A Munro by Train and the Midge Attack

A 10 minute train journey across the wilds of Rannoch Moor soon had us alighting at Corrour.

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Corrour Station is the highest railway station in the UK, has not public road access and featured in the film “Trainspotting”. It’s also a starting point for a number of munros (some easy, some more demanding).

This weekend, a group of 4 of us headed to Corrour to tackle Beinn Na Lapp, the easiest munro in the area.

Our day out started with a long drive along to Rannoch Station at the end of the road on the edge of Rannoch Moor. We were in plenty of time for the train so were able to indulge ourselves at the Rannoch Station Tea Room whilst waiting. And what a tea room it is. I can’t praise this place enough, home baking, friendly service and coffee made/served in a cafetiere.

A 10 minute train journey across the wilds of Rannoch Moor soon had us alighting at Corrour. The platform being so short that you have to get off in the middle of the train. Arrival at this station always has a strange feel about it, apart from the Station House (more later) there is nothing here – a station in the middle of Scotland’s largest moor!

A good landrover track took us from the station to the foot of the hill where we found a rough ATV type track heading up the first and steepest part of the hill. The track became a well worn path as it climbed higher and then leveled off a bit to head along the ridge line to reach the summit. It was a very busy summit with what looked to be a large final munro group. Within our group it was actually a first munro for one member and a fourth munro for another. I was the only one who had done it before, it being my third time on the summit!

Although the weather forecast had been for raining approaching from the South, so far it had been pretty much dry with just a short light shower on the way up. The cloud was low though so views came and went with breaks in the cloud.

After lunch and the obligatory summit photos, we left the crowds behind and headed in an easterly direction off the summit. The descent route was quite rough and steep in places but we easily threaded our way through crags albeit a bit slower than planned. A path/track through trees shown on Open Cycle map (but not OS maps) had been our original target for the descent. However as time was marching on and we wanted to be back for the train in time to check out the Station House, we adopted Plan B and headed for a firebreak. Fortunately, the trees were nothing like those on Ben A’an a few weeks ago and we were able to easily walk through the fire break to reach the lochside track.

Due to time constraints we had to head back the direct way rather than walk around the loch. The walk back seemed quite a trudge on the hard surface of the landrover track but eventually we made it to the Station House Restaurant. Although busy, we were not disappointed and were allowed to sit at the only free table which was actually reserved for someone arriving off the train from Fort William.

Well fortified we stepped out of the door to cross the railway line to the platform and that’s when the misery started. The midges were out in force. What can I say? If you’ve never experienced the Scottish Midgie then really, there are no words to described the misery that they cause. If you have experienced them, then you will know exactly what I mean. 10 minutes waiting on the platform was torture, for us and lots of other people. Midge head nets, scarves, balaclavas etc were out in force as people tried to cover themselves up from the dreaded beasts. We must have looked like a bunch of bank robbers on the station platform for the approaching train driver! Amazing they stopped and let us on! Of course when the train doors opened, the midgies followed us onto the train. Wonder if any of them completed the journey all the way down to Glasgow!

We hopped off the train at Rannoch into another cloud of midges which seemed even worse than the Corrour ones. Even changing boots for shoes was misery as they bit our feet! However, we didn’t let them spoil what was a wonderful day out in a very special area and with better weather than we were expecting.

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