This walk is from November 2016. I went north to Spean Bridge to stay with Caroline. The forecast was looking OK, but not brilliant – cloudy but low wind speeds. I was wanting to get out again in preparation for my trip to Antarctica.
We agreed that we would go for Leum Uilleum, a Corbett above Corrour station on the West Highland line. Were it not for the railway, this would be a very inaccessible hill. From the station, the climb is straightforward. The main challenge can sometimes be in completing walks in time to catch a train back to “civilisation”.
Leum Uilleum is Gaelic for William’s Leap. Unfortunately, I do not know who William is nor why or from where he leapt.
We walked from Caroline’s house to Spean Bridge station to catch the first train south and took the 35 minute journey to Corrour. The last time I had been here had been in May with Ciaran when we had tackled Beinn na Lap.
Early snows had arrived. The sun was just rising as we reached the station.
Leum Uilleum was just across the way.
Well the forecast seemed to be wrong!
The ground between the slopes is one large bog. But today they were largely frozen. There is a path from the station that weaves its way over towards Leum Uilleum’s northern arm. This is shown on the OS map. There is also a vehicle track that runs up the northern arm coming in from further north, though we would not see this today because of the snow.
The views back towards the even more remote Ben Alder beyond Loch Ossian were stunning.
We reached the subsidiary top of Beinn a’Bhric from where there was a view along Loch Trieg.
But a bank of cloud came in. Perhaps the forecast was going to be right after all. It made for some atmospheric scenes.
And the phenomenon of Brocken Spectres.
It is a little over a kilometre between Beinn a’Bhric and Leum Uilleum. The cloud was not thick. Blue patches regularly appeared overhead. As we approached the summit, we emerged from the cloud.
From then on it was just one of those days that you dream of. The views were just stunning. To the west an inversion was forming. To the east stood iconic mountains such as Schiehallion.
And, again, Ben Alder.
But it was to the west that the eye was constantly drawn, best seen in this panorama showing the Mamores, Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, the Grey Corries and the Easains.
Ben Nevis panorama
Here is a closer view of Ben Nevis and the Aonachs.
And Buachaille Etive Mor.
And Bidean nam Bian, one of my favourite mountains.
The forecast was correct with its anticipated low wind speeds. So it was quite comfortable staying on the top as we ate, drank and continued watching the cloudscape and the peaks above it. On a couple of occasions thicker cloud came by and we were swamped by blue-white but it never lasted long.
Eventually, it was necessary to go. We were not under any particular time pressure, the train was not due for a while. But our bodies were becoming chilled.
The Spectres were still out!
And then we plunged back down into the cloud along the north east ridge. There was a path here too, not marked on the map that took us back across the bogs to the station.
During the summer months there is a café/restaurant at the station house. So unfortunately it was not available to us this day. But, as we were sitting in the waiting shelter on the platform, the warden of the Loch Ossian youth hostel came by. She offered us a cup of tea back at the hostel. We had the time to accept even though it involved a twenty minute each way walk down to the hostel. I had never been in before and the cup of tea was very welcome!