Rannoch Moor

(Moor of Rannoch)

Glacial lochan on Rannoch Moor
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Glacial lochan on Rannoch Moor

Located at the southern extreme of Highland Council Area, stretching eastward into Perth and Kinross and southwards into Argyll and Bute, Rannoch Moor is an upland plateau of lochs, lochans, peat bogs and streams that covers 5180 ha (12800 acres) and at points reaches an elevation of over 384m (1260 feet). The area is also surrounded by mountains which reach a height in excess of 914m (3000 feet) to the southeast and west, and 610m (2000 feet) to the north. The moor is the watershed of Central Scotland and rivers either flow west to the Atlantic Ocean or east to the North Sea. Created 20,000 years ago by the movement of a glacier, the area is dotted with lochs and rock remnants, characteristics of this event. The major lochs of Rannoch Moor are Loch Laidon, Loch Ba and Lochan na-Achlaise. Red and roe deer are not unusual, along with golden eagles, while particularly lucky visitors might see a Scottish wildcat. Although traversed in a north-south direction by the A82 Trunk Road from Glasgow to Fort William and by the West Highland Railway, there is no west-east crossing of the moor. Valued today as a relatively accessible area of wilderness, the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson thought otherwise, referring to it in his novel Kidnapped as 'a wearier looking desert a man never saw'.

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