Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Ossian Munros weekend, Aug-Sep'13

This was one event I was really looking forward to. It takes a bit of planning with timing of the trains and arranging accommodation. We were hoping to stay in the SYHA Ossian Hostel, but although they had accommodation, it turned out there was no female accommodation left. Argh, we had four women booked on this. A good head-scratch later, we modified the weekend slightly, and it turned out even better than the original plan....

Rannoch Station
Sylvie, Victoria and myself met Claudine and Sohpie at Moor of Rannoch Hotel where they'd been staying the previous night. The Rannoch Station cafe is closed on weekends, so we were hoping the hotel would do some tea and cake while we waited for the train, but alas no ! So we headed onto the platform and waited. A breeze kept the air fresh and midges away as we bantered and got to know each other. The train arrived and whisked us away northwards across the vast expands with lonely ruins giving evidence of past times.

Peter's Rock
On Carn Dearg
At Corrour Halt we met John, who'd taken the train in from the north to meet us. We were eating at the Corrour Station House Restaurant later, so after checking our reservation was fine, we headed along the track in the direction of Loch Ossian. With the wind behind us, a fast pace was set by the group and we quickly reached 'Peter's Rock'. Grassy uphill slopes next, the group slowed slightly, but only just. Onto the crest, the views opened up and we were picking out the peaks near and afar. "What's that pointy one over there ?" Schiehallion, of course ! Onto the Carn Dearg's summit, the wind was making standing tricky, so after a few photos, we took some shelter in a little hollow to the east and had lunch.

A bit windy on Sgor Gaibhre
Sgor Gaibhre is a short distance from Carn Dearg and a pleasant hike too. With the wind behind us, we were on the summit in well under an hour and again, after taking some photos by the cairn, sheltered for another bite and drink. We had various options from here - a direct descent (pathless and peathags), to bealach nan Sgor then down (longer and still pathless with peathags), or up Sgor Choinnich (longer still, but much more pleasant underfoot). The group decided on the latter and we had plenty of time in hand. Hoods up, buffs and gloves on, we headed west directly into the wind. Down to the loch, we peered into Corrour Lodge grounds, then walked briskly back to the station.

We were early to Corrour Station House, around half an hour or so, but that wasn't a problem - our hosts suggested we snuggled by the wood-burning stove and brought us some drinks. Moving to our table later, we were then served delicious food and enjoyed a couple of hours good craic. We needed to finish up by 9pm, as the train to Tulloch was due shortly thereafter. So reluctantly we got our kit together and headed onto the platform. Train arrived bang on time and speed off with us to Tulloch. Arriving there we were greeted at the hostel and shown our rooms - very cosy indeed !

Up next morning, the group tucked into a hearty cooked breakfast put on by the hostel owners and talked about the day ahead. One of the group was suffering from a long term back injury, so decided to pull out of the planned walk. Her friend decided to keep her company, then the others realised they'd already been up Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain before and decided to give these peaks a miss and just do Beinn na Lap. I suspect the windy weather and low cloud took a part in their decisions ! The plan was therefore changed, the group would enjoy a lazy morning pottering around Tulloch, then take the train to Corrour to then walk up Beinn na Lap while I aimed Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain and met them at the station.

So I headed off on my own, conscious of the clock. Up Stob Coire Sgriodain first, sheltered most of the way until reaching the exposed summit crest where the westerly wind battered full-on. Over to Chno Dearg in thick mist required concentrating on navigation. Then down to Corrour - no photos taken at all.

I arrived at the station with a few minutes to spare before the train arrived and the group alighted. From there it was up and down Beinn na Lap, pretty text-book style. It was windy on the summit with mist for most of the way above 800m, but the occasional break allowed a photo or two. We returned to the station, where we had around an hour and a half before our train arrived. So into the Station House Restaurant where we savoured a lovely bowl of soup by the fire - bliss !

A great weekend with lovely company. We can thoroughly recommend the Corrour Station House for its food and hospitality and Tulloch Station Lodge for its comfortable accommodation and hearty breakfasts. We'll be back again next year !

More photos are on our Flickr site.