The Garbh Choire Refuge under Braeriach is to be refurbished, in plans announced today. More a pile of stones than a bothy per se, the remote shelter provides ultra spartan but potentially life saving accommodation for two or three people in one of the least accessible locations in the Cairngorms. Originally built by Aberdonian climbers about 50 years ago, over many years it has been falling into a state of increasing dilapidation.
Now the Mountain Bothies Association have taken on responsibility for repairing and maintaining the Refuge:
"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 and is an important part of Cairngorm mountaineering heritage" say the MBA.
"The refuge is a steel frame covered by piled stones. 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 the MBA should assume responsibility for its ongoing maintenance.
"There will be no rebuild as such" say the MBA, "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, and they stress that it is not intended for planned overnight stays. Even once work has been carried out a tent will provide far superior levels of comfort... and fewer mice.