Loch Rannoch, New Year 2002-03

For more about the holiday, have a look at Malcolm's pages.

View from the chalets

You can make out Schiehallion looming in the background, shrouded in cloud

Halfway up Schiehallion

We're just above the snow line and starting to get a sense of how wild this mountain is, and what a task it must have been for Maskelyne and Hutton to measure the mass of the earth in 1774.

Nearer the top of Schiehallion

Given the gale force wind, low cloud and snow condensing on our clothes and faces, it was kind of hard to tell where the top of the mountain was. But we were determined to get there, and talking to people coming down again implied that we were going the right way.

At the summit of Schiehallion

Made it! We think. We couldn't find any ways of getting higher, anyway, and so this marked the high point of our achievement for New Year's Eve.

Across the Loch

In the half light of a winter's dusk you can see the Loch Rannoch hotel complex, where we were staying, on the other side of the water.

Early morning biking

Daylight is at a premium in the Highlands in winter, but I tried to make the most of what there was. Here, I've cycled up the side of the Glen before breakfast before being thwarted by one too many six-foot locked gates. Frozen mud, snow and solitude - what more could you want?

Carlo and Robert

Ready to go for a walk. There's the distinctive point of Schiehallion in the background.

Tree Surgery

On the shores of Loch Laidon in the wilds beyond Rannoch Station, Carlo spotted that this tree didn't seem to have much holding it up. But his efforts to topple it were no match for its Scottish toughness. We reckoned that the local haggis were ganging together and holding on to its roots underground.


Pat tries to make a huge snowball whilst being pelted with smaller ones by the rest of us.

Walking home

Through the snowy forest north of Loch Laidon.

The foot of Ben Vrackie

Robert, Claire and Malcolm embark on the climb up Ben Vrackie on a spectacularly sunny day.

Loch a Choire

The snow has formed an amazing ripply pattern on the frozen surface of this loch, half way up Ben Vrackie before the really steep climbing begins.

View from above Loch a Choire

As we near the summit of Ben Vrackie, we're treated to this spectacular view back down towards Pitlochry. I'm assured that the weather is almost always like this in Scotland in the winter ;-)

Summit of Ben Vrackie

Clare, Malcolm and Robert look triumphant at the view point on top of Ben Vrackie, probably because they're looking forward to haggis and a pint by the fire in the Moulin Brewery at the bottom of the hill.

View from Ben Vrackie

There's just enough weather to reveal the view along Glen Garry towards Blair Atholl.


The snow's started coming down again, but that doesn't explain why Claire and Malcolm seem to have their eyes shut.

More snow

On the way down the mountain, we find some suitably deep snow. Marvellous.


You don't expect to see road signs on a little footpath up a mountain, but someone has decided to warn us about some works here. We can't see what, because they're buried under the snow!

Looking back at the summit

Look! That's where we were!

Sunshine on the mountain

As we descend, the sun comes out again and picks out the peak against what's almost a blue sky.

View towards Pitlochry

What a beautiful evening.

Daredevil descending

This wooden bridge was covered in ice, which made the harmless-looking ramp a trap for the unwary. Those of us who fell over (yes, me) warned Robert so he decided to sledge it.