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Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg from Beinn na Lap
Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg from Beinn na Lap
Country: Scotland.
Location: Loch Ossian.
Accommodation: Loch Ossian Youth Hostel and Corrour Bunkhouse.
Transport: The West Highland Railway has a station (Corrour Halt) nearby.
Maps: Landranger Map 0041: Ben Nevis, Fort William & Glen Coe and Landranger Map 0042: Glen Garry & Loch Rannoch
Trip Date: 17 June 1993
Also See:
Carn Dearg - Sgor Gaibhre by Paul Kennedy
Introduction

Squeezed between Loch Lossian and Loch Ericht are the fine hills of Sgor Gaibhre ("goat's peak", 955m) and Carn Dearg ("red hill", 941m). To the north, they present mostly smooth slopes and easy access. A more dramatic profile is shown to the east where steeper inclines rise up from the Lochan a'Bhealaich to Sgor Gaibhre. The two peaks form a distorted H shape with the Mam Ban col forming the crossbar. The open corries between them are the gathering grounds of some of the largest herds of red deer in Scotland. If you stay in the Loch Ossian youth hostel then you may be visited by a couple of stags that sometimes even wander into the building.

In the photo above, Sgor Gaibhre is the fine taller pointed peak to the left of center while Carn Dearg is the more spread out hill on the right (with the patch of snow). The pointed peak on the horizon between the two Munros is Schiehallion (of course). Sgorr Choinnich (a Top of 927m) is the nicely rounded hill to the left of Sgor Gaibhre. Poking out on the bottom left of the photo are the blue waters of Loch Ossian.

You can bag these peaks (and Sgorr Choinnich) in a long day out from Corrour Halt on the West Highland Railway. There is a total distance of 22 kilometres covered in this loop but 7 kilometres of that is on the excellent, level track to the south of Loch Lossian and the terrain is easily traversed.

Route

From Corrour Halt, head along the track ENE past the youth hostel (less than 2 quick kilometres from the station) and along the south shore of Loch Ossian. The forest above the loch prevents a direct line to Sgor Gaibhre and so you have to follow the track to the group of cottages at the east end of the loch. Cross the bridge over the loch's outlet (River Ossian) and immediately take a path to the NE. This returns over the river on a wooden footbridge and passes to the west of a small copse to reach open ground. Head SE for an easy climb over grassy slopes to the knoll of Meall Nathrach Mor. A short drop leads to even gentler angles on the ascent to Sgorr Choinnich.

Drop south from the Top for 120m to a distinctive bealach. In mist, it is easy to head too far west and end up in the stream draining the bealach but there are no problems following the stream back up to the col. A path from the col leads up a broad steepening ridge to wind through some small crags and onto Sgor Gaibhre. You should arrive in about 4 hours from the station - just in time for a nice long lunch break. On a clear day there is an outstanding view of Ben Alder and Loch Ericht. I found myself in more typical misty weather but managed to get some good views by walking further south until I was out from under the clouds.

Leave the summit by gentle slopes of heather and grass to the WSW and descend to the wide col of Mam Ban. Thread your way through the (hopefully dry) peat hags and ascend the rockier gradients on the other side. A climb of 220 metres reaches the large cairn on the summit of Carn Dearg. The cairn provides a little bit of shelter from the wind. The entire expanse of Rannoch Moor lies to the south with the sun gleaming on its numerous lochs. Directly north the glacial trench of Strath Ossian is very noticeable while the day's end at Corrour Halt can be seen to the west.

The north-west ridge from Carn Dearg gives a kindly descent to the head of an open corrie. A direct route can be taken into the corrie and down for 2.5 kilometres to a path known as The Road to the Isles. If you want to keep up high for a while longer then follow the broad ridge west above the corrie to meet the path about a kilometre further south. The well-formed path heads north to a junction where we take the west fork to the youth hostel and railway station.


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