Tuesday 26 April 2011

Easter Backpack 2011 - Index

Over the Easter weekend, I spent a 4 excellent days backpacking in the central highlands between Rannoch and Corrour stations taking in 6 Munros, a Munro Top, a Corbett and a Corbett Top.  The weather was generally reasonable, although it was a bit misty at times on some of the hills, and I had three good wild camps, including a high pitch on the south ridge of Stob Coire Easain on my last night.

This post is an index on my blog posts on the trip, which I have updated to include maps of our routes, and there's also a link to my photos.
  • Day 1 - Rannoch Station to Lochan Sron Smeur
  • Day 2 - Lochan Sron Smeur to Allt Feith Thuill
  • Day 3 - Allt Feith Thuill to South Ridge of Stob Coire Easain
  • Day 4 - South Ridge of Stob Coire Easain to Corrour Station

Monday 25 April 2011

Easter 2011 - Day 4: South Ridge of Stob Coire Easain to Corrour Station

Distance: 9.5km; Ascent: 250m; Solo

It was overcast, but dry when I woke up, with all the tops out of the cloud.  I set off walking soon after 8am and descended the steep ground down to the Allt na Lairige.  I followed close to the east bank of this river, past waterfalls, down to Loch Treig.

After crossing the bridge at Creaguaineach Lodge, it was easy walking along tracks alongside Loch Treig and then across the moorland to Corrour Station.  I arrived at the station at 11:30am, with a whole hour to spare before the train.  The SYHA hostel here was open for lunch so I had haggis, neeps and taties; a change from the dehydrated food I had had the past few days.

All in all, it was a very good backpack.  The weather could have been better, but it really wasn't too bad; the worst was on Saturday morning.  I had managed to climb all the Munros and Corbetts that I had planned to do, even if I was a bit tired at the end of it!

Sunday 24 April 2011

Easter 2011 - Day 3: Allt Feith Thuill to South Ridge of Stob Coire Easain

Distance: 22km; Ascent: 1750m; Solo

I set off walking at around 8:30am; it was dry and all the tops I could see were out of the cloud. As I followed the Allt Feith Thuill upstream it became warm and sunny, but this was not to last.  The path deterioted after it crossed the stream so I opted to head directly up the SE ridge of Chno Dearg, which was hard going and steep in places. However once I reached the ridge it was pleasant enough.

As I ascended the ridge, the cloud enveloped the summit of Chno Dearg and I was to remain in the cloud until I was almost at Fersit. I reached the summit of Chno Dearg (Munro) at around 10:30.  Due to the long day I had planned, I decided to skirt the top of Meall Garbh and then headed NW to Stob Coire Sgriodain. There were many tops and knowls on this ridge, which was quite confusing in the mist, but I made sure that I visited the south top of Stob Coire Sgriodain (Munro Top).

Eventually, I reached the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain (Munro) soon after midday, where I had lunch. Soon a couple of walkers appeared; only the 2nd and 3rd hill walkers I had seen so far on my backpack.  I descended down to Fersit, which I reached at 2:30pm. After a rest and a quick call to Lynsey it was time to continue. The route I took up onto Creag Fhiaclach was hardgoing over steep heather, but once I reached the ridge the going was easier with views down to Loch Treig.

After the scrambly section up Meall Cian Dearg, the ridge seemed to go on forever but eventually I arrived at the misty summit of Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin (Munro) at 6:30pm.  After plenty of food, I continued on to the summit of Stob Coire Easain (Munro), which I reached at around 7:15pm as the cloud began to clear.

By now, it was clear that I definitely wasn't going to make it to my planned campsite by Loch Treig this evening so as I descended the north ridge of Stob Coire Easain, I was on the lookout for a small stream and somewhere to camp.  Eventually, I found some running water and a flattish area to camp at 750m, so I stopped there for the night.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Easter 2011 - Day 2: Lochan Sron Smeur to Allt Feith Thuill

Distance: 20.5km; Ascent: 1130m; Solo

I woke to heavy rain at 6am, so went back to sleep. It was still raining at 8am, so given it was forecast to improve during the day, I opted for a leisurely morning drinking tea and reading Dara O'Briain's book.

I finally set off walking at around 10:30am, by which time the rain was much lighter. I soon entered the cloud as I ascended Beinn Pharlagain. This hill has many tops and knowls so it was quite confusing in the mist. However I made sure I visited the south top of Beinn Pharlagain (Corbett Top) and I eventually reached the highest point of Beinn Pharlagain, Meall na Meoig (Corbett), shortly after 1pm. By now the rain had become quite heavy so I didn't stop long.

After about half an hour the rain stopped, so I stopped for lunch whilst it was dry. As I was eating, the cloud started to clear and I got a good view of Loch Ericht. By the time I had finished my lunch, the cloud had lifted above many of the hills, including Sgor Gaibhre.

I pushed on to the summit of Sgor Gaibhre (Munro), which I reached just after 3pm. By now the sun was out and the views were excellent in every direction. I could pick out tomorrow's hills to the north and there was a good view east to Ben Alder and Loch Ericht. As time was getting on, I opted not to detour to the top of Sgor Choinnich so instead headed directly for the summit of Carn Dearg (Munro), which I reached at 4:45pm.

After a rest to admire the views, I headed down to Corrour Shooting Lodge and picked up the vehicle track north through Strath Ossian. I found a good spot to camp by the Allt Feith Thuill just upstream from the bridge so I stopped here for the night.

Distance: 21km, Ascent: 1000m

Friday 22 April 2011

Easter 2011 - Day 1: Rannoch Station to Lochan Sron Smeur

Distance: 6.5km, Ascent: 260m

I caught a train from Stockport shortly before 7am and was in Glasgow for mid-morning. After a brief trip to buy gas and other supplies, followed by a well needed coffee, I headed over to Queen St for the train to Rannoch. I was glad I had arrived at the station 20 minutes early as I doubt I would have got a seat on the train had I been much later!

After doing a spot of repacking, I set off from Rannoch station shortly after 3:30pm. I headed east along the road for 2.5km before picking up the Road to the Isles track towards Corrour. It was quite hot and sunny but very, very hazy. I climbed Meall na Mucarach before reaching the summit of Sron Smeur (Marilyn) at around 5:30pm. I had a long rest on the summit, whilst admiring the views of the neighbouring hills.

The north slopes of Sron Smeur were quite steep and craggy in places, so it took longer than expected to reach Lochan Sron Smeur. The eastern shore appeared to be an ideal campsite, with short flat grass and a sandy beach so I opted to stop here for the night.

Rannoch to Corrour Backpack Plan

Overall Distance: 60.5km, Overall Ascent: 3690m

See route in new window with live progress
(Backup link without live progress)
As I unexpectetly was able to head off for a backpacking trip for Easter, I've choosen a 3-day walk from Rannoch Station to Corrour Station, via 6 Munros, a Corbett and a Graham.  I plan to set off from Rannoch Station at approx 3pm this afternoon and aim to catch the train back from Corrour at lunchtime on Monday.  If all goes to plan, you should be able to follow my progress using the link above.