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Thread: Rannoch Moor 29/30 April

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    Default Rannoch Moor 29/30 April

    I'll be doing a solo (lack of friends!) trip across Lochs Ba & Laidon this weekend if anyone wants to join in. Train times mean it's going to be a leisurely trip, with hectic shuttle.. Plan is to drop the boat at Loch Ba & then drop the car at Bridge of Orchy & catch the bus back to the boat for 09:00. A gentle paddle around through the islands on Loch Ba & through to an island camp on Loch Laidon. Then paddle to Rannoch Station on Sunday & catch the train back to the car at Bridge of Orchy before driving the 80 odd miles to RS to collect the boat (this is the flaw in the plan - 1st train on Sunday is 18:30ish). Still, should be home by 00:30 & don't need to be at work until 07:00 on Mon! Forecast is for light westerlys & southerlies. Haven't done this trip before, so any info on camp spots would be appreciated.

    Sorry for the late notice, but it wasn't really a plan until last night! Prob won't get to check the forum/email until late pm Fri, so feel free to ring me on < -- snipped --> (eve).

    Rhod
    Last edited by monkey_pork; 28th-April-2006 at 07:32 PM.

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    Just a thought Rhod, but if that shuttle is such a major pain, you could try a figure of 8 route, taking in the loch system on the other side of the road from Loch Ba, then into Ba and round it.

    It would be a bit shorter, with portages, but a much more relaxed solo.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    Rhod if you remind me when you get back I will delete your phone numbers so you do not get spam text messages and silly phone calls.

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    Im doing that trip mid may, let me know how you get on, have a great trip.

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    Default Rannoch Moor replies

    Quick office visit...

    John - Thanks for the offer, can you please delete the numbers this evening?

    Tony - The through trip is part of the ethos & the uncertainty at the end only adds to the "potential epic" factor - always a good thing . Thanks for the suggestion though. May actually end up starting on the west side of the road this evening if I can get away early enough to make the buses work.

    Will report back next week.

    Have a good weekend everyone.
    Rhod

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhod
    John - Thanks for the offer, can you please delete the numbers this evening?

    I've just picked this thread up, so I've done it for you now, whilst I saw it.



  7. #7
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    Default Trip report

    Hi All
    I promised to give some feedback on my Rannoch Moor trip at the weekend, so here goes:
    I’m not really into magazine articles that describe a step-by-step route, because it spoils the adventuring aspect for me. There are a few bits of info which people might find useful though, without revealing all the moors secrets.. I do like photos that inspire me to go & explore so I’ll attach some if I can work out how (probably won’t be able to check myself since the work system usually blocks them).
    Doing it all solo meant that I had to leave the car at the start (Loch Ba ), do the trip, leave the boat at Rannoch Station, get the train back to the car & then do the 4hr round trip to collect the boat. It’s a long shuttle on a lot of twisting roads. Not helped by the FIRST train on a Sunday being 18:39 (13:35ish after 29th May, but water might be a bit scarce in the Abhainn Ba then). Anyway I opted to drop the boat & kit at the bridge over the Ba on the Glencoe road, locked as best I could, & then leave the car at Bridge of Orchy & catch the bus back up to the boat. There are a lot of fishermen on Loch Ba & judging from the singing from one outboard dinghy equipped crew I'd be wary of leaving kit unattended for too long (usual few bad apples). I slept in the car on the Friday night, but there are bunkhouses at both the station & hotel at B of O.
    For those interested, I got on the water by 09:30 & got to a campsite on Loch Laidon around 18:00, but I did have a very leisurely day & explored most of the islands & the west arm of Loch Laidon as I went. It was a glorious day & my neck got painfully burnt.
    The Abhainn Ba (river) is shallow & rocky, with some deeper slow sections. I doubted if there was enough flows to link together on the little rapids (we’re talking grade1 – maybe just2 with another 30cm of water) but tried & made it right down, only having to get out & unstick myself twice. I tandem boat wouldn’t have had enough water though & I also ended up snubbing down most of the rocky bits with a pole since there wasn’t enough water to manouver with a paddle. The portage looked like hard work….. A burn joins the Ba before it reaches Laidon, so the last drop into the loch (also the steepest) is faster than the rest. I inspected all the rapids prior to this one just to find a line with enough water, but here I didn’t bother & assumed that I could use the paddle. Result – I made it half way & stuck broadside on on a rock! Take a pole…. Oh yes, the rocks here are rough granite, which is very sharp – not a place for shiny new boats. Luckily mine was battered to start with.
    Loch Ba is shallow & has lots of rocks, below the surface, but they’re mostly avoidable. Loch Laidon is deeper & looks largely rock-free. Pleased at having negotiated the river, I was cruising along at full speed 100m from the shore, dazzled by the sun & looking at snowy mountains when Bang – we stopped dead on a rock! I felt vaguely stupid sitting stuck on top of this rock in the middle of the bay with deep water (couldn’t see the bottom) all around. Not easy to get off it either! I had a few more close encounters later on – quite disconcerting to be looking into deep water & suddenly feel a rock grate under your knees.
    The west arm of Loch Laidon is worth exploring. I’ll say no more!
    I didn’t inspect all the islands from a camping point of view, but the only on really big enough & with shelter is Eilean Iubhur. Plenty of space on the S side to get a tarp or two up & there’s a canoe harbour at the SE corner……. Nesting greylag geese & Divers too just now, so be careful about disturbing them. Sunday dawned misty & cool. I had all day to cover 4km or so, so had a lazy morning in camp reading (this trip wasn’t about mileage).
    A couple of things to note at the Rannoch Station end.
    1. The Touring Guide says to get out from the Dubh Lochain & indeed my map (no comments please Mr Hall!) shows Loch Laidon & the Dubh Lochain being linked. They’re actually seperated by 100m or so of shingle hump. I guess you could haul the boat over, but the access road to the Dubh Lochain is private & there’s a handy slipway at the end of Laidon anyway. This does mean that the portage to Rannoch Station is 1km (as opposed to the guides 0.5) along a sandy track. The trolley was worth it’s weight.
    2. The level crossing is private & the gate is locked, so you’ll need to lift the canoe across.
    In summary a great trip, though I’d avoid the midge months, It’s easily doable in a day, without the diversions, but that would be missing the experience of just being in such a remote landscape.
    Rhod
    (okay - can't figure out the images at the moment - any suggestions welcome!)

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    Thanks for the report, im looking forward to the trip, I think were spending 4 days there so should have plenty of time to explore. With a bit of luck there will be enough rain to make the river navigable by a tandem. Id be interested in seeing the pics, theres a handy guide somewhere, Majikelly will be along in a moment to give you the link, makes it quite easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy
    Id be interested in seeing the pics, theres a handy guide somewhere, Majikelly will be along in a moment to give you the link, makes it quite easy.
    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...87&postcount=2

    Must be getting predictable in my old age

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    I agree that this is a great place to explore..I've been on loch Ba in mid july at dawn..The midgies are diabolicle..Didnt go all the way to rannoch..so after reading the account..add to this years list, will wit to the autumn

    I had socks over my gloves, long sleeves and a jumper around my head with just a wee hole to look thru..So a midge hat and repelant is a must, off course I've carried a midge hat ever since...

    I too would love to post some pictures( I had a panoramic camera on that wee trip) so will read the photobucket guide carefully

    Douglas

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    Angry No photos

    Guys
    I'm afraid that my work system has a blocker on the Photobucket site - so can't post any pictures of the trip. I can email them through to people if they ask. Alternatively if some kind soul with a fast email connection would like to volunteer to post them on the site via Photobucket then I can share them that way......

    Rhod

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    You can email them to me at rhod "at" SongOfThePaddle.co.uk but please resize them to no bigger than 640 pixels on their longest side. Makes them smaller for sending and saves me re-sizing them at this end before I upload them.

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    Default Photos

    Thanks Magikelly - Amelia had already kindly volunteered, so won't need your services this time.......
    Rhod

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    Default Rhods photos

    Hi all,
    Rhod's work internet is blocking him from putting up the photos, so I'm posting them on his behalf. Enjoy!
















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    Default Hats off to the man

    A belter of a trip; you got grand weather for it too.

    I reckon you deserve a medal for the logistics of that shuttle. True dedication, well done mate!
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    Well done Rhod,

    Glad Amelia put the photos on.

    Weather looks great. This is a trip Alan Ramsay and myself are thinking about. We have paddled Loch Ba a few times and a small section of the river. Last time we were on the river two of our party managed to get wedged between two rocks in the middle of the river.( Photos and post in BLOGG under Loch Ba /river Ba.It is a great viewpoint for the mountains especially when they have snow on the summits.Recognised Buachaille Etive Mor (GLENCOE) from Loch Ba.
    We stayed at the bunkhouse at Bridge of Orchy but there are no cooking facilties. Breakfast is available in the hotel. We had a meal there and it was excellent.

    MM.
    Last edited by Mutineering Maggie; 5th-May-2006 at 10:53 PM.
    Maggie.

    ''One is always wiser after the event''

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    Looks like beautiful country.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

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    Quote Originally Posted by pierre girard
    Looks like beautiful country.
    Doesn't it just. Contrasts strongly with the deep valleys, and rolling farmland that our rivers run through.

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    Cheers Tony - if I'd known you were in my back garden I'd have come across, instead of spending most of the weekend (exept for a short sea kayak excursion) painting preservative on the house (it's wooden)! I think your Ba/Laidon trip was more exciting though - I definately wouldn't have wanted to pole back up the river - far too much like hard work!
    Rhod

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    Just back from a somewhat less formidable trip on Loch Laidon. I only had a day and a half so just went from Rannoch Station to Eilean Iubhair, camped the night, and back the next day.

    It is a great place to paddle. Like Cache Lake, Laidon is 'protected by distance' and I saw no-one, nor any sign of previous campsites.

    To add to Rhod's points.

    It's a long way to Rannoch Station - I live in the same county and it's still a 2hr drive.

    Fishing permits (£5) available at the cottage by Dubh Lochain. The ghillie is helpful. The fish are mainly by the islands, although I drew a blank this time.

    The ghillie was also happy for me to paddle Dubh Lochain and portage over the shingle bank. I did this but do not recommend it. There is a lot of weed and you can neither paddle though it nor walk on it. Use the track and put in direct to Laidon by the slipway.

    There is a lot of bird life.

    The ghillie said that there had been loads of people paddling the loch this year. I asked how many and he said 'about 15.'

    No midgies yet, but it won't be long.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc
    The ghillie said that there had been loads of people paddling the loch this year. I asked how many and he said 'about 15.'
    We were four of them.

    Did the crossing from Loch Ba with 2 boats last weekend, and back out the same way. The river Ba was too low even to line the boats down (although a bit of technique would have helped in places!), so lots of new scratches from the rocks, and lots of dragging across the moor involved.

    Met two kayakers who were also camped on Loch Laidon.

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    Im just back from 4 days on Ba and Laidon, The portage went flawlessly. We all met at the put in, two of us drove the cars to Rannoch station and caught the train back to Bridge of Orchy where a prebooked taxi waited to bring them back to Loch Ba. Crianlarich Taxis (01838300307) chaged us &#163;20.
    The two left with the boats had meanwhile set up camp on Eilean Molach, and returned to pick up the drivers.
    On day two we expected a portage on the Abhainn Ba but in the event managed to paddle all except two bits, and we lined those. We left a fair bit of royalex behind though.
    Day three we explored the western arm of Loch Laidon and on day four we headed out to rannoch. All in all a great trip, thanks to those who went before and gave advice, and left the area so unmarked by their passing,
    Last edited by andy; 22nd-May-2006 at 10:18 AM.

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