Hillwalking


Rannoch is a hillwalkers’ paradise – even more, it is a Munro-baggers’ paradise – with a number of hills and mountains of varying difficulty spread across the area. We divide the mountains in this section, because of accessibility, to those mountains to the west of the Rannoch Moor, and those to the east of it.

Mountains to the west of the Rannoch Moor

An easy couple of Munros which command fantastic views across the Rannoch Moor to Glen Coe, the Black Mount and beyond, are Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, easily accessible from the village of Bridge of Orchy. There are direct train and bus services to Bridge of Orchy, and you can also park your car here.

Behind this pair lie three further Munros, all climbable in a long summer’s day, or more usually broken into two chunks – Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a’Chreachain on the north side, and Beinn Mhanach sitting a little isolated to the south of them. We once climbed these on a 16-hour round trip from Bridge of Orchy, walking north along the A82, round past some remnants of the Old Caledonian Pine Forest, up Beinn a’Chreachain, along to Beinn Achaladair, before dropping down to a bealach and up onto Beinn Mhanach. We then walked back down to Auch Gleann to the A82 where we were picked up. It was a very long day and only made possible because it was gorgeous summer weather, with long hours of daylight, and we had the fitness to do it.

Over on the western fringe of the Rannoch Moor are the 4 Munros comprising the Black Mount – Stob a’Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar (usually climbed from Inveroran); and Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh (usually climbed from Kingshouse). A complete traverse over the whole Black Mount is possible in a single day, but you will need long hours of daylight, excellent fitness, and transport back to your starting point.

The entrance to Glen Coe contains the guardian of Buachaille Etive Mor, with the peak of Stob Dearg commanding unrivalled views out over the vast loneliness of the Rannoch Moor.

Mountains to the east of the Rannoch Moor

To the southeast of the Rannoch Moor are the two Munros of Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain, quite easy hills climbed from the dam-head below in upper Glen Lyon. Further down the glen, north of the Ben Lawers range, are the four Munros of Carn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Carn Mairg and Meall nan Aighean, usually climbed as a single outing, though short winter days may require breaking them into two separate days.

Mighty Schiehallion lies to the north of this group, and is climbed on its own, being a single, conical mountain with great views all round. It is a rare mountain of its kind, with such a distinctive shape, and is well worthy of its dramatic and self-important sounding name.

Climbed usually from Rannoch station on the West Highland Line are the pair of Munros of Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. If coming by train, make sure you leave enough time to get back down for your train home – it is not the first walker to be caught out, with a mighty long walk back to civilisation for a night’s sleep somewhere!

And finally, a little to the north, and usually climbed from the lonely Corrour station at Loch Ossian, is Beinn na Lap, which can be skipped up and down in a short hill day.


Ben Alder from Sgairneach Mhor.

Safety first

You should not underestimate these mountains or the very changeable weather they are subjected to. It is not unheard of to have warm sunshine, rain, snow and fog all on the same day – even in the Summer!

You must be prepared for the terrain and for these weather changes. You should only climb in sturdy hiking or climbing boots, and you must take waterproofs and emergency supplies. Also take plenty of food and water – it is generally safe to drink from mountain streams, which are usually very clean, but you do so at your own risk. A map, compass, and proficiency in their use, is a necessity.

Always check the mountain weather forecast before you head into the hills, and if it is winter or there has been any snow falling or forecast, you should also check the avalanche forecast. The area is served by an excellent mountain rescue team, but it is your responsibility to ensure you minimise the chances of an emergency which endangers their lives too.

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