Walk up Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain from Loch Ossian
|26.55 km||836 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
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Walk up Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain from Loch Ossian Route Map and GPX DownloadDownload file for GPS
Summits and Places on this Route
Walk up Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain from Loch Ossian Details
The Munros of Chno Dearg and Stob Coire Sgriodain are more often ascended from Fersaid/Fersit to the north, but the approach from Corrour is much more epic!
Some walks are easy.
Others are tiring.
Not many get that Epic label, and this was one of them. One of the hardest mountain days I’ve had. In perfect conditions this wasn’t going to be easy. In knee deep snow, I’d bitten off more than I could chew. All I can say is thank god for Jelly Babies.
|Route Start||Loch Ossian YH||OS Map Required||Public Transport||Train only|
|Route End||Loch Ossian YH||Difficulties?||Distance||Facilities||Cafe in station and YH.|
I awoke to a dusting of snow, this bodes well for the walk I foolishly thought. A few cms at 400m would mean a lot more at 1000m, and I found out the hard way. It was even snowing heavily (as heavy as I’ve seen in many a year but that means nothing) when I started off on the ‘Motorway’ to the Isles. This, so you know, is the new Corrour estate road that’s been built over the old drover’s track Road to the Isles. Some sections of old track are visible, but a bit boggy. The estate road at least lets you plod on without worrying about going chest strap deep in mire.
Follow this for a few km, until the track crossess beneath the railway line. There’s a large bridge here – suitable for landrovers, cross this and head directly uphill towards what’s marked on the map as Bealach an Easain Duibh (strange name for a ridge). It starts off boggy (no surprise there), but soon becomes more heathery and even the luxury of rock underfoot. The ridge is eventually reached after a couple of false summits, not the first of the day.
Snow was pretty deep on top, but being not much higher than 600m was tolearable. Again the main obstacle was snow covered bogs with the impression that the ones the snow concealed here were real boot stealers. The ridge is pretty complex, undulating over many small tops as far as Garbh-bheinn (not a listed top, and one that even the Nuttalls would frown at) where the going got serious, and worse as Meall Garbh (Munro top perhaps?) was ascended.
The snow slopes got steeper and the snow deeper, but it made no difference when the clouds opened and i could see across to the Easains. They looked pretty serious in these conditions, with their summits sporting more than just a sprinking and plenty of cornices for good measure.
The cloud closed in again at this point, and the compass was needed in near white out conditions. In summer, Stob Coire Sgriodain is an easy detour. Today it was out of reach. I even looked down at the Lochan Coire an Lochain and contemplated that as an escape to Tulloch. Thankfully, i continued, but not before starting off in the wrong direction. The ridge of Sron Ruadh descending from Chno Dearg appeared to be the route up, but the Coire nan Cnamh is a deadly obstacle preventing this route. It would be easy for the unprepared to have taken this tack and died in that corrie by falling through a cornice.
Fortunately for me, a trust in the compass and a bearing took me, after much slogging through snow, and mulling over exactly what did constitute a slope that was an avalanche risk, straight to the summit of Chno Dearg. Like a cliche, the clouds that had caused such problems earlier were now gone and hills I can’t name yet lay in all directions. I was prevented from full enjoyment as i knew i yet had to make it to the estate road and didn’t know if it would be bog hopping all the way. To follow that i had the long hard slog back on the estate road.
Taking a bearing, I headed away from the ridge of Meall Dhearcaig as there were steep slopes in the direct line. The route i took (see map) was steep enough, alternating between hard windslab and knee deep drift. I was consoled by the fact that if I did slip, it would only be for a short while then i’d vanish into a bank of soft snow.
Another worry was small lochans covered in snow. Looking at the map, i’m now certain that they were buried and that i passed near one. I’d kept to the higher, rocky ground specifically to avoid this hazard. The route down was, after all, straightforward. It was rough, with a lot of heather. It was also wet, but nothing that threatened to get my feet wet.
The greasy snow was the biggest hazard. I’d had enough by the last patch and slid down on my arse, without first thinking how to stop. I helter-skeltered around some patches of heather and luckily came to rest on some wet grass at the slope’s base. I think that i was celebrating as the road was now painfully close, and it was. In a matter of minutes i was walking on the hard estate road. Serious looking clouds were now encircling the summit i’d occupied not an hour earlier and despite the two and a half hours that were ahead of me, I was glad to be down.
The walk through Strath Ossian was a highlight of the return, but the road along Loch Ossian saw me too exhausted to care about the view and only about the food that awaited me at the hostel. I’d planned to walk to the restaurant at the Corrour Station House, but even that had been too much to think about.
The Station House has now closed but has reopened as the Corrour Station House