Rannoch Moor, a large expanse of around 50 square miles (130 km²) of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch, is in Perth and Kinross, partly northern Argyll and Bute, and Highland, Scotland. Rannoch Moor is designated a National Heritage site.
This is the moor where Outlander, the TV drama starring Lotte Verbeek and Caitriona Balfe, was filmed, and it has also been used by ITV and the BBC frequently over the years.
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 3 mm per year.
Flora and fauna
The West Highland Railway has halts at Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch Station, and Corrour. There is also a direct sleeper service from London's Euston station. Corrour is a request stop for the sleeper train: passengers in the seated coach must change carriages at Edinburgh Waverley.
- 1 Corrour railway station. The highest mainline railway station in the United Kingdom and one of the most remote
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 Glencoe 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 may be tempted to use the railway line, but this is very dangerous (and illegal). You can see the temptation to use something that's dry and straight when you're in the middle of a boggy moor, and when the trains seem infrequent. The line is used by freight, charter and maintenance trains in addition to the passenger trains in the timetable. The section from Rannoch Station to Corrour has a couple of hazards - one fairly lengthy (and for the vertigo sufferers, high) viaduct, 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.
- 1 Loch Ossian. Walk around the loch, which has a reasonable track around it. In late spring there are some colourful rhododendrons (due to the cooler temperatures at this altitude, these are in flower a month or so later than seaside ones). If you are feeling fit, the challenge is to run round the loch in under one hour.
Hikers may enjoy tackling Beinn Na Lapp (a Munro) or the smaller Leum Ulleim (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.
- Fishing, Loch Ossian. Bank fishing for trout is available on the loch. £5 per day, permits from Station House Restaurant or Loch Ossian Hostel.
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
- 1 Corrour Station House, ☏ . Apr - Oct daily 08:30-21:00, only some days in winter. The tearoom by Corrour Halt is a haven of civilisation. Also a 3-room bed and breakfast in former signal box. Mains £10-15.
- 2 The Kingshouse Hotel. At the border of Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. 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. Closed for rebuilding until spring 2019.
- 1 Moor of Rannoch Hotel, Rannoch Station, Perthshire PH17 2QA, ☏ . Small hotel in a very remote location, they promise near-zero wifi & mobile coverage but stunning views. Ideal for walkers. Excellent home-cooked food and an interesting selection of bottled beers and whiskies. B&B double £180.
- 2 Loch Ossian Youth Hostel (1 mile east of Corrour Station, no vehicle access), ☏ . Check-in: 16:30, check-out: 10:00. 20-bed eco-friendly hostel, on the shores of Loch Ossian. Open April-Oct daily, Nov-Mar W-Su. No catering, and you need to be outdoors in the weary weather 10:00-17:00. Dorm £21 ppn.
- 3 Dunalastair Hotel Suites, 1 The Square, Kinloch Rannoch, PH16 5PW, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. Individually designed hotel. 32 luxury suites and a licensed bar.
- 4 Corrour Estate Holiday Homes (11 miles down a drivable track). Eight holiday homes sleeping between 3 and 11. For an extreme splurge Corrour Lodge is also sometimes available for rent. The estate also offers fishing and deer stalking. from £300 per week.
It's an upland wilderness area, so be prepared for weather and possibly midges.