Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor

We drove across Rannoch Moor and down through Glen Coe to get here. The rain that began as we drove up beside Loch Lomond had actually stopped but the clouds were what we now know to be their usually solid and relatively low self. We don’t stop and gawp with Guillaume in tow so, with a lack of rain this morning, we thought we’d pop back solo and have a touristy look.

There’s a Glen Coe visitor centre so we made that our first port of call. There are ticket machines in the car park. “This is a visitor centre; surely they don’t charge people to park at the visitor centre?”, I thought. When you read the notice on the ticket machines, it mentions that “the suggested donation is £2”. I wonder how many think it’s a compulsory fee? The centre being run by the National Trust for Scotland and Francine being a member of the National Trust, we figured we were OK. Oh look, more touristy stuff on sale – well, well.

J01_0094 Glen CoeWe continued up the glen and paused for Francine to play with her camera and new set of fancy Lee Filters, and for me to check out some habitat (no one around). With dull grey skies, if you are going to take pictures at all, it seems to be best to try and frame the offending sky out of the shot.

We continued to the high point and starting driving past some of Rannoch Moor. We’ve read that Rannoch Moor “is large enough easily to swallow the English Lake District”, which I found surprising. I know where I’d rather be, too. It’d probably look impressive with the mountain – sorry, hill – peaks backed by blue sky but, as usual the sky was dull grey. We popped back to a photographically famous white house on the moor, just below the Glen Coe ski station, but that was swamped with cars and a film crew so snapping it was pointless.

The rain began so we took shelter in the ski station cafe to be entertained by mountain bikers riding up in the chair lift, their bikes slung on a purpose made hook on the side of the chairs, and then screaming back down on their bikes. Other than the fact that it was being done in the rain under grey skies, this seemed reasonably sensible: save the effort of riding uphill by using a chairlift, then coast downhill with the aid of good ol’ gravity. Bravo!

J01_0100 Francine takes a picture_MG_3009 Francine's pictureThe rain eventually passed and the mountains could be seen once again, though the skies remained very largely grey, so we went to let Francine play with her filters again. We’d spotted a hawker zooming about (I assume a Common/Moorland Hawker) as we arrived so, while she was shooting, I went hunting but failed to find anything. I decided to take a picture (left) of Francine taking her picture (right). Obviously the line up and focal length used are very different – Francine has a nice moorland stream for foreground interest – but it also shows the difference a Lee ND6 (2 stop) hard grad filter makes to the mountain in the shot. Nice one, Francine!

We returned calling in at Glen Coe lochen for a short (2-mile) wander, where we spotted what I suspect was a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) -it didn’t settle – in one of the most northerly outposts of its range, and at Ballachulish to get a few provisions in the local Co-op, where there was little in the way of choice. We did find a decent bit of rump steak which made some enjoyable steak fajitas for dinner. 🙂

Posted in 2012 Scotland

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