“A wearier looking desert a man never saw”. At least that was Robert Louis Stevenson’s view on Rannoch Moor in one of his novels. He probably didn’t visit on a bright and sunny day. Then Rannoch Moor becomes a paradise of heather, peat bogs, lochans and streams, surrounded by spectacular mountains. When I walked through Rannoch Moor on the West Highland Way I thought it was the best part of the entire hike, I couldn’t believe the beauty of the landscape. But decide for yourself:
Rannoch Moor is a plateau that consists of an area of about 50 square miles in the shape of a triangle. There is one single road and a railway crossing through it from south to north. Apart from that, the West Highland Way brings a steady flow of walkers to the area, many of them stopping at the Kings House Hotel for a meal or the night. The only way to cross Rannoch Moor from east to west is on foot. There is a 10 mile track from Rannoch Station to the Kings House Hotel.
It is common to approach Rannoch Moor from Bridge of Orchy on the A82. Near Achallader the road meets the railway line and starts to climb the plateau. The landscape may appear to be from a different planet. Rannoch Moor’s north-west border is confined by Glen Coe. Buchaille Etive Mor, one of the best loved and most photographed mountains of Scotland, marks the entrance.
It is an isolated area, and the weather will have an important word to say on the impression Rannoch Moor will make on you. One way or another, it is one of the most spectacular landscapes of Scotland.
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