on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Black Dots

An exploration of mountain bothies and bothy culture

Nicholas White

Nicholas White is a photographer based on the edge of Dartmoor National Park in the South West of England. He graduated from Plymouth College of Art in 2013, was commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015 and is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. He currently divides his time between a studio with no windows, and the landscapes of the British Isles. Nick's other website is http://www.blackdotsproject.co.uk/, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


‘Black Dots’ is an exploration of mountain bothies and bothy culture throughout the United Kingdom. Far from civilisation and mostly accessible only by foot, these secluded mountain shelters are scattered across the British Isles, tirelessly maintained by volunteers from the Mountain Bothies Association. Unlocked and free to use, they provide a refuge from the vast terrain that surrounds them and have rapidly become an iconic feature of the British Landscape over the past fifty years. Bothies are synonymous with the outdoor experience in the UK, and from day trippers to seasoned mountaineers the growing community of bothy users is hugely diverse.
Born out of curiosity, ‘Black Dots’ is the result of two years spent exploring the British Isles in an attempt to better understand what these buildings are, where they’re located and the culture that surrounds them. In doing so, my hope is that the work will generate a wider dialogue celebrating the relationship between man and the wilderness in the 21st century.

In this piece for OnLandscape, I’ll be selecting a handful of my favourite photographs from the project and delving a little deeper into the stories behind them. [N.B. We caught up with Nick in July 2016 when Tim talked to Nick about his photography and the background to the project]

Warnscale Hut & Haystacks, The Lake District, England

Warnscale was the first bothy I ever stayed in. It ignited a fascination in bothies and was the catalyst that really kick started Black Dots for me. Tucked into the fellside between Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks, this converted miners hut overlooks Buttermere & Crummock water and is only a short hike from the Honister Slate Mine. Once you navigate the tiny doorway, the primitive interior is quickly converted into a truly magical home-away-from-home once the fire is lit, making this one of my favourite bothies in the network. Waking early and scrambling up the banks of slate and heather behind the bothy, I set the 5x4 up and waited for the sun to break over the ridgeline behind me. As it did so, it created a perfect line of light across the summit of Haystacks which timed perfectly with a small plume of smoke that billowed from the chimney.

Corrour & The Devil’s Point, The Cairngorms, Scotland


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