Any of you who have visited bothies recently may have noticed a trend of the roof area sleeping platforms being closed off. I was told the last time I was out on the hills that apparently this is due to a new policy enforced on the Bothy Association by those Girly men over at the Health & Safety Executive. As many of these sleeping platforms are accessed by ladders theyre worried someone might slip and fall, and theres the fire risk to consider, any upstairs sleeping area must have at least two exits.
These bloody, High-visibility jacket wearing, conkers banning, kill joys! The sleeping platform in a bothy frequently represents 50% or more of its sleeping capacity, given that much of the downstairs is usually occupied by cooking space. And compared to the risks mountaineers take getting out to bothies, a slip from a ladder seems pretty small. Indeed by reducing the capacity of bothies the risk of someone getting stuck out in a storm because the bothys are full is now much greater. Another example of so-called-Health and Safety endangering lives not saving any.
Ive a good mind to offer to lead the a few of these H & S guys on an expedition to a bothy to illustrate my point. Of course Ill pick a day with a storm and make sure the bothys full when I arrive. We can then say sorry guys but fire safety rules limit the capacity of this dwelling to a maximum of 8 people .still at least youve got youre high visibility jackets! (theyll make it easier to identify the bodies). Of course theyll no doubt cheat by calling in mountain rescue, thought with the recent privatisation of this by the tories theyll want to have a credit card handy when the helicopter shows up. In any event I suspect once the RAF guys arrive and see a load of H&S people, theyll just point out that unfortunately the working at heights directive requires that you first erect a scaffold and safety net before we can winch you on board.