WITH a starting point at a little more than 1,300ft above sea level, Beinn na Lap is one of the easiest Munros to ascend – you can do it in a morning or afternoon. However, that does not convey the stunning, remote landscape you are walking through.
The isolation is heightened by the fact that only estate tracks lead to the start at Corrour, so for walkers a train has to be taken. This journey in itself is a treat as the wild expanses of remote Highland scenery you pass are worth the ticket price alone.
Once you set off on foot from the station the moorland birdsong is the only sound, except perhaps the fading clackety-clack of the train. Then, as height is gained above Loch Ossian, the view of the windswept, empty land is reminiscent of Sutherland. Below Beinn na Lap miles and miles of peat bog are dotted with tiny lochans which, if the weather is bright, shine like jewels.
Further up, the rocks near the summit give some clue you are above 3,000 feet but the comparative lack of exertion means you would be forgiven for doubting the accuracy of the height measurement.
The views extend across the central Highlands taking in the huge ranges of Ben Nevis and Ben Alder as well as a host of peaks. Take your time to enjoy these before dropping back down.
DISTANCE 6∫ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 1,850ft.
TIME 3∫ to 4∫ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 41.
PARK You can’t access the start of the walk by car. Take the train to Corrour – from the south Crianlarich is a good point to start to allow time to enjoy the views of the empty, mountainous country. From the north starting at Fort William is a good idea. Make sure you check times for the return, unless staying at the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel.
IN SUMMARY Leave the station and walk past the Corrour Station House Restaurant to follow a track with a sign for the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel. After just less than a mile, before you reach the hostel on the edge of the loch, follow the track to the left. Then, just after crossing a wooden bridge, take a track on the left. A little further on, at a left-hand bend, go right to leave the track and follow a boggy path.
The path goes straight up the side of the mountain. As the gradient increases this section is something of a slog so take plenty of time to look back at views of Loch Ossian. As the path reaches the long broad ridge of Beinn na Lap it bears right then continues past stone shelters and a small lochan to the summit cairn.
For most it is best to return the same way but you can continue in a north east direction then, after leaving the ridge, east to return via Strath Ossian to the loch.
NOTE The path is indistinct near the summit and great care should be taken in mist.
REFRESH The Corrour Station House Restaurant serves great food but you need to check in advance if it is open. www.corrour-station-house-restaurant.co.uk
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Other than whiling away an hour or two in the restaurant next to the station, enjoying the scenery is the order of the day. If you have the energy, and the time before the train (allow up to four and a half hours), a circuit of Loch Ossian is a great way to keep the legs going.