Weekend Warm-Up: Hooks

Stephen Pern makes it his mission to improve Britain’s bothies. Photo: Stephen Pern

Stephen Pern is probably best known either for his 1990s film Down the Spine of Japan or for his book The Great Divide: A Walk Along the Continental Divide of the United States. But in 2012, he embarked on a project much closer to home: to improve the bothies (walking shelters) scattered around upland Britain.

A bothie. Photo: Stephen Pern

From his years of walking around the UK, he found that the main problem in the bothies was that they didn’t have enough hooks (or any) to hang wet clothes and gear from. His modest but important mission: Put hooks in all these bothies.

Most of them are in the highlands and islands of Scotland, with some scattered around Wales and northeast England. And there lies the first challenge: Pern lives on the South Coast, so has quite a walk before he can start tackling his hook project.

As he dashes around the UK, often in florescent pink shorts, he also gives a running commentary on the places he walks through. He provides fascinating insights into the history, geology and wildlife of the areas he zigzags through, as he tries to hit over 100 bothies. This film is not just a diary of Pern’s seven-month walk. It is a history lesson, a glimpse at the wildlife and landscapes that the UK has to offer, and the tale of someone trying to make life a little better for the entire walking community.


About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
1 year ago

That’s a wonderful film. Thanks for linking it.