Bothy news – Corrour and Garbh Coire Refuge

Corrour Bothy in the Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms

Corrour Bothy –

For the first time in more than 10 years Corrour Bothy will be without a toilet – temporarily at least.

Renovations will mean it’ll be out of action for about a month.

The toilet extension will remain, but all the structure inside will be removed to allow for a complete redesign which will ease the load on the volunteers who for the last decade have walked out as often as once every month to move bags full of human waste.

The existing toilet will be removed this week, on Thursday June 21, but work to built the new interior can’t happen for another month or so, so anyone planning to visit Corrour in the four to six weeks after that should be prepared to take a spade for a walk if nature calls. Advice shouldn’t be needed, but bitter experience shows it is, so anyone in any doubt should read this about how to shit outdoors.

This Friday, June 22, a helicopter will fly the waste and other materials out, having delivered the materials for the new toilet. The toilet will then be locked until work can be completed.

The delay is because the main business of this weekend is the renovation of the Garbh Choire Refuge. The helicopter will be flying in materials and tools for that job, and flying out the unusable materials – tarpaulin fragments and hessian – from the original build.

Garbh Choire Refuge, Cairngorms

The Garbh Choire Refuge

The Refuge, for long in a state of dilapidation, will be made weatherproof and the stone shell replaced over the top but, according to the wishes of the estate, the restoration will be like for like, so it will still be tiny, very basic and very much a refuge rather than a bothy of resort.

It’s been heartening to see the interest it has raised though. Many people expressed their support during the campaign for its renovation, but that level of support remained as high when we were given the go-ahead for the repair. Despite the considerable walk-in, with much of it pathless, the work party is oversubscribed (albeit some people will get a lift in by helicopter, but they’d already volunteered.), and many of those who will be there were quite determined that they should be involved.

Safety issues

As mentioned above, a helicopter will be making a number of flights in and out from both Corrour Bothy and the Garbh Choire Refuge, dropping and picking up several loads from each location. For that reason people are asked not to camp in the immediate vicinity of either building on Friday June 22nd, both for safety reasons and to avoid obstructing loading and unloading procedures. People should also keep clear of all work and helicopter related activity.

Needless to say, Garbh Choire Refuge will be totally unavailable for use over the weekend and Corrour will be extremely busy so anyone needing accommodation in the area should take a tent in case. Hopefully the inconvenience will be more than made up for by the improvements.

The future

The renovation of the Garbh Coire Refuge is being carried out by the MBA, which will be taking on future maintenance of the building. It is important to remember that the refuge is in a particularly remote and sensitive area and its future depends on responsible behaviour by users, who should leave no litter. As said above, it will not be a plush bothy, but a very basic shelter which can only, reasonably, accommodate four people in fairly cramped circumstances.

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10 Responses to Bothy news – Corrour and Garbh Coire Refuge

  1. piper says:

    Nice one Neil .

  2. Fergus Cooper says:

    How times have changed since I used the Corrour Bothy, the Etchachan Bothy and Bob Scott’s in the early 1960s There were no helicopters or other ways of maintaining the bothies except by human effort.

    • Maybe so Fergus, but the scale of work was generally much less. And I seem to recall when the Cairngorm Club rescued Corrour in 1949 they admitted they would have used a helicopter if they could have afforded it. The MBA can afford the transport costs, so it only makes sense to use what’s most appropriate rather than deliberately tying one hand behind our backs.

      • Fergus Cooper says:

        I think you nailed it on the head. In those times there were no or insufficient financial resources available to maintain, let alone improve, the bothies. In those years you could walk or climb for a week or more without seeing another living soul!!!!

  3. Fantastic news Neil. Interesting comment Fergus. Whilst stationed at RAF Kinloss during the 80s members of RAF Kiloss Mountain Rescue Team would clean up the refuge and thankfully have bags and bags of rubbish airlifted out by D Flt 202 Sqn SAR Helicopter. The crews did this as part of their mountain flying training as the turbulence encountered made flying interesting.

    Good luck to all this weekend and in the future.

  4. Allan Moore says:

    Excellent Neil, another great informative piece.

  5. Danny Hawthorn says:

    Great news Neil… I met you up at Bob Scott’s last year in september when I was up with a group of Explorer Scouts from Newburgh, Aberdeenshire. You mentioned then that the renovation of Garbh Corrie Bothy had been given the go ahead, so brilliant to see it complete (I saw the photos on Twitter). Thanks to you and the team for the efforts.
    Danny

  6. Jumping the gun a wee bit, your photos of the renovation depict Gargh Choire Refuge as being sound for many years. Fantastic effort by all concerned with the “fight” to retain it and a brilliant effort by the work party.
    A Very Well Done.

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