I was down at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel for the weekend with the Moray Mountaineering Club and despite having a rough night being ill violently sick! I was nearly taking the early train home and felt a bit better in the morning and decided to join my mates for a Corbett with a huge long name Meall na Meoig of Beinn Pharagain 868 metres. We had for some reason decided to do it from Rannoch Station a few miles away from and the next stop on the train from Corrour. It was a light breakfast of toast then walk down to the railway station for the train to Rannoch.
We were still away for the early train at 0900 to Rannoch which we met at Corrour as 6- 8 “Lochaber ladies running club” decanted from the train and headed of for the wilds! It was a shock to see such a bevy of beauties running of into the distance they were running back to Fort William. I was later to learn that I knew two of the lovely lassies Julie and Sarah from my days in Mountain Rescue as I got a message by text next day asking if I was the old guy waiting for the train? Then as we boarded the guard told us there was a “hen party “on the train from Fort William going to Glasgow. It was a wild short trip to Rannoch a luckily only a few minutes for us and then off we got for the long walk in to our hill! Meall Na Meoig a Corbett I had not climbed. There were 6 of us all hoping for a new hill apart from Brynt who had done it before plus two dogs and we all enjoyed the short train noisy journey.
The stop at the lovely Rannoch station is another grand place with a cafe but we managed not to pop in. I dropped my camera here but Adrain found it and I was lucky not really with it this morning. The camera seemed to be acting up after that and is on the way out. From here it was a big day ahead for us so we wanted to get going. It was a walk along the road, then following a forestry track into the hill. There were plenty of deer about and this walk takes you on to the historic road to the Isles track that starts 2 and a half kilometres from the station. After the following track North for another 3 kilometres it is then up initial peat bog and heather clad hills on to the first top at 807 metres.
It was then a hard graft onto the tops, I will still not feeling great and had little to eat but plenty of fluid and fruit the weather was great it was a clear day warm at times but cold out of the sun. I continued to eat a little and often and replenish my energy levels after my sleepless night.
I found this a hard hill today and I would imagine that in poor weather very tricky with its constant up and down on the ridge but in clear weather it was fine. The wind was cutting at times but there was no snow. This hill on a day like today with great views was special. It was very hard going with so many tops. It is a wild area with desolate Rannoch Moor and its myriad of lochans and the familiar peaks emerging as we got higher. How did they build a railway line across this moor and through these hills?
One of the party was not feeling well once he reached the main ridge and as it’s fairly remote out here he decided to go down. He was accompanied by another pal Brynt and the walked back by the path “road to the Isles” back to the Youth Hostel at Ossian. It was still along walk home for them. We continued along the ridge and the last part the ridge is broad and featureless but the two lochans near the summit would be a good guide in poor weather. It would be some navigation in poor weather and in snow very hard.
We had a great day once on the top stunning views of Beinn Alder and right across Scotland, Schiehallion and the Glencoe hills. It was a hard day a tricky hill but great weather, we saw another two people behind us but no one else all day. It was hot and cold at times a day of changing temperatures. The dogs loved it there was little wild life but I so enjoyed the views of Beinn Alder and so many other great hills. The summit was hard won and I would advise that you do this hill with the Munro Sgor Gaibhre from Loch Ossian it would be a lot easier. A top tip
From the summit we descended to the Beallach and then traversed over to the main beleach at Mam Ban and down the wild corrie by the river to Corrour Shooting Lodge this was a lovely descent following the river and having a few stops in the sun with the water and the granite boulders made this an enjoyable walk off. At the Lodge we spoke to one of the keepers he was very friendly and the place was busy, the workers houses were looking great after a recent face-lift and then it was off for an hour down the loch back to the Hostel.
There is a run round the loch that if you do it one hour then its a good feat it was started by one of the wardens Tom Rigg (RIP) many years ago. The walk back was not too bad as the views were great and I felt tired but happy with my new Corbett. As for Derek at nearly 75 he was like a spring lamb at the end and enjoying the flowers on the way to the Hostel that were awaking ready for the spring.
The feet were wet but apart from that I was fine and drywhen we got back to the Hostel. We met the other two who had got back earlier from the Road to Isles path sitting outside Gus still coughing badly. The rest of the group had some great days with a few cycling nearly 50 miles to Beinn Alder cottage and around, bikes in river crossing and muddy glens. Others were on the Munros and one ran back from Fort William to Corrour after getting the train to Fort William. Everyone had a great day in magic weather and all were in fine form. It was great to have a warm shower a great addition to the Hostel and with the fire on and no midges it was a great place to be.
A fair few went for a meal at the station restaurant and loved the venison,salmon and the service. I was tired and had some soup and toast I had still no appetite and had an early night. Just before I had my meal a group of Duke of Edinburgh Award kids came through from Dalwhinnie on their way to Fort William . It was a long 3 day walk for them and they camped at the Hostel being looked after by Jan the Warden, what a lassie. It soon was a tented base camp outside the Hostel as the kids from Creiff put up their tents and made their meals. It was great to see the effort by all and the instructors who followed them arriving and the kids out in the wild places after 2 hard days still smiling.
I left them all to it and relaxed and tried to get some sleep still not 100% but at least I managed a great hill with a huge name in a spectacular area and a rare new Corbett Meall na Meoig of Beinn Pharlagain!
Tomorrow would be an easy day as I was feeling it but what a place to be.