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Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor


Postby Gundram » Tue Nov 23, 2021 11:20 pm

Hello Highland walkers!

I'm planning a multi-day walk on Rannoch Moor for May 2022. I'm just starting out, but this is the rough plan:

Day 1: Rannoch Station - Lochan Sron Smeur - Lochan Loin nan Donnlaich - Ben Alder Cottage Bothy (Loch Ericht)

Day 2: Ben Alder Cottage Bothy - Beinn a' Bhealaich - Loch Ossian - Loch Ossian Youth Hostel

Day 3: Loch Ossian Youth Hostel - Corrour Station - Loch Treig - Staoineag Bothy

Day 4: Staoineag Bothy - Abhainn Rath - Meanach Bothy

Day 5: Meanach Bothy - Loch Treig - Glen Lolairean - Loch Chiarain Bothy
Or alternatively walk from Meanach to Chiarain via Loch Eilde Mor or any other path?

Day 6: Loch Chiarain Bothy - Leum Uilleim - Corrour Station

What do you think about this plan?
Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Caberfeidh » Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:37 am

May is usually a fine time of year to do such an expedition; fine weather (sometimes!), longer daylight and lack of midgies (usually!). Maybe some snow left gleaming on the distant peaks...

DSCF1997#p#r.jpg
Rannoch Moor Lochs


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Rannoch Moor Rainbow
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Caberfeidh » Sun Nov 28, 2021 7:49 am

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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Gundram » Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:03 am

@Caberfeidh: Thanks for your comments and the pics.
The Ba Howff looks quite inviting... ; )

I'm still waiting for my OS maps. As soon as they arrive, I will go into detail planning.
I'm pretty sure I will have some further and more specific questions then.

Mainly on the route from Rannoch Station to Ben Alder cottage.
I just read it passes by the two aforementioned lochans. But no ideas if there is maybe a stalkers path or if it's complete pathless terrain.

And the best options from Staoineag/Meanach to Loch Chiarain and from there back to Corrour Station.

As it is just a very short walk from Staoineag to Meanach, we will have plenty of time there.
What about a half-day-hike to the Steall Falls from there? It it worth it?

What is the firewood situation around the bothies? Is it likely that there are some fallen branches to pick up? At Ben Alder Cottage and Staoineag there is maybe a chance.
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Caberfeidh » Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:22 pm

The state of the waterfalls depends on the weather; if there has been rain the falls are more impressive. Firewood is something you have to hunt for. You can dig it out of the peat or scour the loch shores for driftwood, scrub it dry with a handfull of dry grass and chop it up with a tomohawk. Bring firelighters to get it all going. I can't comment on the various trails you ask about, any hiking I've done on Rannoch Moor has been off any path, which is tough going - holes, bogs, rocks, great spongy bosses of sphagnum moss, sudden hags, tree-stumps, frogs, ravens eating a dead stag - or is it a dead hiker??? Aaaaaaarrrgh! Take a telescopic fishing rod and catch yourself some trout for tea.
p.s. please look out for a khaki Acubra hat which I lost in 2005 between Rannoch Station and Lochan nan Claidheimh.

Rannoch Moor R.jpg
Weather approaching, Rannoch Moor.


west coast and viking Sept 07 082#r.jpg
Camping at Kingshouse, Rannoch Moor.


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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby rgf101 » Wed Dec 08, 2021 11:59 pm

Day 3 you don't need to go via Corrour Station, there's an estate road (since they put the run-of-river hydro in) down to the Loch from the hostel.

No Lairig Leacach Bothy?

I've not been around Loch Elide Mor way, but have walked from Loch Treig to Chiarain up the glen a few times - it's wet and the path wanders off on its own at points, but doable.

If you don't want to go over Leum Uilleim there's an ATV track which I don't think is on OS maps, but can be seen on OpenCycleMap (which I see on Viewranger) running approx NN309653 to NN347673. Might be hard to pick up the start of it, but once you're on it it's easy to follow. That got me from train station to bothy in 3 hours (and next to no change in elevation) a couple of weeks back.

You might want to think about exiting via Kinlochleven - it's a fun walk from Chiarain with fine views, and you can bus to Fort William for the train. Bothy to Kinlochleven was about 4 hours, although I was quickstepping to make the bus towards the end.

Loch Chiarain https://1drv.ms/u/s!Apixm3WHV1kug7xt_eiP1E1TrGaP4g
Blackwater Dam https://1drv.ms/u/s!Apixm3WHV1kug7xoMb9y8E4rJ7GOsQ
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Gundram » Fri Dec 10, 2021 10:24 pm

@rgf101: Thanks for your reply and the nice photos! That helps a lot.

Lairig Leacach Bothy doesn't look that nice, it's quite small and often crowded what I saw and read so far.
Would you recommend it?

The walk from Loch Treig to Chiarain up the glen - beside the fact that it's wet, boggy and arduous - is it nice terrain?
Or should I better avoid it and look for a different route?

Is this the ATV track from Loch Chiarain to Corrour Station you mentioned?

path_to_corrour.jpg
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby rgf101 » Fri Dec 17, 2021 11:49 am

Not recommending, no, it just sounds like you were keen to visit bothies.

The Loch Treig to Chiarain walk up the glen isn't that bad. You can turn around for lovely views up the loch. The ATV track cuts out the descent from Corrour station, if that's where you're coming from, and saves you an hour or so. That track is easily spotted on opencyclemap.org - it's the one that goes around the north side of Leum Uilleim / Beinn a' Bhric, rather than up them.
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Re: Bothy Bagging around Rannoch Moor

Postby Gundram » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:33 pm

@rgf101: You are right, the title "bothy bagging" is a bit misleading. It's not my aim to visit as many as possible, just the ones that are really nice and make sense on our route. That's why I skip Lairig Leacach Bothy.

@all:

Way from Rannoch Station to Lochan Sron Smeur:
Does anyone know, what to expect, when I roughly follow the pathless route I marked in red, that links the two other paths on the map? The river that has to be crossed is Allt Eigheach. Is it easy fordable, when not in spate?

Allt Eigheach.jpg



Way from Meanach/Staoineag Bothy to Loch Chiarain:

1) Chiaran path via Gleann Lolairean from south tip of Loch Treig to Blackwater Reserve. This one is pretty clear.
2) I think I skip the alternative route via Loch Eilde Beag & Loch Eilde Mor as it looks rather like a broad gravel road than a nice small path. Good for mountainbiking but maybe a bit boring for hiking. Am I right?
3) Another alternative that seems pretty interesting is via Gleann na Giubhsachan - just between Glas Bheinn and Beinn na Cloiche. Do you think it's better to walk east or west of the river?

Gleann na Giubhsachan.jpg
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