May 18, 2012
Today was going to be a leisurely walk over the moors to Kingshouse, so there was no need for us to get up early. But despite this, we were awoken by the slamming of doors in the bunkhouse.
After our breakfast we packed our bags and headed out on the trail shortly after 9 am. It was still cloudy, but it was not raining. It was colder than yesterday, though, and there was fresh snow on the top of Beinn Dorain, the big mountain looming over the village. The first part of the route crossed the River Orchy and headed uphill through a forestry plantation to a high point before descending to the little village of Inveroran. This two-mile section went by quickly and before we knew it we had reached the Inveroran Hotel, where we took a short break.
Just down the road from the hotel there was a paddock where there was a large herd of deer grazing. Clearly these weren’t wild deer, so we guessed they were being raised so they could be hunted later.
The main section of the walk went uphill on an old road which had been built by Thomas Telford. The information sign said he had chosen “gentle gradients” and we greatly appreciated that. This road passed by small forestry plantations and over stone bridges (instead of making us walk through the streams, another of Telford’s design features). Today we saw very few walkers compared to earlier days, so being up on the moors was a lovely experience. The views were quite good even though the mountain-tops were in cloud. We were in no hurry to get to our destination so we paused every so often to take in the open views.
On Rannoch Moor we saw an osprey circling and hovering over the small lochans, but it didn’t seem to catch anything while we were watching it. Finally we reached the high point of the trail and descended the hill, past a ski area and then across the A82 before finally arriving at the Kingshouse Hotel. On the lawn outside the hotel were four or five red deer. We hadn’t seen any deer on the moors, although we knew they must be there because all of the forestry plantations were surrounded by deer-proof fences, but here they were.
Kingshouse Hotel was built in the 1770’s and is in a lovely location with views in all directions of the local mountains. We went down to our room and got settled in. The room had what must be one of the most impressive views in Scotland, as it looked out on the huge mountain Buachaille Etive Mor and down the valley of Glen Coe. We finished off the remaining tea from our thermoses and changed into cleaner clothing. It was very strange to arrive at 3 pm, and we had to make things to do before dinner.
Dinner in the pub was good, as usual for the pubs we had visited. Rosemary had Cajun chicken and Paul had a venison (a.k.a. Bambi) burger. Later when we looked out, the deer were not on the hotel’s lawn, but surely that was just a coincidence. We whiled away the rest of the evening updating the blog and generally enjoying the views.