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An Ossian Odyssey - the long walk, goodnight,
by GillC » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:28 am
Munros included on this walk: Carn Dearg (Corrour), Sgor Gaibhre
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Pharlagain, Leum Uilleim
Date walked: 18/09/2020
Time taken: 20 hours
Distance: 53 km
Ascent: 2341m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Day 1 - Left home at 5pm with a fish supper stop in Dunkeld. A bit of faff trying to find the start point down near Rannoch Station before packing up and setting off on the track North at 9pm. Nights are drawing in so it was dark before we set out with our heavy packs. Our original plan was fairly fluid, but we were looking to camp somewhere along the track under the Carn Dearg and plan our walks based on location etc. Without any real stops we started to look out for places to pitch up sometime after 11pm but the ground was very rocky, bumpy and boggy pretty much all along both sides of the track (when we turned west after the trees at 436 609 we expected it to become more of a footpath but it remains a broad track)
Checking the map, we spotted the ruins of Corrour Lodge and sheep pens, this would probably provide some flatness and be a good spot. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of just assuming this would be an obvious clearing on the track but with only head torches, we somehow missed and passed it (we actually considered pitching the tent in a sand trap at the side of the road lol) Confirming our location on the sat nav, we opted to keep going towards Loch Ossian, hoping to find something along the way. After midnight, we then just decided to keep going and get to the loch side.
Off in the distance, we could see the lights at Corrour station and a faint orange glow in the area of the Youth Hostel. Defo some flat ground there, aim, walk and keep walking. We arrived at the hostel at 1 am , picked a spot beside the steps down to the loch and up went the tent. Jan from the hostel popped out to ask if we were ok, confirmed we were good to pitch here and would speak in the morning. By 1:30am on a VERY starry night, we climbed into our sleeping bags and crashed.
Day 2 - Our options were discussed over breakfast as the mist cleared from the loch. Had a chat with Jan again about staying camped at the hostel which is only available for block bookings due to Covid restrictions but i was able to fill up a water bottle to keep us going and the compost toilets were uber handy too. This wasn't really wild camping, or not as wild as John would have liked, what with having a picnic bench to cook on lol.
We decided to walk in and take on the 2 Munros to the South East of Loch Ossian with an option to add on Ben na Lap on the way back if we felt like it. Spotted a few people who had come in on the train heading off up the tracks too. Set off from the tent at 10:20am
Absolutely amazing day and warming up nicely.
Wandered up the path to Peters Stone. A memorial plaque on a rock to an ex warden of the hostel who died in uncertain circumstances in March 79. He had been working in the hostel over the winter and after failing to check in, was found to be missing. His body was found when the frozen loch thawed some time later, the circumstances of his death will never be fully known. RIP Peter Trowell.
From this point, we scoot straight up from the track onto the hillside and up into Coire Odhar Beag, to the rocky ridge before turning right and on up to Carn Dearg summit cairn. Could see one or two people in the area and one guy sitting at the cairn having come round from the other Munro. The sun was out and it was a lovely warm day, but a cool breeze at the summit had us layering up as we enjoyed a bite to eat and the extensive views.
Sitting at the summit, we looked over the the neighbouring Corbett, Beinn Pharlagain, the Corbett summit being Meall na Meoig. The ground between us and M na M looked a bit of a nightmare, peat bogs, bright green wet stuff etc. We decided to head off Carn Dearg to the south and have a recky at the conditions ahead before making a decision. We could always contour back round to Mam Ban and on up to Sgor Gaibhre. As we moved on, we just picked out short stretches and actually made good progress across the low lying boggy area. The recent good weather had dried the ground out a fair bit and we really didn't have any issues. Heard a large flock of geese coming round via Ben na Lap before they headed south.
We had passed a sign re deer stalking in the area on the long walk in last night so we were aware this could have been an issue as we were definitely off piste. We did spot a herd of deer under Bealach Leathann, heading up towards the summit of the Corbett. We decided to head slightly more East under the Bealach before turning South again towards the top. We saw the deer a bit later on the skyline heading further South, so hopefully, if some bloke in tweed was crawling around in the heather with a shotgun, it wasn't pointing in our direction.
The long walk in, a few nights of poor sleep and a niggling hamstring were taking their toll on me. I seemed to have no energy, despite the constant nibbling and snacks. I also had tender collar bones due to the heavy weight on the walk in and spent much of today adjusting my pack to alleviate pain/discomfort. (Note to self, get a lighter pack) Girded my proverbials and pushed on.
Heading over to Sgor Gaibhre the views continued to be just amazing, not a cloud in the sky and good going underfoot. We were in tshirts for much of the day, except when sitting around. Approaching the summit, we met a couple with their wee dog Hugh, after Sir Hugh Munro. They were looking to set up a summit camp but it was a bit breezy so had moved off to find a bit of shelter and catch the sunset, It was looking like a good one.
Another short stop at the summit, last of the snacks and headed North to start our descent. On my previous visit here, I was continuing on to Ben na Lap for Wullie Raes compleation so was on a mission and headed further North before descending. Today we headed West and picked up the track leading down into the trees. Wandering through the hunting buildings, not a soul in site, all the ATVs parked up, looks like our worries of being stalked by a hunting party were unfounded, don't think anyone was out shooting today.
Back to the road at 7:10pm , took a left and began the 4.5 mile walk back to the hostel. By now, I had sore shoulders, sore hamstring, sore knee, sore foot, just,,,sore. But we pushed out pretty quickly and maintained that pace all the way back, reaching the tent in under an hour. We saw several tents camped at the lochside in the last 500mtrs or so, campfire at one, bobbing head torches at the others as the light faded fast, back to the tent, boots off,,,aaahhhhhhhh.
Dinner cooked, a couple of tinned gin and tonics and in bed by half 9. Tonight was due to be a colder night so just kept the clothes on this time. Definitely needed the extra layers tonight. Woke very early (half 3) but considering the early night, wasn't too bad, but managed to drift off again for a few hours.
Day 3 - Woke to another lovely morning, mists rolling around with sunny summits above. I had already decided last night that I was not keen to do the 4 hr walk back out after another hill day today, so my thoughts were, a hill, then catch the 18:25 train back to Rannoch Station and the short walk out to the car. I'm pretty sure John would consider me a wimp,,did I care? not a jot!
We decided to head for Leum Uilleim across from the station, returning to pick up our gear later. Breakfast sorted, jettisoned everything from my pack that I wouldn't potentially need on the hill and we headed off at 10:20 (again)
There's a lot of digger work going on, resurfacing the tracks etc and we initially took the right hand track that takes you to the Ben na Lap route, Wrong!,,,retrace back to the main track, sidled past the diggers and off to the station, noting how long it took so we knew how long we had to get back for the train.
We spent some time at the station trying to confirm there was a Sunday 18:25 train. There is an automated screen in the wee shed on the platform but its for the sleeper only. There's an information button that calls through to a Scotrail Customer Service team,,,tried this 3 times, I could hear them,,they couldn't hear me. Opted to then go into the station restaurant and ask lol (John borrowed my buff as we didn't have a mask with us) train time confirmed, off we go.
We had thought about straight up the front of the hill but we had loads of time so instead headed North West to climb the long arching ridge. The views today were again, just amazing. We could see the Glencoe hills, the Mamores, Nevis range, Aonachs, Grey Corries, Easians and neighbours, Alder Range, Ossian hills, beyond and round to Schiehallion, all by just turning your head. Amazing.
I had seen 2 girls with terriers heading out towards the front of the Corbett before we left the station. The were now coming off the hill towards us. I felt a tad overdressed in boots, pack, poles etc when they were carrying a water bottle between them and in trainers lol.
Reached the summit at 12:40. Blowing a cool breeze so sat off the top, layered up a bit and enjoyed nearly an hour just soaking up the ambience, views, snacks. Another pair arrived at the summit having come up from the station, again making me feel overdressed, these 2 weren't even carrying water or a jacket lol.
This is a great no brainer of a hill, really nice day.
Headed off the summit at 1:30pm. The descent looks steep and we knew it was a bit wet at the bottom too. With the station in sight and a path of sorts to follow, we strode out and made good progress with no issues, a lot quicker than I had anticipated. Didn't stop at the station for a drink but headed back to the tent. John went for a short swim in the loch, I dipped my feet in and sat on a rock in my tshirt lol,,,it was BALTIC
Dried off, broke camp and repacked our bags before heading back to the station for 16:30 where we were able to sit outside, chatting, having a drink and dinner before the train arrived. 1 stop to Rannoch and no sign of anyone selling tickets, result. Off at Rannoch and headed straight out to the car, another 2.5km along the road. The light was failing but was a glorious evening again.
Headed home to pick up Sam the dog before falling in to bed by 11pm. Shattered
This was a challenge of a weekend for me. Nothing technical, just a long physical weekend. I know John would have preferred a slightly more wild camp than in the grounds of the hostel but the location was perfect, views, hills, water etc, just ideal. 2 repeat Munros I had been hoping to revisit and 2 quality Corbetts checked off and done in conditions you can only dream of on many a hill day.
by Sunset tripper » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:38 pm
- Posts: 2090
- Joined: Nov 3, 2013
- Location: Inverness
by Mountainlove » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:43 am
by Tomsie » Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:55 pm
by GillC » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:07 pm
Mountainlove wrote:Great report wow walking until 1am to find a camp spot I think I would have camped on that spot next to the road you mentioned also great idea to take the train out ...
Cheers Maja.. The train certainly let us enjoy the Sunday hill day without dreading the walk lol
by soapy27 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:04 pm
Would you say that track to Ossian is suitable for a MTB?
by GillC » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:37 am
soapy27 wrote:Great report Gill
Would you say that track to Ossian is suitable for a MTB?
Hey there. Thanks and yep, defo no probs for a bike. Its a full width track with only gradual ascent/descents.