Setting out from the middle of nowhere

An early morning view towards Ben Nevis from Corpach at the start of a perfect day.

Looking at the 1;50,000 scale Ordnance Survey Map, the red circle symbol, one building, and a track together with a couple of paths, one of which peters out after a mile best depicts the location of Corrour Station in the Scottish Highlands. Why build a railway station here? It must be one of the remotest stations in the British Isles and yet this is where I am heading on a ‘one-way’ ticket so it’s going to be a long walk out.

I need a fine day and I don’t have to wait long for one of those perfect still summer morning. It is an early start as I make my way down to Corpach Station near Fort William and I have arranged for my son to collect me at the end of the day at the tiny hamlet of Fersit which lies at the nearest road head.

The first train of the day arrives at Corpach.

I’m going to board the first train of the day which passes through Corpach and will alight at Corrour Station, a place that has fascinated me for many years and now I have the chance of visiting this remotest of places.

What a glorious morning it is as I wait for the train with deep blue sky and the outline of Ben Nevis being mirrored in Loch Eil. A few wisps of cloud hang around an otherwise clear Ben Nevis.

Boarding the train I take my seat and ask for a one way ticket to Corrour Station. Bearing in mind that this is the most isolated railway station in Britain and has no roads to it, the conductor asks how I am getting back. I have to explain that I am walking and will get a lift at the nearest road head at the end of the day.

At Fort William, an Australian tourist joins me, called Roger, we shake hands then engage in conversation about his travels. He reminds me of the character in Crocodile Dundee except he doesn’t have the hat. After a very scenic journey the conductor tells those disembarking at Corrour Station to move to the back of the train as the platform is short. Five of us get off and the train disappears into the distance.

Corrour Station, the remotest railway station in the British Isles. No road leads from this station. I have just alighted from the train to set off on my long walk back to civilisation. It’s like being in the Australian outback.

Here I am, early on a bright summer morning in the middle of nowhere. Just a station house, signal box and a wind pump and hundreds of square miles of empty moor and mountain. It is like being in the Australian outback and once the train has disappeared down the line it is just pure silence.

The railway sign at Corrour Summit. Its the only feature for miles around.

The other people head off eastwards and I decide to explore the station area before setting off alone northwards on a peaty path. It is just pure magical silence with only the occasional bird song. Heading north towards Loch Treig I soon stop to photograph the railway summit sign then press on along the path. In the distance, path improvements are being made to the east and a mechanical digger is working. I head on down to Loch Treig then along the lonely southern shore of the loch. The water is well down by at least twenty feet so the water line doesn’t correspond with my map. To reach Creaguaineach Lodge I have to cross three wooded bridges, high above streams with no sides on and loose planks so I cross each one with care.

A perfectly still morning for my walk down to Loch Treig which today is like a mirror.

One of several wooden bridges over ravines with no sides I have to cross and there are a few loose planks!

A sign warning that you are in very remote countryside.

Heading towards Creaguaineach Lodge on a good track.

Creaguaineach Lodge set among a small stand of pine trees. An oasis in a otherwise empty landscape.

Creaguaneach Lodge is in a good state of repair but is boarded up. It is a pleasant sunny spot but there seems to be so many dead sheep around. I press on a bit further and find a good grassy spot for my morning break. A good wooden footbridge spans the Allt na Lairige but the path marked along the north eastern bank doesn’t exist. It is now a mile of slow walking on a hill side before I turn right to start my ascent of Stob Coire Easain, the first Munro of the day. The ascent is steep in parts but grassy and I gain height quickly before the ridge levels off a bit and I get a view towards the summit. Higher up I spot a herd of deer before I cross rockier ground. It is a fine ascent on the last part as the ground drops away on either side and with views to the Grey Corries and Ben Nevis beyond.

My lunch stop on Stob coire Easain with a view towards my next summit Stob a Choire Mheadhoin.

The large cairn is perched at the end of the ridge and the ground abruptly falls away towards Loch Treig. It is a good spot for lunch and the summit cairn gives just enough shelter from the cool breeze. By now it has largely clouded up and I am glad that I had done most of the climb under cloudy skies rather than under a hot sun. I have a leisurely lunch and survey the views all round from my lofty perch. Two people briefly appear on neighbouring Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin to the north east. This is my next objective and setting off I have a steep descent down a scree covered slope but there is a path, then a easier ascent to the summit of Stob a Choire Mheadhoin, the second Munro of the day. It takes me thirty five minutes to get from one Munro to the next which I was pleased with.

The route down from Stob a Choire Mheadhoin and initially an easy path.

I pause overlooking Loch Treig before heading north on a good path. I made good progress on the path north to Meall Cian Dearg and pass a walker on the way. We chat awhile and in the conversation he is going to camp in Lairg Leacach, a valley to the west. He seems to have a very heavy pack and is moving quite slowly. As for the profile Meall Cian Dearg I had studied from the train on the journey earlier and the way off seemed quite steep. I had intended to descend from the eastern side but the path keeps on ahead to the spur then drops off very steeply down almost a rock face. It is a case of being on all fours to avoid a slip as there are cliffs and big drops. Safely down I continue on the path until it abruptly stops. I phone my son with my estimated time of arrival at Fersit but then I soon lose time getting down the latter part. With the vegetation being deep and several rocky slopes, I pick my way down steep rocky slopes. I feel it would have helped to stay on higher ground longer but I am too far down now to return. It is a frustrating end to the walk as it takes much longer to gain the track below as there were so many obstacles. Once on the track it is just a mile of easy walking. My son is waiting for me at the end in his car.
It has been an excellent walk but a bit frustrating at the end but another two Munro’s under my belt.