The highest and most remote railway in the UK
We fell asleep to high rise buildings and civilisation and woke to see Scotland rising out of the morning mist as the Caledonian Sleeper meandered through the remote Highlands toward Fort William. We had already booked our first night’s accommodation at the Hostel on the shores of Loch Ossian which was a short walk from the station at Corrour. What we didn’t realise was that Corrour was a request stop. Imagine that….having to ask the guard to stop the train. Not something that I have experienced before but easily achieved by speaking to the staff and the guard who laughed at our confusion. “We’ve come from Euston,” we explained. And that, for the guard explained everything. Innocent travellers!
Corrour’s claim to fame is that it is the UK’s highest mainland railway station and it is also one of the most remote. There are no roads to the station and it looks a very bleak and desolate place to end up on a chilly Thursday morning! After leaving our gear in a shed at the hostel, we started walking. Our aim today was to conquer two of Scotland’s Munros and loop back round to the hostel for the evening.
I didn’t thankfully have to carry my pack today and it was just as well. Recovering from a respiratory infection, and not feeling that fit, I was exhausted from the moment we started walking.
Some of the paths are wide, easy tracks and are easy to follow but we needed to leave the path at the memorial for Peter, a man who drowned in Loch Ossian. But we never found the stone so walked a long way along the path before heading up over the heather strewn hills.
Bagging a couple of Munros
It was tough under foot, the soft ground giving on each footstep making the hiking hard work and it was hours upon hour of walking before we reached our first Munro Summit, Carn Dearg (941m). Long, easy descents followed by the next ascent found us at summit no 2: Sgor Gaibhre at 955 m
Ok, a confession here…I didn’t know what a Munro was before I came – turns out it is a separate Scottish peak that is 3000ft/1000m or more. Apparently this is a fun challenge for walkers who try to bag all 283 of them. A guy in the hostel had already done 250 so I was obviously an innocent novice and only had 281 left to go. (Or not! It’s a lovely idea, being that dedicated to completing that challenge but somehow, I don’t think it is for me.)
Back at the hostel, we decided to skip the dehydrated food that we were carrying and ate at the restaurant at Corrour Station. It has a limited menu but it is clean and very friendly and made a great end to our day. I fell gratefully into bed in the girls’ dorm and did not reappear until breakfast.