Build a bothy and they will come

Pictou County Trails Association

Cape to Cape Trail Committee 



Hikers in Nova Scotia will soon be able to enjoy a warm, dry night in a bothy.   Built by volunteers and students and made possible by donations of funds and materials, the design and  construction was guided by the skill of a staff member of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.

A bothy?

Aware of the Scottish heritage of Pictou County, when trail volunteers decided to build a fixed roof shelter for hikers on the Six Mile Brook Trail they borrowed a term from the highlands of Scotland.  Originally a hut or cottage built for farm labourers or as a mountain refuge, a "bothy" today is commonly used by our friends across the pond for a basic structure for use, free of charge, by anyone needing shelter along hiking trails.

On June 25 volunteers with the Pictou County Trails Association will officially open the Jack and Doris McLachlan Bothy, the first permanent shelter built for hikers on mainland Nova Scotia outside a  national park.  Another first for Pictou County. 


The Association's Cape to Cape Trail Committee has been identifying opportunities, planning, acquiring landowner permission, seeking out financial and other forms of support and building new hiking trails.  It was a rather unique opportunity that led to the plan for the Jack and Doris McLachlan Bothy. 

Funding for the bothy was made available through a donation made to the Nova Scotia Trails Federation by the late Jack McLachlan in honour of his wife, Doris, a native of Pictou County.  A local building supplies company helped out with an important donation of materials.  Volunteers carried, cut, lifted and hammered basically doing whatever needed to be done.  Critical to the project’s success were teacher Andrew Parsons and the many students who did much of the work under his skilled guidance.

The new bothy is only accessible by foot.  Tucked neatly into a narrow valley and shielded by a mature forest with the brook tumbling over its rocky bed only a few feet away, it is easy to see why hikers will find it a grand spot to rest weary bones and dry a pair of socks.  It will also serve as a destination for day hikers.

The Six Mile Brook Trail is part of a long distance footpath stretching over 400 kilometres from Cape Chignecto in Cumberland County to Cape George in Antigonish County.  Branded as the Cape to Cape Trail it is Nova Scotia’s first multi-day hiking experience outside the park system.  The trail is a work in progress with local volunteer groups stepping forward to complete sections in their communities.  The Cape to Cape Trail is anchored by the existing trail system in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park and the Cape George Trails built by community effort in the Cape George area.

The Jack and Doris McLachlan Bothy is not only attractive, it has been built to provide welcome shelter for years to come.  There is no charge, the bothy is there for any hiker wanting to use it.  Hikers are simply asked to respect the environment, share the site with others and keep it clean.

The official opening is Saturday, June 25.  Those interested in attending are asked to be at the Six Mile Brook Trail kiosk at 10:15 am.  There will be a three kilometre hike into the bothy where a barbecue hot dog lunch and music will be enjoyed.  Hikers will have to ford the brook several times.   For directions and details visit



Jim Vance

902 237-4858

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We welcome members of the media to attend the opening where Gordon Young, the driving force behind hiking trail development in Pictou County will be available for comment.  We remind you that there is a three kilometre hike on a moderately challenging trail that fords the brook several times - your feet will get wet without high waterproof footwear. 


Driving directions from the Trans Canada Highway, Salt Springs:


From #104 (Trans Canada Highway) take Exit 19 (for 250 m), turn RIGHT on #4.

After 700 m turn LEFT on Six Mile Brook Road.

Proceed 5.5 km to the end of the asphalt road surface.

Proceed STRAIGHT ahead onto a gravel road (still the Six Mile Brook Rd., note there are other gravel roads entering from the left - bridge - and right)

After 300 m, keep RIGHT.

After another 500 m, keep LEFT (at Week’s construction site)

Cross bridge after 200 m and Kiosk is on your RIGHT.


This website was made possible by the generous financial support of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.