Rannoch Moor

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Official name Rannoch Moor
Designated 5 January 1976
Reference no. 78[1]
The Black Mount, seen over the wild landscape

Rannoch Moor (/ˈrænəx/ (About this soundlisten), Scottish Gaelic: Mòinteach Raineach/Raithneach) is an expanse of around 50 square miles (130 km²) of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch in Scotland, where it extends from and into westerly Perth and Kinross, northerly Lochaber (in Highland), and the area of Highland Scotland toward its south-west, northern Argyll and Bute. Rannoch Moor is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation.[2] Much of the western part of the moor lies within the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area,[3] one of 40 such areas in Scotland.[4]

It is notable for its wildlife, and is particularly famous as being the sole British location for the Rannoch-rush, named after the moor.[5] It was frequently visited by Horace Donisthorpe who collected many unusual species of ants on the moor and surrounding hilly ground. Today it is still one of the few remaining habitats for Formica exsecta, the "narrow-headed ant", although recent surveys have failed to produce any sign of Formica pratensis, which Donisthorpe recorded in the area in the early part of the 20th century.

Peat deposits pose major difficulties to builders of roads and railways. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes. Corrour railway station, the UK's highest, and one of its most remote being 10 miles (16 km) from the nearest public road, is located on this section of the line at 1,339 feet (408 m).[6] The line takes gentle curves totalling 23 miles (37 km) across the moorland. The A82 road crosses western Rannoch Moor on its way to Glen Coe and Fort William.

The desolate and isolated Gorton was a private railway station built near Meall a Ghortain that once housed a school for local railway workers children and still serves as the Gorton Crossing engineers siding.


This expanse was at the heart of the last significant icefield in the UK during the Loch Lomond Stadial at the end of the last ice age. Once the great mass of ice had melted, the subsequent unburdening of the Earth's crust resulted in a continuing rise in the land which is estimated to be of the order of 2–3 mm per year.

In fiction

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

According to Don Rosa, Castle McDuck, the ancestral home of Scrooge McDuck's family, the Clan McDuck is located in Dismal Downs somewhere on Rannoch Moor.

In the Highlander novel, The Element of Fire, Duncan and Connor MacLeod track the antagonist Khordas to Rannoch Moor. There Duncan defeats Khordas' female companion, Nerissa.

See also


  1. ^ "Rannoch Moor". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ 1331, 8348. Rannoch Moor, Scottish National Heritage Sitelink. Scottish National Heritage. 2012.
  3. ^ "Map: Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. December 2010. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  4. ^ "National Scenic Areas". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  5. ^ "Rannoch Moor Special Area of Conservation". Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  6. ^ Corrour couple make plea over Trainspotting station Herald Scotland

External links

Coordinates: 56°37′41″N 4°41′06″W / 56.628°N 4.685°W / 56.628; -4.685

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