Rannoch Moor (//, 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 easterly 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.
It is notable for its wildlife, particularly famous for the sole British location for the Rannoch-rush, named after the moor. 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. Also the A82 road crosses through Rannoch Moor on its way to Glen Coe and Fort William. The railway rises to over 1,300 feet (400 m) and takes gentle curves totalling 23 miles (37 km) across the moorland. To be precise, there is a sign saying 1142ft. Above sea level.
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.
Ancestral seat of Lady Georgiana of Rannoch, 34th in the line of succession, in Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness (novel) series.
- List of places in Perth and Kinross
- List of places in Argyll and Bute
- List of places in Highland
- List of places in Aberdeenshire
- List of places in Moray
- 1331, 8348. Rannoch Moor, Scottish National Heritage Sitelink. Scottish National Heritage. 2012.
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