It was a busy weekend on Friday I went to visit to see a pal in Onich who is recovering from illness and it makes you appreciate health. After that it was a trip to Tulloch Station to get the train to Corrour Halt a short trip for a weekend at Ossian Youth Hostel where access is the train or a long walk in. I arrived at the station and parked the car at Tulloch there is a new Backpackers Hostel there the small train took me into Corrour.
It was now getting late yet the hills were plastered with lots of ice on the cliffs on the short train journey lots of potential for new routes? What a wild place this is Corrour the small station was used in the film Trainspotting but what scenery and in the evening light a bit of magic. I have spent some special times here in the past after big hill days and seeing it again was wonderful. On the lonely platform the hill dominates the surrounds is Leum Uilleim : ‘William’s leap’ a big sprawling Corbett. I was the only one to get off the train and the short walk to the Youth Hostel about a mile was done in failing light with a heavy and short burst of snow in amazing surroundings. The deer were watching me as I wandered along the track carrying a usual too much gear. The lights of the Hostel were welcoming and the fire was on as I arrived and four of the club were already there. I was here for a weekend with the Moray Mountaineering Club who had booked the Hostel for them selves. It is a magic place to be and with fire on very homely and the Hostel was so clean,tidy and warm. The Warden was lovely so helpful and friendly and left us to our own once we knew what was what. The rest of the club arrived spread out one by the three Munros from Fersit a hard day out in heavy snow and poor visability and tricky navigation The others from Rannoch arriving after the last train about 2230.
Later It was a full bothy of 20 souls all looking forward to a good weekend and the forecast was excellent. We had two new member’s out what a weekend to start out. There were plenty plans from Ski mountaineering to a few Munros and others a more gentle walk in great surrounds. The local walks are special and the round the Loch in winter is lovely as is the other Munro Beinn Na Lap, so much to do so little time?
I was up early with the start of a cough (thanks Pete) and got the early morning views as the early morning light hit the loch and the hills, beautiful. We had a big group lots of keen folk who decided to climb the two Munros – Carn Dearg (941m, Munro 232) Sgor Gaibhre (955m, Munro 208) and the top Sgor Choinnich 927 metres.
In winter it is a steady day but we had the joy of staying the night at the Youth Hostel. It was pretty windy when we got ready and thankfully it was just an early breeze we all set off and decided to climb the Munro Carn Dearg first and see how windy it may be. It was a lovely walk past the Loch and up onto the hill we set off the track by Peter’s rock and onto the open hill. There were single tracks ahead as the hill opened up someone was up early. I would find out later!
It was a bit windy but the views made up for it the great hills were all in view from the Mamores to Beinn Na Lap and the Loch Ossian looking stunning. The snow was right down once we left the track and it was bitter cold as we gained the ridge following the tracks from one person who must have been working hard. It was incredible walking and though hard work great to be out and on the ridge the snow was still deep.
It was cold and we had all our gear on I was walking in my small duvet and well wrapped up. The group was going well and as usual I was at the back taking photos and loving the views. The wind was still strong but it looked like we would manage both Munros my first two winter Munros for a long time since I was ill over the last few years, it was magical but hard work to be out again. How lucky am I to be out despite the speed in such a place?
From the summit it was a bit icy and the next Munro was separated by the Beleach Mam Ban but the snow was fine and we got out of the wind and easily wandered down for a break as the summit was bit cold and windy. Normally in these wild glens are huge herds of deer they would be down low as this is artic land now in full winter. Out of the wind we enjoyed the sun and then the big pull up to Sgor Gaibhre where we put crampons on for the last 100 feet. It was very icy and great training for us all and the summit was another special place this time with great views of Beinn Alder and other wilderness.
It was a bit of a break I was coughing badly on the summit then crampon down taking it easy and the new ones coping well taking care to the Beleach a place of peat hags in summer. Never rush or run, glissade in crampons ( todays tip) and keep your legs well apart to stop catching on the crampons. Today it was easy walking on the snow and we had another break and we sat in the sun for a while as the pull up onto the top Sgor Choinnich on the sunlight snow cover beckoned.
The Cornices were very big and care would have to be wary off in bad weather and in weather like this everyone was loving it but getting a bit tired. Today it was incredible blue skies and wonderful views a day to be alive in these mountains, what a place we live in, what a winter day? It was magic to be with so many who loved the wild surrounds as many who were starting their winter experiences to remember. The camera catches some of the beauty of this place but the mind catches it all?
Again we met more Skiers enjoying the weather skinning up onto the tops in the sun, they were having the perfect day. The break was magic and then the pull up to the Munro top and again huge views on the summit of Sgor Choinnich. Here we took time drinking in the beauty of natures wild hand and these huge hills and snow-covered glens that held so many memories for me.
Then it was down the long ridge in deep snow to near Corrour Lodge, heavy going at times. Then the track into the forest and the long walk to Ossian Youth Hostel in the sun and time to shed some clothes after the tops. We were all feeling the effects of the day but still loving the day and had a wee break down on the track by the Loch, then continued on to the Hostel.
It was nearly 1700 when we got back and 8 hour day, long for me in winter and I was tired and coughing a lot. I was leaving that night in the last train to Tulloch at 2120 so I had a snack sorted my kit and a lie down. Everyone was back the skiers had fun and the rest enjoyed the Loch walk and a couple had the lurgy which I felt I was getting and was cold despite the fire and the bothy full of happy people many wind and sunburnt ( suncreeen in winter?) I left them all after 2000 for my walk in the dark to the Station. I was feeling really rough and in the dark took the wrong turn on the track being complacent as another wee snow shower hit! I soon sorted it out and was at the lonely station in half an hour where I met Andrew. His were the steps we had followed early on out hills and had also climbed Beinn Na Lap a big winters day. He had just missed the early train and had a long wait in the cold open platform and had paced it many times. It was a long day for him and he was a bit glad for company. He was a keen young lad!
Andrew was from Aberdeen and was full of the joys of a great day in the mountains and the winter Munros he had left were now less than 30. He was young keen and fit and good company. He would get off at Tulloch with me and stay the night in the new Hostel that he recommended. The train was on time and we were soon at Tulloch where the train stopped and let us cross the track and we went our separate ways. The car started first time and it snowed most of the 2 hour drive home. The A9 was empty and the Dava Moor pretty wild with more snow I never so one gritter I got home at 0030 pretty tired and full of the cold. I left early from the weekend to get up North on Monday but as I now have full on lurgy and full of a cough and cold, no way. Such is life but still great to be out a busy 2 days but worth all the pain and tiredness? Of course. Thanks to the Moray Mountaineering Club for a grand day out.