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Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills


Postby rockhopper » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:18 am

Route description: Leum Uilleim, from Corrour Station

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Pharlagain, Cruach Innse, Leum Uilleim, Sgurr Innse

Date walked: 12/09/2015

Time taken: 23 hours

Distance: 63 km

Ascent: 2400m

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Corbetts: Meall na Meoig of Beinn Pharlagain, Leum Uilleim, Sgurr Innse, Cruach Innse
Date: 12 - 14 sept 2015
Distance: 63km approx
Ascent: 2,400m approx
Time: 17hrs - move, 6hrs - stops
Attendees: me

Had been looking at different ways to approach these central corbetts and decided on a point to point route - booked train tickets in advance and kept my fingers crossed for the weather. Obviously didn’t work as the good weather during the week was forecast to deteriorate rapidly on the Saturday - forecast just seemed to get worse and worse with gale force winds and driving rain.

Initial plan was on day 1 to walk Beinn Pharlagain then go over the munros Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg to get to Loch Ossian and set up the tent. Not much height gain for the munros and probably less distance than doubling back from the Corbett. This was to be the first of two changes in the plan.......

Day 1 Rannoch to Loch Ossian

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Not a good sign - already raining when my wife gave me a lift down to the station early morning. Nice though not to have to drive for a change. Alighted at Rannoch at the same time as a group of Scouts who were walking the “Road to the Isles” to Corrour, camping over night then getting the train back to Glasgow.

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Walked along the road for 2-3km then left up the “Road to the Isles”. There’s a lot of work being carried out on it for hydro access - no longer the boggy track of old.

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Constant rain and the wind was already very strong - not auguring well for going any higher. Didn’t take any photos as there was no point really. Good track so stayed on it as long as I could - not long after it forks off up to Corrour I set off east towards Beinn Pharlagain.

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Found a suitable point to cross the Allt Eigheach then over boggy moorland to ascend Beinn Pharlagain. The wind was getting stronger and stronger as I gained height - in theory coming off the south it should be mostly behind me but some of the gusts were very strong - nearly got blown over a few times despite carrying the heavy pack.

Pushed on until I got to the summit of Meall na Meoig - quick photo in the rain and clag

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Change of plan at this point. The wind gusts were bad enough sub 900m and no way did I want to try going any higher. I knew that doubling back would probably be longer in distance terms but much more favourable than trying to go higher. Continued on round a wee lochan then west and down to get back to the Allt.

Further down there was more evidence of some of the hydro works.

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I then contoured round the base of Sron Leachd a’ Chaorainn before starting the walk up the track towards Loch Ossian. Further up the rain started to abate a little and the sun actually appeared for a short time.

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Good track all the way up to Loch Ossian now

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Met some people in a Landrover heading towards me. The driver advised that they were staying at the shooting lodge as they had done for several years but had never seen this road before - he asked how far down it went. Explained that it starts at the Rannoch road but there’s a gate which I had to walk round. They continued on and theme reappeared some time later on their way back up - said hello again.

Came across a notice which explained about a bright new future for Corrour Estate and the investment in three hydro schemes, hence the level of construction activity. The hydro schemes are expected to provide electricity for 50 years for both the estate’s needs and those of up to 2,000 households.

Continued on past the ruin of the old lodge then down past Peter’s Rock (for which I forgot to look out) and down towards Loch Ossian

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The rain had been off for a wee while but had now started again. Found a spot beside the loch and set up the tent as quickly as I could - still got wet though. Turned out to be somewhat lumpy ground but I wasn’t for trying to resite the tent by now. Got out of my wet clothes, cooked up dinner then got to bed. The wind did drop a bit then strengthened during the night. Rain on and off. Didn’t sleep well due to this and the ground but then I never sleep well in a tent anyway.

Day 2 Loch Ossian to Lairig Leacach

The plan for today was to copy one of malkyC’s routes over Leum Uilleim then on to Beinn na Cloiche and Glas Bheinn before heading north to Staoineag bothy possibly with Creag Ghuanach at some point. I knew I could take longer as I could return to Glasgow late Monday or early Tuesday - not being super human like malkyC, I reckoned it would take me a bit longer anyway. That, however, was the plan - like the previous day, it was about to be altered significantly.

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It was dry when I got up and things were looking a bit brighter. Was still very tired due to lack of sleep and Saturday’s walk in the wind had taken more out of me than I thought it would.

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Had a good breakfast, packed up and set off towards Corrour.

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It was quite boggy but picked up a quad bike trail which helped - followed it uphill.

Looking back to Loch Ossian

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Found a track for part of the way but nearer the top the cloud rolled in and visibility was right down again.

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Still harbouring plans to get over to Glas Bheinn, I walked westwards to the summit of Beinn a Bhric. Some decent views from here as the clag had lifted for a short time.

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Then over to a wee lochan - ripples showing that the wind has strengthened a lot again.

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Decision time. I could see dark grey clouds and some rain approaching in the distance and had no desire to get over to Glas Bheinn only to be stuck in rain clouds with no view - wouldn’t do it justice. So decided to head north and aim for the Lairig Leacach bothy for the night. At least it would be dry and there should be no problem making the train from Spean bridge the following day.

Headed off NW to get down to Gleann Iolairean.

View north to Creag Ghuanach and then two Innses.

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Loch Treig

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Glencoe - Lairig Gartain in the distance

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Once down in the floor of the glen I followed the path to Loch Treig - as expected the rain had rolled in again but the wind was much less noticeable lower down.

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Followed the track round to the deserted Creaguaineach Lodge and crossed the Abhainn Rath using the bridge.

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Some interesting features at this end of the loch

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The map showed a track on the north side of the Allt na Lairige so crossed the bridge to have a look - couldn’t find the start of any track though so headed back and up the rather boggy track to the south of the Allt.

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Very little wind at all now but the rain was steady. Did have a brief think about dropping the rucksack and heading up Creag Ghuanach from the north - ascent would have been less than 300m and about 2km there and back and I had plenty of time now - but not that appealing in the rain so just kept going.

The track comes and goes as it follows the Allt - pretty boggy much of the way but nice enough beside the water.

Fortunately the weather did start to clear as I got higher.

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Then on to the bothy.

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Arrived at the bothy at around 1545hrs - rather earlier than planned given the shortening of the day’s route. No one else around and I had to myself for the night.

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First night I’d ever sent in a bothy - was expecting rats and mice but no sight or sound of them at all. Just a couple of slugs on the floor in the morning. Cleaned out the stove then tried briefly to get it lit properly - failed miserably though. Cooked up dinner, had a wander around outside trying to avoid the midges then got to bed early.

Day 3 Lairig Leacach to Spean Bridge

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Clear sky around dawn - weather looking much better

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Made breakfast, cleared up then ready for the off. Not in any hurry as I knew I had plenty of time for today’s walk.

Contemplating today’s hills

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Walked up the path then took a detour off to the right to get up to the bealach between the two Innses.

First up - Sgurr Innse. A fair bit of cloud had bubbled up and was blowing over in the wind.

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Being watched

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Found some tracks on the way up which made the going easier - nice views at the top in between waiting for the cloud to blow over.

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Self portrait - looking to Cruach Innse

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Stob Ban

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Then headed back down initially on the same track for the ascent until I came across a different track which I tried instead. It seemed fine until I got to a point where I couldn’t first of all see a way to get past - camping rucksack was getting in the way as well but eventually managed to stretch over to a small foothold and get past it. An extra half a foot in height would have been useful.

Back down to the bealach looking towards Cruach Innse

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And back to Sgurr Innse

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Walked over to the base of Cruach Innse, found the track and started up.

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Didn’t take long to get to the top

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Thanks to malkyC for advising that the hill in the distance in the middle of this photo is Creag Dubh, a Graham just south of Newtonmore

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Took some photos then had a long break in the sun at the cairn. Lovely morning, warm in the sun - stayed until some more cloud rolled in and shaded the sun.

Then off northwards to get back down to the main track

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Just a case now of taking the track to Corriechoille then walking the road to Spean Bridge

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Didn’t walk fast but still got to the train station at about 1415hrs - just over 3.5 hrs early for the train to Queen Street. That said even if I’d speeded up I don’t think I could’ve made the earlier 1215hrs train. Had plenty of time to wander round Spean Bridge, get something to eat and explore the train station.

Commando plaque at the station

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Old ticket office which is now a restaurant

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Sign stating that the toilets in the old ticket office were for restaurant users only with the door locked so just assumed there were none. However, on further exploring, there’s what I assumed to be the former signal box at the end of the platform.

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Steps up to the left lead to a door with Ladies and Gentleman signs - opening the door reveals the following:

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Not sure how many would actually want to use it but, for info, the flush doesn’t work hence the container of water on the floor to the left.......

It had been an interesting trip - first time I’d tried a route between two different stations and first night in a bothy. Earlier poor weather aside, it had been enjoyable and I’d do it again. Not having to drive back was also a bonus although it would certainly have taken a lot less time than waiting for the train.
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Guinessman » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:08 am

Great trip rockhopper it's my idea of a few scottish days well spent. I'm up that way first week in october. I'm getting the train up to corrour and was initially going to do carn dearg and sgor ghairbe that day from 3.30 onwards. Plan b is to get off at rannoch and do an overnight camp around there and do them from the south due to the shorter day. Can I ask did you see any decent camping spots on your approach up the road to the isles?
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby RiverSong » Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:07 pm

It's always good to log on and find out what your latest trip has been Rockhopper, and I enjoyed seeing your photos.
Something very romantic about the route you chose - "...by Tummel and Loch Rannoch and Lochaber I will go... "

I was interested to hear about the Scouts walking this route because my son did something similar with his Outward Bound group. My brother was in the Royal Marines and I have a photo of him by the Commando Memorial.

Great report, thanks for posting :D
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Silverhill » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:14 pm

What a good idea to link these hills, instead of doing them in 3 separate trips. You see so much more of the area and get a better feel for the lie of the land. 8) Excellent effort!
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby kev_russ » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:43 pm

Braw report 8)
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby jonny616 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:59 pm

Glad you still manage out for these wee walks :lol: :lol: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby ancancha » Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:46 pm

I'll bet that brought peace of mind :wink:
Some beautiful views :clap:
Was that a Raven in one of your photos :?:
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:22 pm

Brilliant report and photos rockhopper - I'm knackered just reading it.

It's probably about 15yrs since I walked from Corrour Station down to Rannoch Station - looks a bit different now.

Found the info on Day 1 really helpful as this is an area I plan to visit soon.
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Scotjamie » Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:50 am

Great report and pics RH, though surprised to hear that was your first bothy! Some good walking there on a fair mix of path, track, bog and road
Visited this area on a recent bothy trip. Walked out from Meananach and found the last road miles to Spean Bridge hard going (even Monty was looking for a lift).
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:07 am

A grand report and a real mix of weather :clap:
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Beaner001 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:49 pm

So you got the station, the Corbett and the toilet from Trainspotting? :lol:
Another belter RH, enjoyed that :clap:
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby litljortindan » Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:13 pm

A great report.
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:14 pm

cheers all for your comments :)

Guinessman wrote:Can I ask did you see any decent camping spots on your approach up the road to the isles?
didn't really spot much until I got to Loch Ossian - think it was mostly bumpy heather to the sides of the track after some disruption from the building of the track - from memory, one possible area though was around the ruin of the Corrour Old Lodge

RiverSong wrote:I was interested to hear about the Scouts walking this route because my son did something similar with his Outward Bound group.
good area for it - did feel a bit sorry for the scouts give the weather but they seemed happy enough and keen to get on with it

ancancha wrote:Was that a Raven in one of your photos :?:
not sure what it was as it was too far away to see clearly (and didn't have my glasses with me :roll: )
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby Petr Dakota » Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:25 am

Great trip and photos ! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Rannoch to Spean Bridge via some hills

Postby dooterbang » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:37 pm

I must try these multi-day long distance epic trips, they look fab. When you got to Loch Trieg it reminded me of when I was in that area. It was early March and it was a heatwave :lol:

What size of rucksack do you use for these trips, and what weight do you carry?

Nice to see you back out and enjoying the walking no matter the weather.
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