Rannoch Moor

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The Black Mount, seen over the wild landscape

Rannoch Moor /ˈræn.ɵx/ (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.[1]

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.


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[edit]

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.

In the 1996 film Trainspotting, Tommy and the gang get off an Intercity train to "get some fresh air" on a hike at Corrour railway station, which is located on Rannoch Moor.

Ancestral seat of Lady Georgiana of Rannoch, 34th in the line of succession, in Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness (novel) series.

See also[edit]


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