A weird square size.
So a bothy (how do I pronounce that?) is apparently a house or hut of some kind that is out in the woods or the countryside or some place and people going on hikes can stay in them. Nobody seems to own them, and they are looked after by the people that visit. That sounds rad! Too bad I had to figure this out by myself, because this zine doesn’t actually tell you and assumes you already have a bunch of knowledge about things that maybe all English people already know. (What’s a beaker person? Is it like this?)
After figuring that out, I still had a bit of a hard time comprehending this zine. There were times when I thought that the pages were out of order, or that some of them were just missing entirely, because there is a narrative here, but it is incredibly jumpy. It goes all over the place, and skips things, and other bits just seem to stop.
This is because the zine is mostly just a straight up reproduction of a journal and sketch book that Mike kept while he was hiking around these places. He flat out states that he was frequently exhausted during this time, after spending entire days hiking through marshes and forests and stuff. So the sketches, notes, and ephemera are at least partially the product of an overtired mind I would think.
The zine would definitely have benefitted from a rewrite. The information contained within is interesting, but the way in which it is presented is just a mess. I know Mike can tell an actual story, because a couple of times he tells about previous trips he had taken, and those make sense.
Some of his sketches are pretty good, and I liked the quotes from the guest books that were left in the bothys (bothies?), I always read those in places to see what people say.
Despite all this, Mike seems like a guy I could get along with, and the zine definitely succeeded on two fronts: it told me these places existed, and it made me want to go visit some! (When it’s warmer.)