Loch Rannoch Tarmac trip – Stob an Aonaich Mor. March 2012.

Date: Sunday 18th March 2012
Distance: 28.4km
Ascent: 800m

Up at 0515 – despite -5C temps and frozen water reservoirs we’d been toasty in our sleeping bags. Getting up and out is always a different story.

Beautiful view of Loch Rannoch from our pitch at NN 528 564.

The Mamores and the Ben Alpenglow:

Meall na Meoig and Ben Alder:

Dropped back to the car parked at NN 517 569 to decant the gear into the day packs and defrost the car. Then drove round to the Bridge of Ericht power station car park at NN 533 582 to start our walk.

By the time all that was done it was 0730 when we kicked off – taking the farm track opposite the car park which runs up through some woods to a bridge over the hydro pipes at NN 530 584. From here heading NW across some fields to join the tarmac track at NN 524 589. Issues of navigation essentially end here – follow the road to it’s highest point about 11km hence and directly ascend to the hill top.

We’ve been taken with the whole Loch Rannoch area – a number of cracking walks from here. Road access may be from Pitlochry but the views take you out to Glen Coe and Black Mount.

Beinn a Chreachain appears:

A large herd of stags was gathered outside the deer fence 2km up the road – they seemed interested – I presume they are fed.

As the stags shifted around a pair of lapwings looped around the area with their crazy electric calls – a sound to bottle up and listen to in the dark of winter. 8)

After an hour we reached the lower Loch Ericht dam – seen from afar before but a first visit.

Just past the dam an old cleared cottage – the Big Bookil in the background:

The road wends its way uphill from here – a long way. The dam recedes into the distance.

Eventually the high point of the road is reached at 600m elevation – early flowers at the roadside – Trailing Azalea I think.

From the road top it’s a mere 1km and 200m of climb to the summit. Views then to Ben Alder and Loch Ericht.

A Golden Eagle sailed over as we approached the ridgeline – headed north.

Over to Glencoe looked rather interesting weather-wise:

Lawers Group:

Ben Alder:

Loch Ericht:

Clearing across Rannoch Moor:

Shower towards Lawers:

The wind was absolutely Baltic – we hunkered down behind some shelter to eat lunch. The Golden Eagle reappeared to the north, circling and then going into a fantastic stoop. Ran up to the cairn to realise there were 2 Goldies engaging in a bit of aerial interplay – probably territorial rather than mating display. They passed by us again with one heading away towards Rannoch.

Finished lunch and then weighed up the return. I had been keen on returning south over the ridge – Creag na h-Iolaire and Sron na Chlaonaidh – but the wind was just too biting to make it attractive so we dropped back for the road.

Noised up a couple of ptarmigan on the way:

Hit the road and started the long walk back. The showers south and west pulsed through:

The Bookil was no more:

The dam:

As we returned we saw a male Hen Harrier working the forestry edge and a solitary Black Grouse. Stayed lucky with only a solitary shower fringing us for 2 minutes.

Still sunny as we dropped to the loch:

Another of our favourite areas – lots of return plans including the smaller hills locally and more camping.

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