Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse, Rannoch Moor

Scotland, SW Highlands, United Kingdom

William Mackesy’s account of this walk

We walked this fine stretch of the West Highland Way on a hot and clear August day.

Beginning at Bridge of Orchy on the busy A82 road just below where Loch Tulla empties into to the river Orchy, we crossed the river on a fine old military bridge, and struch off from minor road, climbing steadily through pretty woodland to emerge onto a grassy hillside and climb pretty painlessly to a really beautiful viewpoint on a ridge of Ben Ivereigh, with wide views of the nearby mountains and across Loch Tulla towards Rannoch Moor.

A  steady descent to meet the road again at Inveroran and a water break on the bridge, enjoying the charming burn. The low-key hotel here looks like walkers’ heaven.

A beautiful stretch of the little road around the head of the loch, with lovely views west up two wide glens with gorgeous grassy, craggy hills to each side, gets us to the beginning of a long stretch of rough-cobbled old road, which was built under Telford to replace the deteriorating older military road. This involves 2 + hours of gentle climbing and crossing undulating lake-sprinkled moorland.

The boys whizz ahead, engrossed in talk, even though Geordie’s feet are hurting.

The first hour or so is interesting and attractive enough, but in or by pine woodland; the visual fireworks begin as the views open up over Rannoch Moor as you get higher: on a good day you can gaze eastward for miles and miles across moorland, bog and lakelet to distant blue ridges. To your west is the thrilling hole that is Coire Ba, surrounded by cliffs and grassy hillsides. Marvellous.

We eventually reach a ridge-top with new views to the meeting of Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor. Gorgeous. We descend steadily down the flanks of steep Meall a'Bhuirdh, approaching the scarring of a minor ski establishment. Across the main road, a 20-minute trudge gets us to Kings House Hotel, which is not a beauty, but is amazingly sited and actually extremely pleasant to stay in.

 A very good day's walking, although it was our first day on the trail, so we creaked a bit. It took us 5 hours +, including view admirations. Younger people could no doubt do it a bit quicker.

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