Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Let the Train Take the Strain...

....Or at least some of it anyway. That was what we did on Saturday. We’d camped overnight at the Victoria Bridge car park and set off to walk over the hill to Bridge of Orchy station, catching the 10:45 train just for one stop 20 minutes down the line getting off at Rannoch Station.
Conditions were perfect as we headed west across Rannoch Moor, a bright sunny, warm day with a brisk following wind and as we’d had a nice long dry spell the marshes were fairly dry underfoot too. We were in the woods to begin with walking on a good track that formed the first few miles of the route. The packet of sandwiches lying forlornly by the track spoke of a poor traveller ahead of us who maybe even yet had to discover the loss of his lunch.
Moss, the dog plumbed new depths of depravity today discovering a pile of poo, possibly human in which to roll. Later on a dead deer gave another roll opportunity and an abandoned cow horn complete with scalp provided a tasty snack to accompany the deer thigh she’d been carrying for some while.
Once clear of the woods the route strikes out across the open moor with a temperamental path sometimes there sometimes not though one thing not to desert us was the view. Looking across toward Glencoe it felt almost Tolkienesque like we were marching across Middle Earth on route towards the mountains of Mordor. I fully expected Gollum to pop out of a peat bog at any moment.
This is a thoroughly wild area with very little shelter. The lonely ruin of Tigh-na Chruaiche provides a roof and walls making a good lunch stop. Despite the lack of path, navigation is easy. In good weather, heading west aim for the distinctive Buachaille, heading east aim for the equally distinctive Schiehallion. In bad weather there’s a handy power line to follow. The track suddenly reappears a few miles from Kingshouse and guided us quickly into the Climbers Bar for a welcome break.
The rest of the way followed highly familiar West Highland Way route back toward Victoria Bridge. Strangely, in all the times I’d done that section I’d never done it north to south so taking in the views this way on was a very refreshing change.
A thing that struck us along the route was the number of dead deer. There are loads of them all over the place, a testament indeed to the harsh winter just gone.
Forest Lodge was a welcome site and the motorhome even more welcome. A great end to the day involved much red wine and hot shepherd’s pie watching the sun go down behind Beinn Suidhe.


  1. Sounds like a great day Bob. How long did it take you?

  2. Just a walk Ali. The old knee is still giving me bother. 7 hrs walking the 24 mile route. Cracking day though.

  3. i bet you gave moss a bit of a wide berth!

  4. Yeah, and woe betide if she does that this coming week when we're in the tent! :-)