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Bothy Tales: Footsteps in the Scottish hills

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It’s very easy to see why Burns has won so many awards and hearts with his writing. His writing is funny, saturated with his love of nature, charming, insightful, and portrays a sense of peacefulness missing from the world right now. The Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) charity has reopened its 105 mountain huts, shelters and howffs after more than a year of closure due to Covid. The overwhelming majority of these are in Scotland and they reopened in August for what the MBA described as “ responsible use”, pointing out that Covid has not gone away. The bothies are all sorts of shapes and sizes in varied locations – many are extremely remote and operated with the agreement of owners and estates and maintained by MBA volunteers since the late 60s and early 70s. John has taken his one man plays to the Edinburgh Fringe and toured them widely around theatres and mountain festivals in the UK. John ‘s first play, Aleister Crowley: A Passion for Evil attracted great audiences in the Edinburgh Fringe of 2010. Burns practices escapism in it’s simplest form – hill walking. Getting out on your own, armed with a map, a compass and a stout pair of boots. (And often, as required in Scotland, a small bag of coal, a large bottle of whisky, some food and a sleeping bag.) The book is filled with articles or essays and jumps around a little, but that doesn’t affect the cohesiveness. All the tales portray his sense of wonder at nature, and glee at his semi-retired state meaning he can go walking whenever he likes. Heartily jealous, John.

I’m completely self-taught but I have always loved cooking from a very young age. I used to cook with my grandmother and from the age of 10 I’ve studied cookbooks and cooking shows quite religiously.” The key difference between jam and jelly is that jelly is made with fruit juice while jam contains whole chunks of fruit. This area is the home of Clan Cameron and as a Cameron I have listened to the tales and importance in history of Achnacarry from my dad of my great grandad’s quest to find the hidden gold said to be deep in the hills, the opportunity to visit was so special and felt like an adventure to paths of old. I’m big on keeping traditions alive and proud of the fact this is based on a historic Angus recipe, using the churner from North Street Dairy. Store your jolly, red jars in a cool, dry place and keep jars out of direct sunlight. Finished jam should be used within 12 months of making.

Summary

Kim Cameron, founder of the Gin Bothy, joined Craig at his weekly Supper Club to share the Gin Bothy story and give an insight into how they make their range of gins and spirits, she comments, “Creating gin for me is like cooking and I love working with flavours, so when Craig asked me to create this new gin for him, I was delighted. The warm aromas of his Fireside Gin are perfect for the festive period.” North Street Dairy was a renowned family business for over 100 years in Forfar. The owner Hamish Millar and his staff worked to keep his family recipe going. And, after rescuing the Angus butter-making tradition, the range will be produced less than a third of a mile from Forfar’s historic Buttermarket area.

Edinburgh-based Eleanor Thom also commented on her upcoming appearance:"I love doing local events, particularly in Elgin Library, because the old library is where my parents first met. I’m really looking forward to reading from Connective Tissue. The story is set in Berlin, England and Scotland, and I’ll be talking about the process of researching and writing a novel based on a real family history. This is a really special occasion for me because Elgin's been a place that’s been home to me all my life. I’ve always spent my holidays with my aunts, uncles and cousins in Elgin, and we’re a close family. I love the warmth of the people and the landscape, it’s definitely a kind of homeland for me and a place of comfort.” We began our gin journey by accident. Rather than let fruit juice from jam-making go to waste, founder Kim began experimenting. After a trial infusion of gin with fruit (zero waste!) the Gin Bothy was born. As the festive season fast approaches, renowned Aberdeenshire chef and regional food tourism ambassador Craig Wilson, today announces the launch of his second handcrafted, artisan gin. Although a self-taught cook, Harrison’s journey to leading a life and career as an outdoor cook, hiker and mental health speaker only began in 2016 when he reached a point where he knew he needed to turn his life around. The stories mainly centre on the Cairngorms, though he does venture to the Cape of Wrath and down into Yorkshire/The Penines. His descriptions of his fellow humans, the human condition and his despair of the technological world touch a nerve – he’s bang on, is John.Bothy Larder opened for business on October 19th and will be open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and will help the Bothy brand grow and expand.

Wait a couple of months before taste testing. If your sloe gin is a rich, berry red then it’s ready! Bothy Tales" invites you to explore the allure of the Scottish hills through the eyes of an experienced mountaineer and storyteller. Each story is a window into the author's experiences, seamlessly blending adventure, humour, and the profound connection to nature that only those who tread the untamed paths can truly understand. Kailyards, or kitchen-gardens, provided a lifeline to many impoverished Scots. In hard times, hardy greens like rhubarb and cabbage offered sustenance when meat was scarce. The carefully-crafted butter will use Scottish cream and Scottish organic salt to deliver a rich taste sensation.

Oh, what a shame you weren’t here last week,” she says, pity radiating from behind her horn-rimmed specs. “You’ve missed him.” The forest is a cultural living space full of historic and ecological delights and its biodiversity allows the natural forest to foster capercaillie, sea eagles and osprey, we even saw remnants of what the natural forest should be like with wild boar! The era of restoration may have ended for the bothies of the Cairngorms, but the next era is bound to be equally valuable, as new generations fall in love with these wild places. Not long from now another young man or woman will blunder through a bothy door and find themselves sitting beside the fire contemplating the wonders of a newly discovered world. Long may it continue. Pome fruit: also pectin powerhouses, apples, pears, and quince make indulgent, autumn jams perfect for chilly starts. Edinburgh-based Eleanor added: "I love doing local events, particularly in Elgin library, because the old library is where my parents first met.

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