The Bothy

A bothy is a Scottish place of shelter that's free for everyone to find and use; in this spirit, Cycling UK runs a project called The Bothy. They are a welcoming central point for walkers and cyclists in Inverclyde, looking for inspiration, help and advice
All about The Bothy

The Bothy is a network of projects aimed at supporting and encouraging walking, wheeling, and cycling. Staffed by Cycling UK project officers, each project works with and for the local community to provide access to information, bikes, walking and cycling routes and support. With activities like led rides and walks, bike loan schemes, guidance for local businesses and connections with local support groups, the Bothies are embedded in their locations to support people across Scotland to make active travel choices and feel confident walking, wheeling, and cycling.

Inverclyde Bothy

The Inverclyde Bothy has been Inverclyde's home of walking and cycling since 2018, presented in association with Cycling UK and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places for a healthier, happier, and cleaner Inverclyde. We aim to create positive change to the way people travel, perceive, and utilise the place they live and visit. We have a focus on cycling and walking and through our health walks, cycle confidence sessions, led rides, family cycling sessions, e-bike loans and much more. We also offer opportunities to the local community to volunteer with us and become part of the Bothy Family. We strive to raise awareness of cycling and walking routes, increase the confidence of people’s travel journeys and local knowledge, and offer a space for the community to share feedback and suggestions on the place around them.

Ardrishaig Bothy

Established in August 2019 in partnership with Scottish Canals, The Ardrishaig Bothy is a community-based project offering walking and cycling activities in Mid-Argyll. Smarter Choices Smarter Places grant funding enables us to deliver many activities and to amalgamate numerous community groups encouraging smarter travel to create a healthier, happier, and cleaner community and a place people want to spend time. Utilising the excellent local routes and trails, the Ardrishaig Bothy provides many opportunities to get involved in walking and cycling. Whether it’s on a group meander through the forest trails, a family ride along the Crinan Canal tow path, support to get you cycling to the shop or work or the loan of an-e-bike to help you tackle those famous Argyll hills, The Ardrishaig Bothy will be able to support you to get out walking and cycling. We also offer opportunities to the local community to volunteer with us and become part of the Bothy Family.

Dunoon Bothy

The Dunoon Bothy was initiated in late 2020 and is a partnership project between Cycling UK and Argyll & Bute Council. The Dunoon Bothy is supported by Dunoon Area Alliance and utilises Smarter Choices Smarter Places grant funding in Dunoon to amalgamate numerous community groups encouraging smarter travel to create a healthier, happier, and cleaner community and a place people want to spend time.
We aim to create positive change to the way people travel, perceive, and utilise the place they live and visit. We have a focus on cycling and walking and through our outreach, we strive to raise awareness of cycling and walking routes, increase the confidence of people’s travel journeys and local knowledge, and offer a space for the community to share feedback and suggestions on the place around them. We do this though offering led rides, cycle confidence sessions loaning bikes to the community offering health walks. We also offer opportunities to the local community to volunteer with us and become part of the Bothy Family.

Golspie Bothy

The Golspie Bothy project works with local communities in East Sutherland to bring together organisations that promote walking and cycling activities and additional opportunities that are required to help people get active on wheels or by foot. The Golspie Bothy focuses on promoting the use of bikes, e-bikes, and an e-cargo bike in Golspie and surrounding towns as well as encouraging walking through our health walks. This project has been established with NHS and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding. The Golspie Bothy Project links with other local organisations whose focus is aligned with ours, to improve access to resources to improve health and well-being, reduce inequalities, to upskill volunteers, create opportunities and encourage a healthier more environmentally friendly lifestyle. We also offer opportunities to the local community to volunteer with us and become part of the Bothy Family.

Aberdeenshire Bothy

Aberdeenshire Bothy is part of the Cycling UK Bothy programme. Aberdeenshire Bothy works with local communities within the local authority area to bring together organisations that promote walking and cycling activities. We also provide additional opportunities that are required to help people get about on wheels or by foot, for example cycling confidence sessions, route planning support and health walks. We also offer opportunities to the local community to volunteer with us and become part of the Bothy Family. The Bothy prioritises working with the Integrated Travel Towns (ITT) project delivered by Aberdeenshire Council and focuses on the five towns within the project: Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie and Portlethen.

The Aberdeenshire Bothy project links with other local organisations whose focus is aligned with ours, to improve active travel, to improve access to resources, reduce inequalities, to upskill volunteers, create opportunities and encourage a healthier more environmentally friendly lifestyle. This project has been established with Aberdeenshire Council and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding.

Coronavirus advice

Under the latest Scottish Government guidance The Bothy is pleased to announce that we have been able to recommence our activities. We are still following Scottish Government guidance and ask all participants adhere to these also.

Scotland is currently operating at level 0 - please refer to our coronavirus advice for individual cyclists and cycling groups for more information.

Please continue to check our localised Bothy Facebook Pages below to check out or up to date activities and events.

Coronavirus advice

Under the latest Scottish Government guidance The Bothy is pleased to announce that we have been able to recommence our activities. We are still following Scottish Government guidance and ask all participants adhere to these also.

Scotland is currently operating at level 0 - please refer to our coronavirus advice for individual cyclists and cycling groups for more information.

Please continue to check our localised Bothy Facebook Pages below to check out or up to date activities and events.

Bothy Activities

Health Walks

We offer a variety of health walks at the Bothy.

A Health Walk:

  • is led by a trained volunteer on a risk assessed route
  • is less than an hour long
  • has a short warm up at the start, followed by a brisk walk and a short cool down at the end
  • welcomes new walkers who would benefit from being more active
  • is a friendly group walk offered regularly
  • is an opportunity to meet new people in your area and explore places you might not have been before

Health Walks are aimed at inactive people who would benefit most from doing more physical activity. This can include people who haven’t been active for a while and would like to start again, people recovering from ill health or who are managing a long-term condition and anyone who’s been told by a health professional that they would benefit from being more active.

To take part in a local health walk, simply get in touch with your local Bothy to find out our programme of walks and how to book a place. 

Led Rides

The Bothy host regular led rides in each of the locations they are based. A led ride is a sociable local ride, coordinated and risk assessed by Bothy staff and volunteers.

Participants can attend led rides by booking in advance. Information on led rides will be posted on the Facebook pages of each Bothy.

Before attending a Led Ride, our qualified Bothy staff and volunteers will carry out a short assessment of your riding skills to make sure you will be comfortable and safe on the planned ride. We will also talk you through how to carry out a quick check of your own bike to make sure it’s safe and roadworthy before heading out on the ride.

Learn to Ride

If you are unable to ride a bike but are keen to learn then our qualified team of Bothy staff and volunteers will provide you with the know-how to get pedalling. We have a fleet of bikes at the Bothy that can be used during the Learn to Ride session where simple techniques for balance, braking and pedalling will help to build your confidence. Beyond our Learn to Ride sessions you are then welcome to take part in our other cycling activities, to further enhance your confidence and expertise. Simply get in touch with your local Bothy to arrange your first session.

Family Cycling

Our Family Cycling Sessions offer simple, tips and techniques for safer on-road cycling for you and your family. Delivered by our qualified team of Bothy staff and volunteers, the practical Family Cycling Sessions last for approximately two hours, where communication and observation skills are developed along with road position and how to move your family through junctions safely. We have a range of bikes available for adults and children with the session delivered at a location near your home. We’ll also show you how to check your bikes to make sure they are safe and roadworthy. If you and your family can all cycle comfortably unassisted and at least one adult can take part in the session, then get in touch with your local Bothy to arrange your session.

Better Biking

Communication, road position and observations are just a few of the tips and techniques our qualified team of Bothy staff and volunteers will develop during your 1-2-1 Better Biking sessions. Delivered at a pace that suits you, the Better Biking sessions will improve your confidence, experience and knowledge when cycling on road, ideal for using your bike for those short journeys or commuting to work rather than the car. Each session lasts for around one hour (which includes a check of your bike to make sure it’s safe and roadworthy) with three sessions recommended. Furthermore, our range of bikes, including our e-bikes, are available for the Better Biking sessions. Simply get in touch with your local Bothy to arrange your first session.

Buddy Rides

If you are keen to use your bike for shorter journeys or to commute to work, and are looking to build your confidence when cycling, then our 1-2-1 Buddy Rides are the perfect way to develop your on-road cycling skills. Our qualified team of Bothy staff and volunteers will ride with you, on roads that suit your experience, to enhance your riding skills, and offer on the spot advice for safer cycling. Each session lasts for around one hour and includes a check of your bike to make sure it’s safe and roadworthy. Furthermore, our range of bikes, including our e-bikes, are available for the 1-2-1 Buddy Rides. Simply get in touch with your local Bothy to arrange your first session.

E-bike try-outs

We have a full range of e-bikes at the Bothy which you can try out for free. You can test out our step through, hybrid, mountain, or cargo e-bikes free of charge. Our e-bike try-outs last for approximately 30 minutes where our qualified Bothy staff and volunteers will show you how the e-bike works as well as assist you with a run through of the differences between and a standard bike and make sure you feel confident when riding an e-bike. Simply get in touch with your local Bothy to see what e-bikes they have and to arrange a try-out.

E-bike Loans

We have a full range of e-bikes at the Bothy which you can try out for free. You can test out our step through, hybrid, mountain, or cargo e-bikes free of charge. Loans can be for a short half hour local ride to up to a few weeks. Our qualified Bothy staff and volunteers will show you how the e-bike works, assist you with a run through of the differences between the bike you are loaning and a standard bike and will make sure you feel confident to take the bike away. Simply get in touch with your local Bothy to see what e-bikes they have and to arrange a visit.

Adapted bike loans

The Ardrishaig and Inverclyde bothy can offer you the chance to try out a range of our adapted bikes for free. We have a range of cycles from e-trikes to tandems and have trained staff who can support you to get wheeling safely. Simply get in touch with your local bothy to see what cycles they have and to arrange a visit. 

Volunteering opportunities

You can help and support us to achieve our aims by volunteering with the bothy. All of our volunteering roles are advertised online.

Roles available include;

  • Health Walk Leader – lead a health walk.
  • Cycle Ride Leader – lead a group ride.
  • Learn to Ride Volunteer - Help children or adults to learn to ride or increase cycle skills in group sessions.
  • Buddy ride volunteer – support people cycle for those everyday journeys by showing them their route, practice safety and positioning and offer general route and riding advice.
  • Tandem Cycle Pilot - Ride as a front rider on a tandem bike for blind or partially sighted people and provide support and guidance on and of the bike during a ride.
  • Bike Maintenance volunteer - Fixe bikes, work within their qualifications/experience.

Get in touch

Bothy Location Contact Facebook
Aberdeenshire Bothy No physical location Aberdeenshire Bothy Aberdeenshire Bothy
Ardrishaig Bothy Piers Square, Ardrishaig Joanne Clark Ardrishaig Bothy
Dunoon Bothy TBC Rhyddian Knight Dunoon Bothy
Golspie Bothy No physical location Amanda Wagstaffe Golspie Bothy
Inverclyde Bothy Gourock Train Station, Gourock Inverclyde Bothy Inverclyde Bothy