Garbh Choire refuge in the Cairngorms. Photo: Colin Kinnear CC-BY-SA-2.0

Garbh Choire refuge in the Cairngorms. Photo: Colin Kinnear CC-BY-SA-2.0

The charity that cares for more than 100 bothies in Britain has taken over responsibility for an emergency shelter in a remote part of the Highlands.

The Mountain Bothies Association said the Garbh Choire refuge is an important part of Cairngorm mountaineering heritage.

The structure is in a poor state of repair and will deteriorate further without attention, the charity said.

A spokesperson said: “The refuge is situated in one of the more remote climbing areas in the Cairngorms. Although usage has been light compared to other shelters in the area, it has played a significant role in the development of both rock and ice climbing in the area.”

It was originally built by Aberdeen University Lairig Club about 50 years ago. The rudimentary shelter lies between Breariach and Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, 1.5km (1 mile) west of the Lairig Ghru.

The MBA has taken over the responsibility of repairing and maintaining the refuge.

The spokesperson said: “The refuge is stone covered with a steel frame. It is in a poor state of repair and without some attention will undoubtedly deteriorate further.

“There has been strong feeling amongst local walkers and climbers that it should be retained as a shelter, particularly for heritage reasons, but also because it may save lives in an emergency.

“The building’s owner, the National Trust for Scotland (Mar Lodge Estate), has agreed that we should assume responsibility for its ongoing maintenance. There will be no rebuild as such with the original structure being retained and a new weatherproof covering being fitted.

“The door and small window will probably need to be replaced and perhaps a new wooden floor laid as well. We hope that the repairs will go ahead in the late spring.

“The building will continue to be used as an emergency shelter only. It is not intended for planned overnight stays.”

The association undertakes the restoration and maintenance of a number of old cottages, huts and similar buildings throughout the wilder parts of Scotland, England and Wales for use as open shelters for walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. It currently cares for just over 100 such buildings.

Many of the buildings that are cared for by the MBA would otherwise have become derelict. All of the restoration and maintenance work is undertaken by volunteers and is financed by member subscriptions and by donations.

The charity was established in 1965 and has around 3,800 members. It maintains and repairs the bothies in its care with the consent and support of their owners.

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