El Alamein Refuge

I went to find the El Alamein refuge on the NE flank of Cairn Gorm yesterday.

The El Alamein Refuge is the last of the high level shelters which started to be built in the 1950s to accommodate the growing number of mountaineers in the Cairngorms.  It was constructed in 1963 and named in honour of the 51st Highland Division (El Alamein being a battle honour).  

The other purpose built high level shelters on the Cairngorm plateaux were demolished in the mid 1970s following the recommendations of the Feith Buidhe fatal accident inquiry.  The existence of shelters on the plateaux were considered to gave rise to a false sense of security, especially given the potential difficulties in locating them in adverse conditions.  However, the El Alamein was never removed.  I’ve heard different reasons as to why: perhaps because it fell within a different administrative region, but more likely due to it’s obscure location (a mix up in the grid reference resulted in the shelter being constructed in an unusual position on a boulder strewn slope just off the Northern spur of Cairn Gorm rather than on the plateaux itself).

I tried to capture a sense of the rock covered austere wee refuge in this very short film.