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About Bothies & Bannocks

Bothy in the Cairngorms

Unless you’re familiar with the Scots language, you’re probably wondering where the name Bothies & Bannocks comes from. Let me explain. In the North East of Scotland, a ‘bothy’ refers to a farm or estate outbuilding with very basic amenities. Generations of farm labourers passed down traditional folk songs known as bothy ballads from the mid-1800s. Sharing tales of hard agricultural work and rural life was a popular way to wind down after an honest day’s graft working the land. 

Nowadays, people mostly use ‘bothy’ when talking about the isolated farm buildings found up in the mountains or deep in the glens. Unlocked and available for anyone to shelter from the elements, bothies offer hill walkers, mountain bikers and ski tourers a place to stop for a snack, a warm drink or even somewhere to put their heads down for the night. 

Bothy in the Cairngorms

Unless you’re familiar with the Scots language, you’re probably wondering where the name Bothies & Bannocks comes from. Let me explain. In the North East of Scotland, a ‘bothy’ refers to a farm or estate outbuilding with very basic amenities. Generations of farm labourers passed down traditional folk songs known as bothy ballads from the mid-1800s. Sharing tales of hard agricultural work and rural life was a popular way to wind down after an honest day’s graft working the land. 

Nowadays, people mostly use ‘bothy’ when talking about the isolated farm buildings found up in the mountains or deep in the glens. Unlocked and available for anyone to shelter from the elements, bothies offer hill walkers, mountain bikers and ski tourers a place to stop for a snack, a warm drink or even somewhere to put their heads down for the night. 

And what better way to enjoy a ‘fly cup’ than with a tasty bannock! There are almost as many different bannocks as there are regions in Scotland. In Aberdeenshire a bannock is a hearty pancake usually served with butter and jam, whereas in Angus it refers to an oatcake, and in the Borders it’s more like a fruit loaf. 

And as the saying goes “Grinny maks the best bannocks”, meaning everyone in the North East is convinced that their Granny makes the best pancakes! Have a look at our blog post to see my bannock recipe, one which has been with me since a child.

Plate of Banoocks, also known as scotch pancakes or drop scones
Plate of Banoocks, also known as scotch pancakes or drop scones

And what better way to enjoy a ‘fly cup’ than with a tasty bannock! There are almost as many different bannocks as there are regions in Scotland. In Aberdeenshire a bannock is a hearty pancake usually served with butter and jam, whereas in Angus it refers to an oatcake, and in the Borders it’s more like a fruit loaf. 

And as the saying goes “Grinny maks the best bannocks”, meaning everyone in the North East is convinced that their Granny makes the best pancakes! Have a look at our blog post to see my Bannock recipe, one which has been with me since a child.

Lochnagar whisky bottle at the dam part of whisky tour deeside

So what’s that got to do with a tour operator in Aberdeenshire? Well nothing really!  They are just great Scottish words with slightly different uses in different parts of the country.  To me a bannock reminds me of homely hearty North Eastern food and bothies represent adventure.  Hence the tagline Taste Adventure. Both bothies and bannocks are a great talking point. When on tour with guests I love finding out what they associate with these two words. 

I am yet to discover the perfect bothy to host a bannock competition in, but watch this space! Who wouldn’t want the title of The Bothy Bannock Champion!! 

Lochnagar whisky bottle at the dam part of whisky tour deeside

So what’s that got to do with a tour operator in Aberdeenshire? Well nothing really!  They are just great Scottish words with slightly different uses in different parts of the country.  To me a bannock reminds me of homely hearty North Eastern food and bothies represent adventure.  Hence the tagline Taste Adventure. Both bothies and bannocks are a great talking point, when on tour with guests I love finding out what they associate with these two words. 

I am yet to discover the perfect bothy to host a bannock competition in, but watch this space! Who wouldn’t want the title of The Bothy Bannock Champion!! 

Meet your Host

Calum Lockerbie

As a local “loon”, I have deep roots in North-Eastern traditions, especially when it comes to quality, traditional food. Influenced by my Mum and Granny, both SWRI members, I was introduced to recipes passed down through generations, emphasising home cooking and baking from the region’s farms, crofts, and fishwives.

While still at school, my time on a neighbour’s farm sparked an interest in farming, but I eventually found my way into the culinary world as a chef. From working in the local hotel kitchen to a farm shop serving Aberdeen Angus beef straight from the boss’s farm, my culinary journey unfolded to working in some top Glasgow Restaurants.

Calum Lockerbie of Bothies and Bannocks holding up Whisky Ambassador Certificate next to a barrel top of whisky bottles

Meet your Host

Calum Lockerbie

Calum Lockerbie of Bothies and Bannocks holding up Whisky Ambassador Certificate next to a barrel top of whisky bottles

As a local “loon”, I have deep roots in North-Eastern traditions, especially when it comes to quality, traditional food. Influenced by my Mum and Granny, both SWRI members, I was introduced to recipes passed down through generations, emphasising home cooking and baking from the region’s farms, crofts, and fishwives.

While still at school, my time on a neighbour’s farm sparked an interest in farming, but I eventually found my way into the culinary world as a chef. From working in the local hotel kitchen to a farm shop serving Aberdeen Angus beef straight from the boss’s farm, my culinary journey unfolded to working in some top Glasgow Restaurants.

Paddleboarding on aberdeenshire river

After a stint in the city for studies and work, I returned to Aberdeenshire. Rediscovering my love for the area, I immersed myself in local food, history and culture. This brought me to where I am now, owner of my own tour business which shares my passion, knowledge and stories with visitors and locals alike.  

You are in safe hands on a Bothies & Bannocks tour as I have completed various advanced driver training and I am fully qualified in first aid. The local environmental health board fully approves our home kitchen to provide guests with picnics and catering. Not only are we fully insured and licensed for transporting guests but also for low-level guided hikes. I am also a qualified Whisky Ambassador, so you can rest assured that your whisky guide knows his stuff!

Paddleboarding on aberdeenshire river

After a stint in the city for studies and work, I returned to Aberdeenshire. Rediscovering my love for the area, I immersed myself in local food, history and culture. This brought me to where I am now, Owner of my own tour business which shares my passion, knowledge and stories with visitors and locals alike.  

You are in safe hands on a Bothies & Bannocks tour as I have completed various advanced driver training courses and am fully qualified in first aid. Our home kitchen is fully approved by the local environmental health board to provide guests with picnics and catering for guests. Not only are we fully insured and licensed for transporting guests but also for low-level guided hikes. As a qualified Whisky Ambassador, you can rest assured that your whisky guide knows his stuff!   

"Fit a loon"

Doric for - What a man!

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