After being stuck at home for the last couple of months, thanks to a pesky combination of lockdowns and all the work buses arriving at once, we finally escaped a couple of days ago and headed up to Rannoch Moor – one of my favourite spots.
Lochan na h’Achlaise is just so picturesque (check out the full blog here). We waded across a very boggy bit to get to a couple of little ‘beaches’ and views of the lochan I hadn’t seen before…
One of the big reasons for visiting ‘Glencoe-shire’ was to get some more shots of St John’s Church in Ballachulish, which has a beautiful carpet of bluebells in May. Sadly, I was too late this time and they were over, but here are a couple of shots from 2017:
From there, you’ve got two options for getting home: go back the way you came and see glorious Rannoch Moor from an entirely new and equally stunning perspective or press forward and follow part of the Argyll Coastal Route, taking in the very picturesque Castle Stalker. We did the second one 😊
Side of the road, just outside Appin
Just as the road peaks near Castle Stalker, there’s a café on the right that gives you a great view. The car park is for patrons only, which was no hardship as I was about ready for a coffee. And you really do need to stop in here because pulling over on the road isn’t a viable option unless you want to risk losing a car door.
Now, here I'm going to take a little diversion from views to tell you about a very lively lady I met called Maggie, who lives in Oban and was out for the day with her friend.
She pointed at Ledi: "What type of dog is that?" When I said he was a whippet, she came bounding over and proceeded to tell me about how a whippet had saved her life. She'd been on the beach at Oban a few years ago, when a whippet had charged at her, knocking her over. As she was dusting herself down, she'd felt a lump on the side of her breast, which turned out to be cancerous...."...and if I hadn't been knocked over, I might never have found it that early!"
"Gosh", I said, "how very lucky!"
"I bet I've got more whippet stuff than you", she said. "I've got ornaments, tea towels, pictures..." No actual whippet, though.
Twenty minutes later, she'd told me several more stories about various scrapes she'd got herself into and invited me to stay the next time I was in Oban. "I don't have just anyone to stay, you know, but you're a tonic", and she grabbed my hand, shook it and didn't let go.
I looked at her friend. "She likes you", she said.
D'you know, I think I rather liked her too.
Once you’ve had your fill of this vista, if you get back on the road and turn right towards Port Appin / Lismore Ferry, you can get a ground-level view from a bit more of a distance:
There’s not a huge amount to see from here on, until you get around to Loch Awe, where you can get up close & personal with St Conan’s Kirk and Kilchurn Castle. I’ve visited both on several occasions and the clouds were moving in so we didn’t stop off on this jaunt, but they’re well worth seeing.
St Conan’s Kirk, 2015 & 2016
St Conan’s from the other side of Loch Awe, 2017
Kilchurn Castle, 2015-2017
Getting there: From Glencoe village, follow the signs for Oban. Appin is about 15 miles round the coast. (Check out the Lochan na h-Achlaise blog for directions to Rannoch Moor.)
Sat Nav: Castle Stalker View Café: PA38 4BL
OS Landranger map: 49 OBAN & EAST MULL
Terrain: Sturdy walking boots/waterproof boots for Rannoch Moor, Castle Stalker view is tarmac.
Nearest facilities: Castle Stalker View Cafe