Corrour Station and Loch Ossian

15 October 2014

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In 1996, while staying in Glencoe for a skiing holiday, I fell in love with the magic of Rannoch Moor and dreamed of penetrating this ice age wilderness deeper.  Having stayed at Loch Rannoch, Corrour Station and Loch Ossian became my dream, 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 Rannoch Moor. In October, we took advantage of the Club 55 offers of Scottish Rail to go for a day trip to Loch Ossian to savour not only its remote wilderness but also the exquisite autumn colours.

Early morning, Graham, John and me drove to Arrochar to catch the train to Corrour Station, the highest station on the Scottish Rail network.  It was rather cold and overcast, but the weather-forecast promised sunny spells for most of the day.  The train rattled along the well known route along the shores of Loch Lomond, the mountains around Crianlarich and Tyndrum to Loch Tulla.  How different the views from the train are!  Once past Loch Tulla, the  train took us into wilderness of Rannoch Moor towards Rannoch Station and Corrour, our destination for the day.

At Corrour, the train left and the moorland and mountains were our only company – even the restaurant was closed for the day!  The solitude only served to increase the impact of this area’s landscape and anxious to reach Loch Ossian, we headed along the signposted track.  It runs fairly level, through a landscape of heather and boggy pools, before dropping down towards Loch Ossian and the hostel.  Although still very cloudy, the first view of Loch Ossian, nestled below the peaks, fulfilled all my expectations.

Just when reaching the loch, the cloud cover broke up, the sun broke through and revealed the blue loch, surrounded by mountains and forests and dotted with pine covered islands, in all its autumn splendour.   Taking relentless pictures, but never quite managing to capture the unforgettable light and autumn colours, we continued along the shores of Loch Ossian till it was time to head back.

While enjoying a late lunch on one of the benches at the closed hostel, Graham and me vowed to come back and stay at the hostel on the shores of Loch Ossian to savour to the full the solitude and remoteness of this picture-perfect loch deep in Rannoch Moor.  As the sun went down, the cloud cover closed in again and with it came the cold and the time to retrace our steps.  While heading back to Corrour Station, we continued to look back and try to capture the magic of Loch Ossian till it finally disappeared out of view.