Munro bagging by train

Beinn na Lap (935m);

  • Pronunciation:              Bine na Lap
  • Translation:                   Dappled Hill
  • Total distance:              9km
  • Total time:                     3hrs 30mins
  • Total ascent:                  570m
  • Weather:                        Stunning, with bright sunshine all day through cloudless skies. Very little wind. Excellent clarity. Noticeably warmer.
  • Start / end location:   Corrour station on the West Highland Line: Fort William to Glasgow [OS Map Sheet 41 – Grid Ref: NN 355 664]
  • Map:                                A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

Self photo at the summit of Beinn na Lap

Corrour Station Youth Hostel from the station platform

Today we decided on a very easy day out with an ascent of Beinn na Lap, which lies adjacent to Corrour station on the beautiful West Highland Railway Line. The weather could not have been better with the sun shining bright through cloudless skies of deep azure blue.

Our journey began with us catching the 07:40 Glasgow bound train from Fort William. The train trip took us northeast passed the mighty Nevis Range followed by the Grey Corries en route to the stations at Spean Bridge and then Roy Bridge. After passing Tulloch Station it began to swing southward hugging the eastern hillside high above Loch Treig as it pressed onwards to begin the crossing of Rannoch Moor.

Looking back to the station with Leum Uilleim in the background

Shortly after leaving Loch Treig behind the train pulled into our stop at Corrour Station. We alighted along with a chap who brought his mountain bike and another couple who had obviously also come to the area to do some walking. Across the platform was the beautiful Corrour Station Youth Hostel, which consisted of a few rooms for accommodation, but more importantly a lovely café and restaurant. Apart from another youth hostel hut about 1.8km away to the east there were no other buildings around for many miles. This area can only be accessed by train or via a private estate track, the latter starting at the beginning of yesterday’s walk in the Ardverikie Estate. [The Ardverikie Estate lies adjacent to the Corrour Estate.]

Loch Ossian with the original Corrour youth hostel hut by the shoreline

All of us who alighted at the station set off in our respective directions to tackle our chosen objectives. We took to the estate track ENE towards the east end of Loch Ossian about 1.8km away, where just prior to reaching the older youth hostel hut we forked left and then left again to curve round the bottom off the WSW ridge of Beinn na Lap. [This must be one of the most scenic locations for a hostel in all of the Scotland.] About 300m from the second fork and where the path turns briefly northward we took to the open hillside and continued north to intersect the ridge from Beinn na Lap. We intersected the ridge at the 680m contour line where we turned right (ENE) and followed the ridge all the way to the summit, passing two rock-walled shelter enclosures en route.

Cameron high on the WSW ridge of Beinn na Lap

The views from the summit were quite simply magical with truly breathtaking 360° winter panoramas. All directions yielded awesome vistas but amongst these the view west through Glen Nevis stood out with Ben Nevis holding our gaze.

Elaine marching upwards with Nevis Range and Mamores in the background

After spending about 20 minutes on the summit admiring the weather and the location we wandered back down the ridge before turning left where we joined the ridge-line earlier and followed our ascent route back to join the estate path again. Shortly afterwards, at about 12:30 we were back at the Corrour railway platform. As the next train to Fort William wasn’t due until 15:20 we opted for some lunch at station hostel. I enjoyed a tasty venison burger and Elaine appreciated a lovely fish stew – washed down with a glass of wine. We followed this with us both having a delicious warm spiced plum sponge with ice cream. How civilized!

The other couple – Ruth and Ron – who had got off the train with us earlier in the day, soon joined us in the hostel café.

Elaine sitting at the Beinn na Lap summit cairn

They had just climbed the Corbett to the SW of the station and like us had a lovely outing. It was great talking to Ruth and Ron, who hailed from Cumbria, but who had done so much climbing in Scotland. They have only 40 Munros left to complete! For the last few years they had acted as volunteer wardens in the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) hut in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye.

All too soon it was time to move outside to wait on the platform for the homeward bound train.

For anyone in the Lochaber area on holiday I can highly recommend the train journey to Corrour, followed by a short walk in the area, of which there are plenty to choose from, and then a coffee or lunch at the platform hostelry.

Beinn na Lap summit cairn on heavily striated bedrock

Cameron enjoying the sun at Beinn na Lap summit

Ben Nevis is prominently the highest point on the horizon

Beinn na Lap summit cairn

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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2 Responses to Munro bagging by train

  1. Alasdair the Dad says:

    What a difference sunshine and blue skies make to your enjoyment and photos. How come it has taken so long to shine on the righteous?
    Some cracking pics but where is ‘Thomas’?

    • Cameron says:

      When the weather is bright and sunny, and the views are uninterrupted, it certainly makes for very pleasant walking – it would be nice to think that we might have turned a corner and that spring is on the way. One sign of the change in seasons is that we saw our first lamb this morning 🙂

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