Wednesday 15th was the hottest day of our walk – with a top temperature of 23C – extraordinary for Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. Not far away in the Cairngorms, Aviemore was breaking records with a temperature of 27C while London, I noticed, had a much more moderate 19C. Topsy-turvy weather. What’s more there is very little shelter on Rannoch Moor, which is one very large, but beautiful, peat bog.
After a generous continental breakfast, hosted by the solicitous Japanese owner of the Lodges, we made our way to the bus stop for our return journey to Bridge of Orchy. There were several other walkers doing the same thing and some of them had booked their seats on the bus – I hadn’t realised that was possible or necessary! Fortunately, there was enough room for us all, but we overheard the driver complaining about the booking system, wondering what he was supposed to do if the bus was already full when he turned up at a stop where people had booked seats. Not a happy prospect at the beginning of the walking season! The bus company are doing well out of it though: at £1-a-mile it was almost as expensive as the taxi the evening before.
Walking out of Bridge of Orchy, we crossed the river and continued our walk along the old military road starting, as on the previous day, with a climb up through a pine forest. Once we reached the top of the ridge we were rewarded with a stunning view of Loch Tulla, with beautiful reflections. There was, of course, a cuckoo calling from the trees.
At the western end of the Loch, the Inveroran Hotel provided a welcome coffee stop for us and many others.
After coffee, we crossed the next river and joined the old drove road to climb up around Black Mount and enjoy amazing views eastwards over Rannoch Moor and the Grampian Mountains, with snow still lying in the corries. Rannoch Moor is well-known for being one of the bleakest places in Scotland and yet there was a heat haze. In fact, we found the heat, combined with the lack of shelter and the rough, stony path, rather punishing. At least there was a bit of a breeze, unlike the day before.
The trees around Ba Bridge provided a welcome breather and shortly afterwards we found a small patch of shade, beside an isolated piece of woodland, to have our packed lunch.
There was still 4 miles to go, though to the accommodation for the night – the Mountain Rescue Centre at Glencoe. We needed to be rescued from the heat rather than a blizzard! After a couple of hours, we were relieved to see the sign to the Centre and walked up through the large car park with its shimmering tarmac, to the reception. We were staying in the quirky but basic hobbit houses – 3 in each:
After a reviving drink, shower and meal we settled down for the night.