11 Feb 2018
Take the train from Glasgow to Fort William and you climb up from the shores of the Clyde estuary, high up above the sea lochs of the Firth, climbing up through Loch Lomond National Park and climbing up through the glens and around the contours of the mountains of the West Highlands.
Eventually you climb away from the last of the villages, the farms thin out and the roads give way as you climb up onto Rannoch Moor, the vast peat bog wetland landscape of glacial moraine that fills a basin in the mountains from horizon to horizon. And as you climb to the summit of the line at Britain’s remotest railway station, just as you’ve acclimatised to the vastness and the emptiness, you might briefly glimpse behind the tussocks and hummocks the loneliest roofless ruin of an isolated old cottage.
This is Lubnaclach, a sturdy shell of big stone blocks built to withstand the extremes of this exposed situation, for reasons that the internet can not yet explain. Many assume it must be related to the hunting and shooting that sustained the estate from the Victorian era and through the 20th century, but nothing is ever offered to support such speculation.
More likely, perhaps, it housed herders who grazed livestock on the moors during the summer, and stories are told of its later life as a bothy, maintained right up into the 1980s.
It’s a 4km walk down a boggy path from Corrour via Loch Ossian. I did the walk twice in September — going back to use it as a prop in some pictures of the morning Caledonian Sleeper train, playing with the DJI Mavic Pro drone.