After coming across this walk on one of the walking forums I decided to try it out for myself (with the tent) during the spell of fine weather during April.
To get there I took the train from Glasgow on the Sunday, getting off at a fairly busy Rannoch Station in the early evening. The weather was nothing short of astounding and even from the station there were fine all round views. Unfortunately the small cafe was shut – I had been looking forward to a cup of tea before setting off.
The first part of the route followed the road to Loch Eigheach, a couple of kilometers away, before turning left up a track and onto the Road to the Isles. Even here, before I had started properly, the views were spectacular so I took my time and enjoyed the view. My only concern was making sure I had enough liquid for the two days. There was a stiff breeze to contend with, although this did mean that the temperatures were very comfortable.
Eventually the Loch was reached, looking blue and inviting under the clear sky with Meall Chomraidh standing out to the East. Here it was time to turn North up a track signposted to Fort William. This could make a cracking section to a long distance route, although where from or too might be a bit more challenging to work out!
The track rose gently, and unsurprisingly there were quite a few walkers coming to the end of their days walk from Corrour – most hoping that the cafe at the station was open. As the height increased, the views out over Rannoch Moor were becoming more and more impressive and suddenly I was pootling along with that mixture of excitement, anticipation and joy that only fine weather and a good walk ahead can bring. I felt like a kid in a sweetshop, given a free shot at everything! Needles to say, I was wandering about with a stupid grin on my face.
I took my time, enjoying the views before reaching the lower slopes of Sron Leachd a Chaorainn, the point at which I had intended to start climbing.
It was also decision time. I had initially planned on camping on top by one of the small Lochans but a couple of things made me stop. The wind was up, even at the lower levels meaning pitching up top would have been entertaining, and also, more importantly, the ground was incredibly dry with very little sign of running water over what usually looked like a bog trot. Discretion won the day so a low-level camp would have to be found.
I decided to pitch in the glen close to the start of the main climb. This meant I would have plenty of time the next day to make it to Corrour Station for the train back to Glasgow. Eventually I found a nice spot right next to the river and set up camp, enjoying the sunset from a cairn on a strange little ridge above the spot.
As the sun went down the colours were incredible and I managed to snap a few pictures from the inside of the tent before it got too dark.
What struck me was the incredible silence around me, apart from the river. The wind had dropped and there was no noise at all in the glen – no animal or bird noise – nothing. It is slightly disconcerting! As the light faded I settled down with a brew and my book, before dropping off to sleep.
Note to self – leave warm gear on overnight – oh and use the Bivi bag as well that was left in the bottom of the rucksack! Here endeth the lesson.
The morning was bitter. The sun took its time reaching the glen I was camped in and I guess as the air was heated at height the cold stuff was pushed down into the areas that hadn’t been touched by light yet. Still it got me out of bed!
I had woken a couple of times during the night and taken the opportunity to stick my head out the door of the tent and look up! It was astonishing. The clear night sky, with no light pollution, is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I could have stared for ever, if it hadn’t been for the painful crick in the neck that develops when trying to stay inside the tent while attempting to look out and up.
As I made breakfast the sun slowly encroached into the glen and things began to warm up nicely. It was at this point I realised that I had lost one of my new gaiters – grrrr – they were a really good pair too! I packed up and was on my way by eight, immediately climbing the slope that would take me onto the ridge walk.
There are no clear paths up here for the most part so the climb was slow and steady but well worth the effort. Keeping to the West side of the ridge meant views over Blackwater Reservoir to Kinlochleven and fine views of the Mamores. These stay with you for the length of the ridge – a lot of reward for not too much effort. The ridge was easy to follow, and eventually I reached the top of Carn Dearg – complete with massive Cairn.
I sat and admired the view over Loch Ossian for a while before turning East to drop down onto the saddle between Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. Up until this point I had not seen even one deer (that includes the train journey). This changed rapidly as (I’m estimating here) around 150 animals crossed the path in front of me in three seperate herds. It was a pity I had to use the camera at full zoom and couldn’t get any decent photos – a wide angle lens would have been really useful – but I managed to take a few clumsy snaps.
The show over I continued on the now steep, but sharp climb onto Sgor Gaibhre. It was freezing up there and blowing a gale, but again the views (this time to the East) were Stupendous. I didn’t linger long, instead dropping down onto the saddle before contouring in the direction of Corrour Shooting Lodge, nestled at the end of Loch Ossian.
I dropped down to the Loch via a small path through the forest (after having an impromptu bath when crossing the river) then turned left onto the path alongside Loch Ossian. This is a very pleasant walk to the station (eventually past the Youth Hostel), the remotest railway station in Britain.
There is a restaurant there run by SYHA which does pretty good food and you can get a well earned beer there too, before catching the (rather busy) train back to Glasgow.
A great walk, nice route (picking up three munros if you so wish) and fantastic weather made the two days an absolute joy.
Did I mention I love walking?
Walk rating 10/10
Pure Dead Brilliant!