Loch Rannoch

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Rannoch, Loch, a lake of Fortingall parish, NW Perthshire. Extending 93/8 miles eastward to within 300 yards of Kinloch-Rannoch (21 miles W by N of Pitlochry), and lying at an altitude of 668 feet above sea-level, it has a width near its head of only ¼ mile, but lower down broadens to from 5½ to 9 furlongs. Throughout its greater part, especially towards the foot, its depth is from 60 to 85 fathoms; and it freezes so well in hard frost at the W end that persons can cross there on the ice, though the whole surface is not frozen over oftener, on an average, than once in 30 or 40 years. It abounds in small trout and large salmoferox; receives at its head the Gauir coming from Loch Lydoch, at a point 7 furlongs from its head on the N side the Ericht coming from Loch Ericht, at other parts of its sides Killichouan, Anlich, Slocna-Creadha, Dall, and Bogair Burns; discharges all its superfluence at the foot in the river Tummel; and contains near its head an artificial crannoge, on which is a modernised keep. Flanked along both its sides by ranges of upland receding from brae and hill to lofty mountain, it is sky-lined in the distant W by the peaks of Buachaille-Etive and Glencoe, and nearly overhung in the near SE by the vast isolated mass of Schiehallion. Cornfields and birch woods adorn the skirts and lower braes of its northern flank; and a great pine forest, the Black Wood of Rannoch, runs far up all its southern acclivities, so that, viewed in connection with the basins of its contributary waters, and with the diversities and the distances of the horizon lines, it makes a vast and imposing display of magnificent scenery. At its head, 12 miles by road W by S of Kinloch-Rannoch, is Rannoch Lodge (Sir Robert Menzies, Bart- of Castle-Menzies); and ¾ mile to the SW is Rannoch Barracks (Struan-Robertson).—Ord. Sur., shs. 54, 55, 1873-69. The district of Rannoch is bounded NW by Lochaber, N by Badenoch, E by Blair Athole, S by the Fortingall and Glenlyon sections of Breadalbane, and W by Glenorchy and Appin. Its greatest length, from E to W, is 28 miles; its greatest breadth is 15 miles; and its area is about 290 square miles. The central part, from the eastern boundary to the extent of 22 miles westward,exhibits the picturesqueness of the glen and screens of Loch Rannoch; the northern part, excepting a smallsection on its northern border occupied by a portion of wild Loch Ericht, consists entirely of bare, lofty, indomitable masses of the Central Grampians,variously peaked with soaring summits, expanded into plateaux of moor and loch, and cloven in their lower declivities with narrow glens; the southern part, all comparatively of small breadth, consists of the northern declivities and spurs of the hills and mountains flanking the N side of Fortingall and Glenlyon; and the western part is Rannoch Muir, the largest and dreariest moor in Scotland, lying at a mean elevation of 1000 feet above sea-level, all an open, monotonous, silent, black expanse of desert, a vast and dismal mixture of bog, morass, heath, and rock, streaked in the centre with long dreary Loch Lydoch; diversified elsewhere with only a few marshy pools, and some ditchy naked lines of dark water-course; and environed in the distance by rough, bleak, dark mountains, in rueful keeping of aspect with its own sable sea of moss.

` Amid this vast tremendous solitude,
Where nought is heard except the wild wind's sigh,
Or savage raven's deep and hollow cry,
With awful thought the spirit is imbued!
Around. around, for many a weary mile,
The alpine masses stretch; the heavy cloud
Cleaves round their brows, concealing with its shroud
Bleak, barren rocks, unthawed by summer's smile.
Nought but the desert mountains and lone sky
Are here; birds sing not. and the wandering bee
Searches for flowers in vain; nor shrub, nor tree,
Nor human habitation greets the eye
Of heart-struck pilgrim; while around him lie
Silence and desolmation, what is he! '

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better