YOU know you are up early when the train you catch is the sleeper service still making its way north to Fort William from London.
But to reach Corrour, the only way is by train or foot (15 miles minimum) as there is no public road to this windswept place deep in the Highlands.
As the train rattled along, the beauty of the country was apparent: mountains loomed above lacy, dew-laden cobwebs hanging to the heather and grasses next to bog cotton defiantly waving white flags before the onset of cold weather – you can see where Beatrix Potter got her ideas about handkerchiefs etc.
Once at Corrour, the train left and the moorland and mountains were the only company – even the restaurant was closed for the day. The solitude only served to increase the impact of this area’s landscape and, with nine miles ahead, I happily strode out with the birds and deer sharing the loch, nestled below the peaks.
DISTANCE 9 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 330ft.
TIME 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 41 and 42.
Crianlarich is a good starting point from the south as you get good views. From the north, Fort William is probably the obvious place. Make sure you check the time of the return train unless you are spending the night at the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel.
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. Just after crossing a wooden bridge keep right to stay on the main track which follows the north side of the loch.
Two cattle grids (used to stop deer) indicate you are entering forestry but the proximity of the track to the loch means views across the water are retained for much of the way. About half a mile after a third cattle grid the end of the loch is reached.
At a junction of tracks go right to pass a large rock commemorating Sir John Stirling Maxwell, who pioneered forestry techniques in Scotland and developed the Corrour Estate at the end of the 19th century.
The track leads behind Corrour’s modern-looking lodge and then crosses a bridge over the loch’s outflow. At a fork keep right to begin the return.
Ignore a couple of turnings left a short distance further on and follow the track round to the right. After going past a wooden house go straight on, ignoring another turning to the left. The track then leads all the way back down the loch.
Once near the youth hostel go straight ahead at two junctions and at a third keep straight on to retrace your steps along the final section back to the station.
The Corrour Station House runs a fully functioning restaurant with an emphasis on local food.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA
There is not a lot other than the superb scenery. Try a trip up Beinn na Lap if your legs are strong enough, or spend an enjoyable hour or two at the restaurant (www.corrour-station-house-restaurant.co.uk) next to the station. (Note that from November it closes for winter with the exception of Christmas meals at weekends in December if a reservation is made.)