Hidden Bothy Designs

So lovely to discover this gorgeous new range of hand made Scottish furniture this week thanks to a pop up event in the event space on St Stephen Street in Edinburgh.

Hidden Bothy Designs was started by Alice Loudon and her partner Duncan Birse. Both find constant inspiration from the Scottish landscape. The couple are keen hillwalkers and adventurers, you can follow some of their expeditions on their fun Hidden Bothy page, where you will realise that their hill walking is more hill running, climbing a munro often starts on a bike with their Working Cocker, Harris, in a backpack until they get halfway up, when they all jump down and start running!

They live in South Edinburgh and during Lockdown made daily trips to the Pentlands, on one occasion, completing the 28km circuit, known as the Pentland Skyline of the stunning hills on their doorstep, in deep snow and sparkling sunshine, with Harris in tow.

When they are not working, Duncan as a doctor and Alice studying architecture, or out running in the hills with Harris, they relax (?!) by making furniture.

Both are practical and it would seem a whizz with hand and power tools and they have come up with a beautful, affordable, contemporary collection of furniture, upholstered in Bute Fabric, that more than hints at the stunning colours and scenery of Scotland.

The hall bench provides somewhere comfortable to sit while you get your shoes on and useful storage for hats and gloves.

The sturdy boot rack is beautiful as well as useful, would definitely get all marks from William Morris!

They wanted their furniture to be exactly what you would want to come home to after a long day in the hills.

I wanted to take advantage of Alice’s expertise and experience and ask her for some advice to help further my own adventure/fitness goals. I have to say, when I am not writing about interiors I am NOT ‘running’ up hills, but I do like walking up them, so I have asked her a few helpful pointers

AG: Alice, I have worn out my walking boots over the last 25 years and would love to update them, what would you recommend to help me glide around the mountains a little more easily?

AL: This year I decided to try something new and bought a pair of these beauties by Mammut and I have been so impressed! For summer walking they are really lightweight, waterproof and will keep your feet cool on a hot day. They are more like a walking shoe but with ankle support, so no more clumping around in heavy leather boots in the sunshine. The downside is that you will have to buy a winter boot too, as I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in truly bad weather conditions, but if you’re a fair-weather walker and you’ve checked out the mountain weather forecast in advance, these are a great lightweight option.

AG: What about a decent bike to encourage me?

AL: My first road bike was a Liv Avail. Liv is a female-specific brand and have done a huge amount of research into bikes that fit women’s bodies, so they are really comfortable. I would definitely prioritise comfort in a bike if you are choosing to take up cycling for enjoyment rather than racing specifically! I would also recommend trying an e-bike if you are completely new to cycling and would like to enjoy cycling without getting too hot and sweaty. I was quite sceptical about e-bikes at first but now I can see they open up cycling as a hobby to so many more people, so that can only be a good thing.

AG: And some accessible, achievable ‘Munros’ to get us started?

AL: Ben Vorlich, on the south side of Loch Earn, is a great Munro to do if you are new to hillwalking. There is a very clear path all the way to the summit, and the path is in a straight line so it’s hard to take a wrong turn! I would definitely recommend having a map and a compass with you just in case the weather turns, though. The other very accessible Munro is Ben Lawers, which is next to Loch Tay. The car park is surprisingly high up, so you don’t have to walk too far to reach the top! Both are around two hours’ drive from Edinburgh.

AG: Oh wow – I cannot wait – I will be keeping pace with you, Duncan and Harris in no time – might even overtake a little, will try and be tactful about it!!

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