaps the best bothy in all of Scotland.

Scotland is known for its bothies; rustic shelters typically made from stone that offer protection from the elements. Built for farmers, avid hikers, cyclists or outdoor enthusiasts who don’t appreciate a comfy bed, bothies can be found dotted all over the islands, highlands and most regions of Scotland.

If you like your bothy with the luxury addition of sea views, Eagle’s Nest is the one for you.

Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis ScotlandMangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Built around 1996 by local residents John and Lorna Norgrove, the bothy sleeps two people and is equipped with a fireplace, safety kit and set of instructions.

It’s got everything you need for a good night’s sleep in one of the most perilous locations possible. Flat wooden benches, a solid stone wall for refuge from the harsh winds and rain and if you need to do a number two, John and Lorna have instructions for that too. In fact, they welcome visitors to use the toilet inside their red corrugated iron building which also is equipped with hot and cold water and a sink. It’s like roughing it within reach of home comforts. Located back in Mangersta, it’s about a 15-20minute walk from the bothy.

Inside a Tupperware container are old photos taken during construction of the bothy, it’s like opening a time capsule. Pairing these images with the atmosphere and exhilarating location feels like every adventure should.

Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis Scotland

How to Find Mangersta Bothy

I’ll share directions if anyone is interested (via email) however this is a special place due to it’s remoteness. Giving exact details I fear would draw too much attention to what is unique, relatively secret and an adventure to discover.

All I will say is that it’s near the village of Mangersta and if you happen to be staying in the area either at the Mangersta Croft Wigwams (more info below) or somewhere else, ask the owners for directions. Please don’t go roaming through paddocks, this area is filled with sheep, cows and accidentally leaving a gate open could of course prove disastrous.

The images below are clues to finding the Mangersta Bothy.

Part of what makes a visit to Mangersta Bothy an adventure is the lack of directions. It’s a little like a mud map. Follow the road that leads to the phone booth then you’ll see a house that leads to a fence then…I love it. Like an old folk tale told for centuries that you have to work it out.

I was going to include a map to the location but you know what…I think its way more fun to find it on your own.

The bothy is free to stay in but donations are welcomed if you do drop by the bothy. Take some time to read about The Linda Norgrove Foundation, you’ll find details in the Tupperware container inside the bothy…more info here.

Mangersta Bothy, Isle of Lewis Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Isle of Lewis Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Mangersta Bothy, Isle of Lewis Outer Hebrides, Scotland

 

Where to Stay in Mangersta?

So, if you just want to visit the bothy but stay somewhere a little warmer I’ve got just the place. We stayed in a Shepherd’s Hut at the Mangersta Croft Wigwams, just a 30 minute walk from the bothy. I think I counted maybe 7 or 10 houses/farms scattered across the hills around Mangersta so wherever you stay, it still feels beautifully remote.

The Shepherd’s Hut is a brand new offering that fits the Scottish scenery perfectly. Inside the snug cabin is a colourful retreat with a comfortable double bed, bathroom, kitchen with all the appliances you could possibly need and a big window looking out over the ocean. There’s also your own mini library and DVD collection because part of the charm is that TV reception doesn’t exist here.

Mangersta Croft Wigwams, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Croft Wigwams, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Croft Wigwams, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

I could have listened to the owner’s Derek and Elsie, chat about the Isle of Lewis and Mangersta all day long. Their accents paired with local knowledge make them the perfect hosts to share all the area offers, plus they’re both talented artists and if you ask nicely, there’s a gallery inside with some incredible work featuring locally sourced materials. Elsie’s giant map of Mangersta’s boundaries is made from natural materials is one of the most incredible pieces I’ve ever seen…also she’s a photographer so can point out where to go to capture the best shot based on the conditions.

If you need directions to the Mangersta Bothy during your stay, their description of my paragraphs above sounds much better, if only I had a Scottish accent.

I’ll be sharing more photogenic locations on the Isle of Lewis and Harris shortly so keep an eye out if Scotland is somewhere you’ll be visiting soon.

Now for some more photos of the bothy…

Mangersta Bothy, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, ScotlandMangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

 

For more Scotland guides check out my other articles in the links below –

A Guide to the Best Edinburgh Photography Locations

The Best Photography Locations on the Isle of Skye

Photogenic Locations around Loch Ness, Scotland

Hiking the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

For those pinners who want to save this article for later…

Mangersta Bothy, Uig Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Do you know somewhere like this? If you dare, share in the comments below!

 

 

Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns

Photographer at The Wandering Lens
Lisa is the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. As an Australian currently based in France she's never in one place for too long and is always looking for the next destination to photograph whether it be above or below the water. With 10+yrs as a professional photographer, all advice found on this site is from Lisa's personal experience on the road.
Lisa Michele Burns

Latest posts by Lisa Michele Burns (see all)

If you like what you see, there's plenty more on social media... Follow Along!

2 Comments

  1. Megan Macdonald

    August 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Fabulous write up – I have visited many times and going to head there again today.
    I can hear the Scottish/local accent when I’m reading it

    • thewanderinglens

      August 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks so much Megan! You’re lucky you get to visit so often, have a great time up there today 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content and photographs on this site are protect. Contact hello@thewanderinglens.com