Merged image of a V8 engine, Sherman Tank,  Clementine the Cat, and my MGA in the Alpes

New Year 2003: Loch Rannoch

Group in front of loch

Claire organised a couple of Lodges at the Loch Rannoch Hotel overlooking Loch Rannoch for our New Year celebrations and fourteen of us made it up for the week: Claire, Jason, Robert, Chris, me, Catherine, Adrian, Issy, Sarah, Ken, Pat, Gary, and Carlo. Clementine the cat couldn't make it as he had gone skiing in the Alpes. I suspect a romantic interest...

Extreme Janga match

At the lodge Pat attempts an ambitious multi block full play with transposition in Extreme Jenga!

The lodges were very much nicer than any of us had been expecting, each with an enormous combined kitchen, dining room and sitting room. To the left was a conservatory and balcony both with an excellent view of the Loch.


Group walking up snowy Schiehallion

We managed to get up early enough on the first day to go for a nice walk. It looked nice and sunny on the top of Schiehallion. It started to get a little snowy part way up and Carlo's left arm quickly iced up.

Schiehallion was used by the Reverend Maskelyne to make the first estimation of the mass of the Earth - it's regular pointy shape made it ideal for this.


Group at top of Schiehallion

The top of Schiehallion (possibly). Shiehallion is famous in Scotland for being pointy and is visible from every other Monroe. It was difficult to tell exactly where the top of the pointy bit was as the cloud had fallen and visibility was quite poor.

Carlo's other arm had iced up by this point.


Jason with white hair from frost

Jason misplaced his hat and frosted up a little. His hair isn't normally white but the cloud was freezing. Jason's plans to return to work early were to be thwarted by a landslide. Landslides can often be triggered at this time of year by Haggis mating in the snow.

Find out more about Schiehallion from the John Muir Trust (who bought the eastern face in 1999).


REturn to Renault 4

Back at the Renault we consume our emergency chocolate supply. Rosalie the Renault 4 did a stirling job carrying 5 blokes back to the Lodge with only one small body modification required to clear one of the squinty rear wheels. We even overtook Carlo on the way.


Pat and me playing Extreme Jenga

The Extreme Jenga championships continue with a spectacular single block side placement.

There are absolutely no rules in Extreme Jenga. Points are awarded for the number of blocks removed and repositioned, however most points are awarded for style.


Group in evening

After 12:00 on Hogmanay we started Scottish country dancing in the living room - but it wasn't big enough so we went out onto the road and press ganged passers by into dancing Strip the Willow.

Most of the other evenings were spent relaxing and being sociable (and recovering from the daytime walks).


Group didtorted by curved mirror

We didn't feel up to a long walk on New Years Day for some reason so walked into the deserted centre of Kinloch Rannoch in the rain. Apart from this mirror Kinloch Rannoch has the bizarre attraction of a burnt down hotel next door to a fire station.


Carlo bangs his head

In the photo Carlo has just banged his head on the back of the chair. His friends look on in sympathy.


Chris with GPS in front of signpost

We managed a longer walk on the 2nd. Loch Rannoch is connected to the west by a railway and a footpath. We took the footpath. Chris uses technology to confirm that we have walked off the edge of the map. Those of us with Cellnet phones took advantage of the Glencoe transmitter to organise our trips home.

Glencoe is well worth visiting for the excellent scenery and walking.


Robert on railway line

We decided to tie Robert to the railway line but found that trains only pass Ranoch Station three times a day. Steam trains ocasionally stop there, and you can cross the Loch to arrive at a castle (now a school) beside a dark forest. We went to have a look at the school and found a Quiddich pitch. Hmmm.


Catherine plays Extreme Jenga

The similarities between Quiddich and the (now illegal) Haggis hunting become instantly obvious. Both have Beaters, Chasers, Seekers, and Keepers and the Golden Haggis, like the Golden Snitch, is notoriously fast moving and difficult to spot. It's easy to imagine the origins of the game.

Tension mounts in the increasingly precarious Extreme Jenga match. Has Catherine spotted the possible eleven block full play with double rotation?


Group being silly near roadsign

Claire, Robert, Chris and myself managed an earlyish start on the last day and stopped off at Ben Vrackie on the way home. Fortunately the landslide had been cleared by this point.

It is important to respect the countryside and obey any instructions on signs you might find there. That's Ben Vrackie in the background.


Ben Vrackie Summit

The cloud on top of Ben Vrackie wasn't too dense and we could still see where the sun was. We descended through deep snow to the very fine Moulin Inn and enjoyed their own Braveheart beer with free range farmed Haggis, neeps and tatties finishing off an excellent New Year.

Many thanks to Gary for providing the photos that I didn't have. Next year Claire has promised to borrow a Scottish castle for New Year celebrations.

Wild Haggis are becoming increasingly rare in Scotland. Good on ya to for coming up with a web based haggis hunt that doesn't endanger these fine creatures.

While I was searching the web for links with the aim of promoting the Scottish tourist industry I stumbled across a page by Simon Caldwell which has a photo of a fogbow. I imagine those are as rare as haggis these days.

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