Last week, six of our Explorers and three of our Leaders headed up to Corrour, in the remote Scottish Highlands, for five days of intense hiking. Here they’ve written about the experience…
We met at a crowded Euston Station at 8pm on Tuesday evening, to board the Caledonian Sleeper train. As we walked to the train we were asked where we were going, and gave the cheerful reply of ‘Corrour’.
“Why the hell would you wanna go there?” said the ticket inspector – very motivating! We got on to the Sleeper and dumped our stuff into our cabins, but us being typical WWESU Explorers decided it would be a great idea to all cram into one room.
Many cuddly moments later we decided that there weren’t enough people in the room and went off to bundle our Leaders (Marlon and Tom) in their room. When they finally decided that we were too annoying to handle they abandoned us for the dining car – which we inevitably followed them to as well.
We stayed up, not really bothering what the time was, until we gave into the exhaustion and decided to be sensible, sleep, and prepare for a long week of hillwalking. We fell asleep to the sound of the wheels click-clacking on the track, and dreamed of Scottish mountains.
Early on Wednesday morning we awoke to the sound of the train conductor telling us that we couldn’t get off at Corrour after all, and that we would be all dumped off the train at Crianlarich instead. I did not really believe him until about an hour later at 7am when I woke up from a somewhat itchy sleep. One frenzied packing session later (there were many) we all trooped down to the breakfast car which had been added during the night where we ate bananas and croissants. When we got off the train we were met about half an hour later by a nine seater mini-minibus driven by a very Scottish man. This man decided to answer what felt like 17 phone calls, waking us up every 20 mins of our 3 hour journey to the hostel. Surprisingly he managed to drive all the way to the hostel, despite the last 20 kilometres being off road down a 4×4 track. The view when we arrived wholeheartedly made up for the rough journey – that and the truly amazing hostel itself.
After we had checked into the hostel and repacked our bags for a day of walking we set off into the hills. Having arrived later than we thought, we ventured on a “short” walk of 22km. Tom was thoroughly impressed by the train and its track, and we stopped to take a picture of the highest point of track in Britain. After our ordeal earlier in the morning we were rewarded with a rainbow! A promising sign of better weather to come…
We returned to the hostel at 5pm and tucked into cheese and crackers, and a delicious curry.
On Thursday we went for a LONG walk in the Scottish hills, this time not reaching new summits but exploring a lovely loch and admiring the mountains. We had lunch in a Bothy (a hut that anyone can use for free, and maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association) which provided respite from the cold and was a new experience for the majority of us.