Eleven club members made it to Loch Ossian Youth Hostel, despite some booking confusion and a train cancellation. The last time I had been there – longer ago than I care to admit – the water supply was from a bucket tied to a rope and thrown into the loch. The water supply still comes from the loch, but it is pumped and filtered … and there are hot showers and electricity from solar panels and hydro power. The modern luxuries of the Youth Hostel were more than matched by the delightful Station House Restaurant. That was the first port of call for most of the party once deposited by the train, although Mel and Michael enthusiastically strode off up Leum Uilliem whilst the more slothful of us sampled the spicy Thai soup and home baking. The late arrivals came on the London Sleeper which had been prevailed upon to stop at Tulloch because of the earlier train cancellation.
Saturday saw two parties tackling Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. Mel, Lisa and Michael set off early to try to beat a forecast of strong winds in the afternoon. A tardier group of Cerian, Robin, John and Arthur followed later with Robin, John and Arthur being seduced by the cloud clearing to carry on to Meal Na Meoig. The impecunious trio ran into the correctly forecast strong winds on the return. Marion and Peter went to explore the ruins of Lubnaclach via Peter’s Rock, the plaque on which commemorates the life of Peter Trowell, a former assistant warden at the Youth Hostel who died after the ice on the loch gave way in March 1979. Jim and Ewen walked up the loch to the new Corrour Lodge and then parted company to climb Beinn a Chumhainn and Meall Glas-uaine respectively.
Good hill days were had by all parties, but the highlight was our evening meal at the Station House Restaurant. A good meal, nice ambience and a sufficiency of red wine rounded off the day well. By good fortune we had turned up the day before the restaurant closed for the winter.
Sunday saw a party hurry up Leum Uilliem – above – to catch the wonderful panorama of the Central Highlands from its summit, before the afternoon train. Another party likewise hurried up the uninspiring slopes of Beinn na Lap, before meeting up at the station. Peter and Marion wisely had a more leisured day on Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre, before they and Michael spent another night at the hostel.
When can we go back again?