Glencoe Mountain Resort remains resilient after fire

Andy Meldrum stands in front of the window that would offer outstanding views of Buchaille Etive Mor from the cafe. Photograph: Abrightside Photography

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Despite the almost complete destruction of their Base Station Building, staff at Glencoe remain in good spirits as people began heading up the access chair on Friday (December 27).

While the cause of the fire is as yet unknown, it is believed to have started at the counter of the cafe around 2am on Christmas Day.

Due to this being the only day of the year when there are no staff on site or anyone in the accommodation, fire crews were not alerted until 4.40am.

The remnants of the fire could still be smelt on Friday as the first visitors ascended the chairlifts, but for the staff it was business as usual.

Managing director of the resort, Andy Meldrum, said: ‘From the CCTV footage we can see that at about 1.30am something started smoking at the counter then half an hour later it burst into flames. It then burned for three hours before the fire crews got here.

‘We think the alarm must have been heard by someone who stopped here late at night in a caravan or car, but are grateful to whoever called the fire service.’

The building has a metal roof and part of it contains a loft which made it difficult for crews to contain the fire.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told the Lochaber Times: ‘The first appliance arrived at 4.51am and all eight appliances finished at 3.13pm. An appliance was sent out at 6pm for a re-inspection and to dampen down hot spots. Crews were finished at 6.30pm.’

What happens next is in the hands of the insurance company, but Mr Meldrum told the Lochaber Times that he expects the building to be completely demolished.

He said: ‘To rebuild the entire building would take up to 18 months but we will bring in a temporary cafe, toilets and any thing else we need to run the resort as normal through our loss of business cover.

‘All the other infrastructure on the mountain is fine, the accommodation is unaffected, but the question is whether people will want to stay in the microlodges now that the cafe is gone.’

While many have offered to help, there is not much that can now be done at the moment.

Mr Meldrum concluded: ‘The best way you can support us is by coming and enjoying what we have to offer. We plan to rebuild but the only way to do that is by having a good and busy ski season.’