Stob an Aonaich Mhoir from Loch Rannoch

Route: Stob an Aonaich Mhòir, from Loch Rannoch

Corbetts: Stob an Aonaich Mhòir

Date walked: 12/06/2021

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 33.2km

Ascent: 970m

The forecast for today seemed better in the east so I plumped in the end for Stob an Aonaich Mhoir which is just to the east of Loch Ericht. Hopefully I would get a good day with a bit of breeze.

It's the first time for a few years that I've driven along the Loch Rannoch road and it was a shock to see abandoned cars and vans everywhere (including some laybys) with all different shapes and sizes of tents littering the shoreline (it was the weekend and presumably it's not this busy during the week?).

Initially I drove to the point where the walk starts but I decided not to leave the car there as there was only room for one and it was a bit tight so headed back to the large parking area a few hundred yards beyond the power station. As I parked the first thing I noticed was two guys standing in the car park, each with a roll of toilet paper trying to decide where to head for and squat (nice start to the day!!).

Anyway, I was parked up and walking for just before 8am and it was a nice morning, a bit of sunshine, a lot of clouds around and a fairly strong breeze blowing.

Early morning at Loch Rannoch

Looking out to Eilean nam Faoileag Folly

I headed along the road past the power station and a couple of houses to the starting point (WH say the car park is 1.5km from the point where the track leaves the road which sounds about right). There is an easy pedestrian gate at the far right hand side and once through that it's just a case of sticking to the main track and climbing fairly gradually. At the point where there is a track heading off to the power station I met a herd of cows with some calves but they seemed very settled and with the exception of one light coloured beast they showed little interest in me (that would change on the way back).

First open view

About 10 minutes after passing the cows I came to a bolted gate. There is probably a knack to easily opening this gate but I certainly didn't find it and it took a bit of time to get the gate open.

Now it was just miles of gently climbing road which in places is smoother than I was expecting and in other places was rutted and pot holed, another hill where if time is tight I can see the benefit of getting the bike out.


Looking back

Still more climbing - when does this road end?

Where the road crossed the Allt Ghlas I was able to stop and have a drink from the river. Not a great flow but enough for the water to be clear and cold.

There were a couple of times where I thought I had reached the high point of the road but when you arrive there it is very obvious with a large cairn to the right of the road and the first view down to Loch Ericht.

High point of road

Now it was time to leave the road behind and choose a route through the heather. WH recommends heading WNW, I could see a prominent rock on the hillside slightly west of this bearing and decided to head for that. With all the road walking I went for approach shoes today and just hoped the hill wasn't too wet, unusually for me it turned out to be a good choice as underfoot conditions were pretty dry and the peat hags were very easy to cross without any problems. Having reached the rock I mentioned earlier I then headed more or less WNW so my route to the top was always slightly west of that recommended by WH.

The view back down to the road looking towards Loch Rannoch

It took me just under 30 mins from the point where I left the road to the summit. I knew from other reports on this hill that the views looking down to Loch Ericht were good but it is actually a much better view point than photos can show. It was brilliant looking over to Ben Alder and pals, Loch Pattack and all the other surrounding hills most of which I still have to climb.

But sadly the sun was hidden by the clouds, the wind was strong and it was cold. Had I brought gloves I would have worn them (left them in my bag in the car - by mistake) as it really was that cold. I took a few pictures and found what shelter I could to grab a bite to eat.

Just as I was about to leave the top the sun came out on some of the surrounding hills so I quickly grabbed the camera.

Loch Ericht


Summit cairn looking over to the Ben Alder group of hills

I followed more or less the same route down to the high point of the road where I took off the long sleeved top that was needed on the summit. I had planned to continue along the road to the lodge but when I looked at the drop down I didn't fancy climbing back up so just headed down the road.

The night before I did this walk I had a look online for what on my map is Coire Bhachdaidh Lodge but which now seems to be known as Corrievarkie Lodge. I didn't know the first thing about it - was it a ruin or was it lived in? It's now a luxury lodge on the Ben Alder Estate. The minimum stay is for 4 nights and if you want to go there in August and you have a spare £3,820 ( :shock: ) then this could be the place for you.

And so it was back down to the road, downhill nearly all the way but with a strong wind blowing in to my face.

The greenest of greens

Ruin to the west of the road

When I got down to the turn off for the Loch Ericht dam I couldn't resist a quick detour. The sun was now fully out and with losing height it was warm so a good place to stop have a sandwich and take in the views before the final short walk back to the car.

View west from the dam



Another view West

Back on the main track I reached the gate that caused me a problem a few hours earlier. This time I managed to get the gate open but couldn't get the bolt back in position and the gate properly shut. In the end the bolt slammed in to position forcing my thumb to hit a metal pole at speed and for the next ten minutes I kept comparing both thumbs as I was convinced I had broken something but no damage done.

Loch Rannoch now in view

That just leaves the cows. As luck would have it they had moved down to the track with the bulk of the herd to one side and some calves sleeping on the other side. I didn't want to walk between the cows and their calves but couldn't see an easy way past the herd so decided just to go through the middle and stick on the track. That bloomin light coloured cow from earlier was the first to notice me and this time she was far more interested and started to walk towards me. This got the rest of the herd curious and soon they were all either walking or running in my direction but luckily at about twenty yards away they halted and watched me as I passed. I've had a couple of really scary situations in the past with herds of cows and this came nowhere near those experiences but it was a gentle reminder that cows are not always the passive creatures we think of them as.

Lost interest in me now

After the cows it was just 5 minutes back to the Loch Rannoch road and the walk back past the power station to the car.

With my extra bit at the start and end of this walk and my detour to the dam I covered 20.6 miles so a fair hike for one blue balloon but if you have the time it's a really nice wander and I'm glad I've finally got round to climbing this hill.

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Location: Nr Forfar
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