Joyful Journey- Part 2: On And Off The West Highland Way – Rannoch Moor and Glencoe

Part 2

Rannoch Moor and Glencoe

One last look at Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond From Lomond Shores, Balloch
Loch Lomond From Lomond Shores, Balloch

Having left Loch Lomond behind, I turned my sights north to pick up parts of the West Highland Way.   Unlike some devotees of that 96 mile hike, I am not averse to straying from the path to check out other natural wonders in the area.  Nor, as stated in Part One, am I able to tackle the full length of The Way.  Instead, I use means other than ‘Shanks’s Pony’ to get from A to B.  On loch Lomond, I travelled mostly by boat with a little help from my local bus service.  And so, on to Rannoch Moor.

Rannoch Moor

Lochans on Rannoch Moor
Lochans on Rannoch Moor

No longer able to cruise on boats to my chosen destinations, I now rely on City Link buses to get me to the parts of the West Highland Way I want to explore.  On leaving Balloch and travelling north, I passed through Crianlarach, Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy where the West Highland Way mostly shadows the route taken by the bus.  Somewhere north of Glen Falloch, in a valley at the edge of the Trossachs, the trail takes its own path up the 1,500 ft. incline to Rannoch Moor.  The photo above was taken from the bus window on the moor.

Rain Fast Approaching Buachaille Etive Mor
Rain Fast Approaching Buachaille Etive Mor

Rannoch Moor is a plateau, 1,200 ft above sea level.  It covers 12,800 acres and is mostly peat and bog, with many beautiful streams and lochans (small lochs).  It is wedge shaped and surrounded my mountains, the mountainous area to the north being Glencoe, with mountains around 2,000 ft.  To the south east, the mountains are around 3,000 feet.  It’s unspoiled, unique beauty is something I hope to document more fully very soon, adding some of the rich history woven into its past.

Moorland Stream
Moorland Stream
Rain Over Buachaille Etive Mor

Glencoe is an area of many mountains and glens.  The most beautiful glen is  thought to be Glen Etive.  Pyramid shaped Buachaille Etive Mor (Big Shepherd of Glen Etive) dominates the Glencoe area.  Across Glen Etive from the Big Shepherd is Buachaille Etive Bheag(Little Shepherd Of The Glen).

Rain
Rain over Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Bheag

For climbers and hikers in the area, the rapidly changing weather can be a hazard.  On this occasion, I was caught in a fast moving storm.

A82

A82 heading into Glencoe

Above is the bus stop near White Corries Ski Centre where I alighted.  I stayed only a short while before catching the bus back on it’s way from Fort William.  A week later I returned, staying for two nights at the Kings House Hotel, on the West Highland Way, a mile or so from the bus stop.

The Black Corries and West Highland Way leading to The Kings House

The Black Corries and West Highland Way leading to The Kings House

The Kings House

The Kings House
Highland Hearth
Highland Hearth

Reception

Reception

Sunrise over Buachaille Etive Mor

Sunrise over Buachaille Etive Mor

Sunrise on Buachaille Etive Mor

Sunrise on Buachaille Etive Mor from a window in The Kings House

On day one of my stay, I braved the morning to check out my immediate surroundings.

Double Deer
Double Deer
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
Breakfast
Misty Moor
Mist Over the Black Corries
Rannoch Moor Looking East
Rannoch Moor Looking East

Detour to Beer Bottle Pool, River Etive

Before setting out for a hike north on the West Highland Way, I took the time to check out a beauty spot litttle known outside the local area.  Beer Bottle Pool in the River Etive, lies along the road leading to Glen Etive.  It is hidden from the road. Its distinctive geological formations make it a must see.

 River Etive
River Etive
Beer Bottle Pool, River Etive
Beer Bottle Pool, River Etive
Waterfall
Waterfall
White Water
White Water
Shades of Autumn
Shades of Autumn
River Etive beyond Beer Bottle Pool
River Etive beyond Beer Bottle Pool

Hike along the West Highland Way towards The Devil’s Staircase and Lochleven.

West Highland Way Using Old Military Road

West Highland Way Using Old Military Road
West Highland Way
West Highland Way, a few miles from The Devil’s Staircase
Walkers on West Highland Way
Walkers on West Highland Way

Long And Winding Road

Long And Winding Road
Rocky Road
Rocky Road
The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
Resting Place
Resting Place
October
October
Rain Coming
Rain Coming

With rain approaching and the wind picking up I retraced my steps to The Kings House.  It turned out to be only a heavy shower so I was able to document some of the trek back.

Rain
Rain
Rainy Trail
Rainy Trail
Kings House from West Highland Way
Kings House and A82 from West Highland Way
Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter

Stag

Stag
This fine fellow was standing right in my path but, unfortunately, I had put my camera away to protect it from the rain.  By the time I got it out, he had bounded off.
Stag  Up Close
Stag Up Close
Waiting for the Mr.
Waiting for the Mr.
Camouflage
Camouflage
Deer at Kings House
Deer at Kings House

And so that part of my journey ended and will continue, on and off the West Highland Way to Fort William

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