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Rannoch Moor

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Rannoch Moor

Rannoch Moor (Scottish Gaelic: Mòinteach Raineach) is a large expanse of around 50 square miles (130 km²) of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch. It covers parts of Perth and Kinross, northern Argyll and Bute and Highland, Scotland. Rannoch Moor is designated a National Heritage site.[1]

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

The area is the approximate location for the last great glacier in the United Kingdom at the end of the last ice age. As a result of this, the landscape is rising by around 3mm per year.

Landscape[edit]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

The A82 trunk road, heading from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William, crosses the western part of the moor between Bridge of Orchy and the Kings House Hotel at the top of Glen Coe. Regular Citylink buses [2] travelling from Glasgow (and Edinburgh during the summer) to Fort William and Skye use this road. It is possible to get off and flag down the bus anywhere along the road, so long as there is no danger to other traffic.

The B846 road links Pitlochry with Kinloch Rannoch and Rannoch Station.

The West Highland Railway has halts at Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch Station and Corrour. ScotRail [3] also run a direct sleeper service from London Euston. Bear in mind that Corrour is a request stop for the sleeper train and that passengers in the seated coach must change carriages at Edinburgh Waverley.

Get around[edit]

Nice and inviting, just bear in mind that walking along the tracks may result in your death...

Good luck! The moor is a rugged wilderness, though there are routes. As well as the A82 road and the railway, a number of roads take you to the edges of the moor, with some paths crossing it. The West Highland Way skirts over the western section, from Bridge of Orchy to the top of Glen Coe before heading off over the Devil's Staircase to Kinlochleven. A path from Kinlochleven to the Blackwater Dam then heads cross-country to reach Loch Ossian. From Loch Ossian, walkers can follow a path to Loch Treig and then follow a trail known as the Lairig Leacach to Spean Bridge, or a rougher path to the head of Glen Nevis. There's also an estate track round Loch Ossian, though beware of deer fence gates which are sometimes padlocked, and from the eastern end another estate track heads via Strathossian House to eventually reach the A86 road near Loch Laggan.

Some walkers make use of the railway line, feeling the temptation to use something that's dry and straight when they're in the middle of a boggy moor. While trains do seem rather infrequent in this part of the world, they can and do come at any time, often at 60mph or more. Never rely on a train not coming, they are unpredictable. Walking along the railway line, even out on Rannoch Moor, is illegal and very dangerous; people have been seriously injured or killed by trains in the past on this section. If you do choose to walk on the tracks, be aware that you can not rely on being able to see or hear the train until it is too late, even in the best conditions. The section from Rannoch Station to Corrour has a couple of hazards to bear in mind - one fairly lengthy viaduct (no clearance to avoid trains) and Britain's only snow shed. This is an artificial tunnel where a cutting has had a roof added to protect the line from winter snows. Both these features make it difficult to see or avoid oncoming trains.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Corrour railway station, with Leum Uilleim in the background.

Hikers may enjoy tackling Beinn na Lapp (a Munro) or the smaller Leum Uilleim (William's Peak), both starting from Corrour Halt. For Beinn na Lapp, head toward the Youth Hostel then pick up the track for Loch Treig, then head uphill over the heather. For Leum Ulleim, there's a path running northwest from the station to begin with.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Very little! There is no shop at Corrour, nor at Rannoch Station. The nearest shops are in Kinloch Rannoch, Fort William and Tyndrum.

Eat & Drink[edit]

  • The Corrour Station House restaurant by Corrour Halt is a haven of civilisation [4].
  • The Kings House Hotel [5] stands at the border of Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. Pub food and accommodation, plus a lounge with a view - a large window is surrounded by a picture frame complete with brass nameplate, framing a spectacular archetypal mountain - Buachaille Etive Mor, aka the Boochal.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Moor of Rannoch Hotel, Rannoch Station, Perthshire, PH17 2QA, 01882 633238, [6]. Small hotel in a very remote location with stunning views. Ideal for walkers. Excellent home-cooked food and an interesting selection of bottled beers and whiskies.  edit
  • Loch Ossian Youth Hostel [7] tel. 01397 732207
  • Corrour Station House [8]
  • West Highland Way Sleeper [9]

Stay safe[edit]

It's an upland wilderness area, so be prepared for weather and possibly midges.

Get out[edit]

When you're ready to return to civilisation (and before too long, you will be!), head south to Tyndrum, Crianlarich, Loch Lomond and Glasgow, east to Stirling and Perth, north to Fort William or west to Oban and the Hebrides.



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