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Beinn na Lap from Meall Garbh
Beinn na Lap from Meall Garbh
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
Trip Date: 14 June 1993
Introduction

The West Highland Railway Line winds its way up from Rannoch Moor to its highest point at Corrour Halt (400m) and a view of the featureless whaleback of Beinn na Lap ("mottled? hill" (lap means a defective spot in a colour), 937m). This gives remarkably easy access to this Munro with only 540 metres climbed in the 2 hour ascent to the top.

Beinn na Lap is not an impressive hill and its easy access hardly fills a day. So why climb it? The answer is views, views and more views! Read on for a description of the vistas and a couple of photos.

Accommodation is limited to the Corrour Bunkhouse at the station and the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel both of which can get full easily. I actually camped out in the heather for a couple of days (ask the YH warden where the best site is) before spending a night at the youth hostel. If you are lucky, the youth hostel stags will come in for a visit - these are a couple of wild stags that sometimes visit the warden. I was fortunate enough to meet them as I was walking to the station in the early morning.

Route

This route differs slightly from that given in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Hillwalkers Guide, Volume One - "The Munros". It joins the ridge up to the summit a little earlier to lessen the already easy gradient.

From the station, head down the landrover track towards Loch Ossian. A fork is reached after 1.25 kilometres - the youth hostel is another 500 metres to the right. However our path takes the left fork which heads towards the loch's northern shore. In about 100 metres take a clear path that departs to the NW (back towards the railway). Follow this until you feel happy with the slope up to the ridge to your right (500 to 700 metres should be enough) and head north through dwarf vegetation and over easy slopes to the ridge crest. This ridge is followed ENE up to the summit of Beinn na Lap. This is just past a rocky outcrop and a tiny tarn on the ridge.

Ben and Glen Nevis
Ben and Glen Nevis

The views are stupendous. The summit is just high enough to clear the lower hills and expose the further expanses. The highlight is the bulk of Ben Nevis looming to the west over the cleft of Glen Nevis. The Bens lower slopes are hidden by Aonach Beag ("little hill", 1234m) and Aonach Mor ("big hill", 1221m) with the Grey Corries ridge undulating towards you. Closer at hand is the high ridge of Stob Coire Easain ("peak of the corrie of the little waterfall", 1116m) and Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin ("peak of the middle corrie", 1106m) on the far side of Loch Treig (hidden by the nearby Garbh-bheinn ridge).

On the other side of Glen Nevis is the lower but just as massive Mamore ridge containing no less than 10 (11 before the 1997 revision) Munros (see the Eastern, Western and Central Mamore Ridge routes). A little further south are the Glen Coe hills with the jagged ridge of Aonach Eagach prominent and the bulk of Bidean nan Bian (1150m) just visible over the ridge.

To the north are the triple peaks of Stob Coire Sgriodain ("peak of the corrie of the scree", 976m), Meall Garbh (not a Munro but a nice Top at 977m) and Chno Dearg ("red hill", 1047m). More Munros lurk on the horizon to the right of these peaks - the magnificent Creag Meagaidh ("bogland rock", 1130m) and its guardian summits.

Further to the right (north-eastwards), we come to the three Munros between us and Loch Laggan - Beinn a'Chlachair ("stonemason's hill", 1088m), Geal Charn ("white hill", 1049m) and the smaller hidden Creag Pitridh (924m). Even more Munros lie directly to the east:
Beinn Eibhinn ("delightful hill", 1100m) and Aonach Beag ("little hill", 1114m) are the first two peaks on the northern side of the eerie glen of the Uisage Labhair stream.
The broad summit of Geal-Charn ("white hill", 1132m) at the head of the glen conceals the lower peak of Carn Dearg ("red hill", 1034m) sited further away on its east ridge.
We don't see the best side of Ben Alder ("from the Alder Burn, which may be from the Gaelic alldhobhar meaning rock water", 1148m) from here. The broad flat slopes that we see rising up to an enormous plateau, end in magnificent cliffs and corries pointing to the east.

Ben Alder and Loch Lossian
Ben Alder (the flat-topped mountain on the left) and Loch Lossian. On the right is the pointed peak of Sgor Gaibhre.

Across Loch Ossian, the pointed peak of Sgor Gaibhre and the more rounded hill of Carn Dearg provide inspiration for another days walking from the youth hostel. Poking up behind them on the horizon is a familiar triangular peak - Schiehallion ("the fairy hill of the Caledonians", 1083m).

Lastly, different scenery stretches to the south-west where the flat green bogs of Rannoch Moor are interrupted by many blue lochs. The hills around the Bridge of Orchy form an exciting backdrop.

There are a couple of routes to return to the station:
Return about 500 metres back down the ridge. Take either the steepish slopes down beside the forestry plantation to the north shores of Loch Lossian and the shoreline track, or the easier slopes to the SW and then south to the north shores of Loch Lossian and the shoreline track.
Follow the ridge all the way back to the railway tracks. The ridge becomes a bit undefined at its base but there are no navigation problems (just head west and you have to hit the tracks sometime). A good path then leads south back to the approach track.
To make this easy walk a lot longer, head further into the wilderness along Beinn na Lap's NNE ridge (Sron na Cloicthe Sgoilte). The crags to the east prevent movement in that direction but give good views down to the little Loch na Lap. Progress down the untracked narrow ridge is easy with the only steepness near the end as it drops to the Allt Feith Thuill stream. Here a path is picked up heading east along the stream to a bridge and the access track for the buildings at the east end of Loch Ossian. Follow this and the track along the loch's northern shore back to the station. The route adds about 12 kilometres (5 hours) to the day.


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