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Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area


Postby Mulligrubs » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:37 am

Hi

I run a Duke of Edinburgh Group which does about 4 or 5 expeditions per year. I'm always on the lookout for new routes, to vary the experience for the boys and girls. A DofE expedition involves either 3 days and 2 nights or 4 days and 3 nights out in the hills. All of the boys and girls have to camp under canvas - no bothies allowed.

I'm currently looking at a route from Fort William to Kingshouse via Rannoch Station. I wonder if any of you knowledgeable people out there can help me with a few questions on wild campsites ...

Is it possible to wild camp at the following places ? If not, is it possible to wild camp within about 5kms of each place ?
Tigh na Cruaiche NN3754
Rannoch Station NN4257
North shore Loch Eigheach NN4457
Corrour Old Lodge NN4064
Corrour Station to Ossian YH NN3566 to NN3766
Creaguaineach Lodge (NN3068)
Luibeilt / Meannanach (NN2668)
Bothy at NN2873
Anywhere in NN2578
Near Mamore Lodge Hotel NN1862

Please rest assured that my boys and girls are responsible young people, who are not there to have wild parties, who don't have enough space in their rucksacks for cases of beer, and who generally speaking are more scared of the sheep than the sheep are scared of them.

Many thanks to anyone who can help me.

cheers
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:42 am

For Luibeilt / Meannanach (NN2668) you can camp by Bothy or the ruin Luibeilt, but note it can be impossible to cross the river here if it is high.
Around the Bothy at NN2873 is another good place to camp.
There are some grassy area's around Tigh na Cruaiche to camp.
Lots of places by Creaguaineach Lodge and by Stoaineag Bothy...across the river is a good spot, there are stepping stones here.
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby whiteburn » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:29 am

Here's link to a good web site for researching routes and possible camp sites.
Locating a campsite using this isn't 100% reliable but it does help with filtering out the 'bad' ones.
In the Highlands I've found that the areas around derelict buildings/ sheep pens (not always shown on OS maps) often provide the better camp sites, I guess it something to do with the extra nutrients in the soil helping the 'nice' grass.

http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm

Would be nice to have this kind of Satellite view as an option integrated with the Walkhighlands GPS Planner.
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Essan » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:52 am

I don't recall there being much in the way of suitable spots to camp by Rannoch Station itself or the north shore of Loch Eigheach although there's a ruin on the north side of the road (Doire na h-Innes) which appears to offer possibilities. Another option is at the end of Loch Laidon

Plenty of good spots along the Abhainn Rath - especially between Meanach and Staoineag bothies.

And I think you should find some good places around the old tramway on the approach to the Lairig Leacach in NN2578

Geograph is a good site to see photos of the area and get an idea of the terrain to expect
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Mulligrubs » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:16 pm

Many thanks for your help, especially the Geograph site. I've already seen and used the Wheresthepath site.

These have helped enormously, as I now have a much better idea of what to expect when I make it up there in person.

cheers
M
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Cairngormwanderer » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:51 pm

Not wanting to teach my granny to suck eggs, but the best way would probably be to walk the route yourself. Many people have different ideas about what makes a good campsite and you'll know best what sort of thing you're after - how many people, how many tents etc.
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Mulligrubs » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:52 pm

Cairngormwanderer wrote:Not wanting to teach my granny to suck eggs, but the best way would probably be to walk the route yourself. Many people have different ideas about what makes a good campsite and you'll know best what sort of thing you're after - how many people, how many tents etc.


You are of course spot on, and that is firmly the intention before finalising the endless rigmarole of gaining approval for my little trip. However, the question was more along the lines that whiteburn mentions - to filter out the "bad ones" in advance. There is little point in me going to lots of effort drafting a route, scheduling daily legs and overnight stops, etc., if there is no chance of being able to pitch tents in a given area. Once I am satisfied that a route is do-able at tectonic plate speed and camp-able, then I will survey it on the ground. This usually means planning 3 or 4 substitute or alternative campsites. It's all part of the tortuous planning process that I have to endure before I can prise the little horrors away from their tellies, fridges, Xboxes and Facebook.

Ah ! The joys of DofE !
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Ian Johnston » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:50 pm

Mulligrubs,

Sorry to be a pain again, but the team are supposed to plan the route.......

Kind Regards

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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby mountainstar » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:28 am

Mulligrubs,
I'm just back from a Bothy trip to Dulyn in Snowdonia, en route I met a group of teenagers doing their gold D of E, they were on their first of 4 days, I chatted to them briefly and they said they were enjoying it, but probably won't be so much today as the wind picked up in the night and heavy rain set in, this morning on my walk out the rain continued and is set to continue for most of today.
This got me thinking, wouldn't it be good to hear of their account, or perhaps your group's account of their trip, I don't think there has ever been a trip report done on this site by a DofE group, it would make an interesting perspective on young teenagers slightly out of their comfort zone, and possibly a good project for them?
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Ian Johnston » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:11 pm

Great idea mountainstar - it would even be perfectly reasonable for a group to choose to present their report via a forum whatever the Aim of the venture had been.

For Mulligrubs - my post above and the one on the "Vehicle Access" topic probably come across as grumpy and negative - they're not meant that way. The overarching condition of participants planning and executing an unaccompanied, unsupported venture with an agreed aim is the core of the Expedition section of the Award at all three levels, and it's a precious thing. Every contact with Assessors or Supervisors intrudes into their venture; the kind of set-up your Operating Authority seems to be insisting upon doesn't sound like it will allow your teams to fulfil the conditions - or to have a venture which they can truly claim as their own.

Try talking to Assessors in your area to get some ideas and pointers - or if I've not totally pi**ed you off, drop me a PM or take a look on the Cairngorm Network website as a planning resource. All Assessors appreciate the hoops which Supervisors have to jump through just to get a team to the start point....

Kind Regards

Ian
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby denfinella » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:35 pm

I've no idea what the official rules are for how much planning is supposed to be done by the team themselves. I definitely agree that the team members should do the majority of planning themselves, but in my opinion there will always be (and should be - particularly for bronze and silver) a certain amount of information provided by the supervisors.

From my own experience a few years ago at gold level (Snowdonia and the Lakes, as I was living in London then), we were still given the overnight stops as fixed locations. We then planned the daytime walking route between them ourselves.

I'm sure that the level of help given to DofE groups varies enormously from place to place. What might actually be a pretty standard level of assistance might seem like babying to some, but not ensuring an adequate level of safety for others. For city kids (like, a few years ago, myself), some of whom may not even have been more than a mile from a road before, an appropriate level of assistance is maybe very different to young people who have grown up near to the hills.
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby luibnaclach » Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:54 pm

corrour old lodge is a marvelous place to wild camp,plenty dry green grass with water not too far away.

corrour station to youth hostel area,placesto camp tend to be few and spaced apart,risk of very soggy ground,you would to well to comunicate with the estate,as there are rumours of restriction,an option might be to walk across to LUIBNACLACH a ruined house elevated so dry and plenty of room to camp :)
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Mulligrubs » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:42 pm

Many thanks for all the helpful replies. You've certainly assisted me with listing a set of "possibles" and a list of "not possibles", and, equally important, some "take care" places.

While the youngsters themselves are responsible for much of the planning, it falls to the local Leaders and Supervisors, as part of the training, to carry out a first pass review on whether a particular route is feasible. This is before an expedition proposal is passed on for upto three further levels of approval by people more and more remote from the coal face. And this is all before it goes to the DofE organisation for its approval. Add in to the mix the fact that every landowner affected by the proposed route must be contacted individually for permission to walk and permission to camp, and the whole exercise becomes very protracted and labour intensive. This is why I had hoped to short circuit some of the ifs and maybes by posting on here. It is an area with which I am not personally sufficiently familiar at the level of detail required. Yet. However I will be familiar with every puddle and bog and tree by the time the expedition goes ahead, hopefully next summer.

And, having done it once, it becomes so much easier to run an expedition in the same general area in future years.

Thanks again.
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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby Mulligrubs » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:50 pm

mountainstar wrote:This got me thinking, wouldn't it be good to hear of their account, or perhaps your group's account of their trip, I don't think there has ever been a trip report done on this site by a DofE group, it would make an interesting perspective on young teenagers slightly out of their comfort zone, and possibly a good project for them?


This is an excellent idea, and one which I will definitely put to the Group as part of their objective setting and reporting tasks. You may be surprised, as I am constantly, at the small things which the youngsters pick up on and obsess about. My last Gold group produced a very creditable video record of their venture, at least until their camera drowned, and wove this into a visual presentation of the whole trip. I'll see if I can persuade this new group to produce something appropriate for this Forum. Watch this space around this time next year !

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Re: Wild camping in the Fort William - Rannoch area

Postby The Old Man of Storr » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:38 pm

I did a DofE Gold trip through here over the summer - we camped just east of the Bealach Dubh, at Corrour Old Lodge (NN374644) and at by the river just up from Loch Trieg at NN288680.

They were all fantastic spots, with the one at Corrour being on what felt like an old lawn - short, flat grass. Room for up to about 5 tents at a push, although we were comfortable with three.

By happy coincidence, I'm on half term and it's raining, so with nothing better to do than play with photos, here are the three campsites - in reverse order.
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