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Achnashellach Railway Platform, River Lair, Easan Dorcha Bothy, Coulin Pass, Glen Carron, Scotland.
[17.3 km]  Sun 11 Oct 2020

OS Grid ref: NH 00507 48357
Lat/Long: 57.481424, -05.329374
The overnight stop location proved to be better than I'd expected. I had coffee and breakfast before setting off for the short 5mile drive down the A890 & Glen Carron to the muddy cap parking area by the road below Achnashellach Railway Station. I find it amazing that this trailway line between Inverness and the Kyle of Lochalsh still operates. It must be heavily subsidised. It was still dark when I set off up the private muddy track to the tiny Railway Platform.
Achnashellach Railway Platform.
There were a few dismal buildings around and one was occupied. The railway platform was illuminated but nobody was about. There wasn't even a timetable to be seen. The small 2 seat waiting shelter was closed because of the plague restrictions. Two seats inside but both denied use. Shurely one could be used if it's raining. I crossed the railway line then through the gate to continue up along the forestry track. It was still fairly dark and even though I saw a path marker I continued upwards. Eventually I reached what looked like a mobile phone mast by the track then realised I climbed too far so had to descend back down again to the path marker I’d seen earlier.
Waiting/shelter cabin was closed.
That was the way I needed to go so turned left to follow it up into clearer terrain. A sign directed me left down a narrow path to the River lair where it continued up the right bank and a steady climb up the hillside. The path was good and easy to follow and an enjoyable walk. I was last on this path on Sat 19th May 1984 on a backpacking trek. In my diary I wrote “The path was a delight.” Which is how I thought today.
Cairn by the path near the high point.
There was no rain but thankfully the cloud was high enough to give good views of the mountains. I approached the high point of the trail and came to a tall cairn marking a path junction.  I continued straight on to another junction and headed right and a steady descent towards Easa Dorcha.
 Earlier I’d seen a man walking up the same track as me and now I could just see him climbing much higher up another path on the side of Beinn Liath Mhor (Big Grey Hill). My way is much lower and I descend the wide valley with nice views and a good path. The map marks a bothy but I had no idea what to expect. Eventually I saw a green roofed cabin below. It looked too small to be a bothy but further on I could see a large slated roof. I was puzzled because the map showed nothing there. I reached Easan Dorcha and crossed the footbridge to the cabin.
Thorny Crag

The Teahouse

This was the bothy though very small. Guide notes call it ‘The Teahouse’. Apparently it was visited in 2006 by Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert de Niro when they were filming Stardust at nearby Coulin. It was pleasant inside but I wouldn’t want to stay there. A short way down the track became more substantial as I reached a new building. It was a hydroelectric generator and looked very recent. An on-line search shows the Easan Dorcha Hydro Scheme. Commission Date:17/8/2017. Capacity:995kW 0.995 MW.

Generator building.

Through the window.

 Estate Bridge.

 View from the estate road.

 Heading up the Coulin Pass with cable marker on the right.
I continued down the track to a substantial stone bridge on the right. I crossed it to climb the estate road steadily up the Coulin Pass. I came to the summit in less than 2 miles at a gate where the forest started. The track continued steadily down which great views down into Glen Carron and the distant loch. It was an easy walk down back to Achnashellach Railway platform then down back to the car. The parking area was almost full.

 Looking down from the pass.

Achanashellach Railway Platform in daylight.

Derelict Phone Box by the road.
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