Highest phone box in UK saved following Highland protest

The highest phone box in the UK has been saved following a campaign to halt its removal by BT.

The red phone box at CairnGorm has been saved. PIC Contributed.
The red phone box at CairnGorm has been saved. PIC Contributed.

The box sits around 2,000ft above sea level at the base of the Cairngorm ski resort.

Its inclusion on a list of around 1,500 phoneboxes earmarked for removal was met with strong opposition from the local community and mountain sports fans.

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Claims were made that the box was essential for skiers and mountaineers visiting the area and had the potential to make the difference “between life and death” in an emergency situation.

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A spokesman for BT confirmed the box was no longer under threat.

He said: “We listen carefully to any community concerns and have already, for example, removed from the consultation the payphone at the ski-slope in the Cairngorms.

“Where concerns are raised to us through the local planning authority, we will not remove the payphone.”

BT said the traditional red phone box had been removed from its consultation process after concerns from the local community.

Bill Lobban, vice convenor of Highland Council, said: “This is a very sensible decision by BT and follows pressure from the local community.

“The box has been extensively used in the past and is essential for emergency use.

“People claim when they come off of the hill that they have mobile phone service, but if they can’t get a signal, it’s important they have another option.”

BT’s plans to cut around a third of payphones in Scotland comes following a 90 per cent drop in usage over the last decade.

Of about 4,800 payphones in Scotland, fewer than five calls were made from 1,280 of them over the past year.

After the CairnGorm box was included on the list, leading Scottish mountain sports website, Winterhighland Ltd, said: “The iconic red BT phone box on CairnGorm Mountain situated just above the Base Station of the funicular is amongst over 170 listed for removal by BT in the Highland Council area.

“As well as being something of an iconic feature, it’s also a potential life saver - there may only be a handful of calls made but one could literally be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation, esp as this box is widely indicated on maps.”