Keith Fergus enjoys the views below the mighty mountains surrounding Rannoch Moor
STOB NA CRUAICHE is a lonely hill rising gradually above Rannoch Moor. It is not the biggest hill (for list tickers it is classed as a Graham), and requires a long walk in to reach its summit, and therefore initial impressions may conclude that it’s a lot of effort for one wee hill. But the walk in is spectacular while the views from the Stob na Cruaiche’s 739m summit are incredible, particularly across Glencoe, and the Mamores.
Leaving the Kingshouse Hotel (having phoned ahead for permission to leave my car there) I walked along the good track following the crisp, clean waters of the River Etive. Even a few deer strayed close to the track seemingly untroubled by my presence. As I gained height, the views along the lochandappled Rannoch Moor opened up with the awesome peaks of Glencoe creating a magnificent amphitheatre behind.
I left the main track after Black Corries Lodge, and a faint path took me deep into Rannoch Moor. Peace and quiet were assured with the only sign of life for the rest of the day being a small herd of deer on a ridge near Stob na Cruaiche’s summit. The Crianlarich and Bridge of Orchy Mountains were still visible, and a new perspective to all of Rannoch Moor’s lochans kept my attention.
The track petered out as I gained the grassy slopes onto Stob nan Losgann, and from here peat hags ensured slower progress to the summit. However, once the top was reached I sat down with my sandwiches and enjoyed the exquisite panorama – the long finger of the Blackwater Reservoir drew the eye towards the great Mamores ridge which in turn led the eye round into Glencoe’s iconic landscape.
I had considered descending south from the summit back to the main track but the terrain made this almost impossible, and so I decided that retracing my steps was the only option. I am never that keen to do this, finding a different route off always
preferable, but on this occasion I didn’t mind so much as I had the joyous symmetry of Buachaille Etive Mor, and the great bulk of Meall a Bhuiridh, and Sron na Creise right in front of me as I made my way back to the Kingshouse Hotel where a welcome pint awaited me. Well, having made use of their car park it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t you agree?
- From Kingshouse Hotel take road N for 100m and then take track E onto Rannoch Moor. Track continues towards NE then E to Black Corries Lodge.
- A way marked path leads around lodge before rejoining main track for short distance from where take path N then NE past Lochan Meall a Phuill, and onto Meall a Phuill.
- Path drops E down to 402m from where grassy slopes climb E to Stob nan Losgann. The terrain becomes rougher and a few peat hags have to be dealt with but an obvious ridge continues E onto summit of Stob na Cruaiche. The descent is a matter of retracing steps W to pick up track near Meall na Phuill and following path back to Kingshouse Hotel.