Loch Rannoch, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - Scotland - Perthshire -

Nestled in the Perth and Kinross region of the Scottish Highlands, Loch Rannoch is a glacial freshwater lake often considered to be the most beautiful place in Scotland. Located near the center of Scotland, the lake is convenient to Scots and appealing to travelers from abroad. Loch Rannoch is a long, narrow lake, about 9 miles long west to east, with an average width of less than a mile. One site of interest on the lake itself is the crannog located at its western shallow end. Loch Rannoch’s crannog, a small artificial island made of wood and stone, is an ancient structure built hundreds of years ago. The crannog has a small decorative building on it, known as a folly. These structures are common in Ireland and Scotland, but seeing ruins of ancient buildings and remnants of history is fascinating nonetheless.

Roads along the north and south shores border the lake, with the village of Kinloch Rannoch within walking distance of the lake at its eastern end. The small village serves as a tourist center and meeting place for those interested in abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. The remote area has a small population, with most local residents involved in the industry of tourism, forestry, or agriculture. Travelers will find hotels, pubs, shopping, and great local restaurants in Kinloch Rannoch, along with cheerful business owners who are happy to showcase their goods and services. Visitors planning to dine in any of the local establishments or shop at a particular time are advised to call ahead. The secluded location and varying amounts of business and clientele allow some businesses to keep irregular hours. To the north of Kinloch Rannoch are the remains of the village Killichonan, a former community of the MacGregor clan. An extensive walled graveyard identifying many members of the clan is still in place. The waters of Loch Rannoch are visible in the distance from the Killichonan cemetery. Only a few farming homesteads and a power station remain active in the area.

The waters of Loch Rannoch are a draw to those who enjoy sport fishing from shore or by boat, and the lake is legendary for the very large brown trout caught in it. Arctic char and pike also are plentiful. The area is also known for its wildlife, from peregrine falcons and deer to pine martens and red squirrels. Biking and strolling along the lake are excellent opportunities for seeing the local fauna in their naturally beautiful surroundings. Cycling is a pleasure on the 22-mile (35-kilometer) road that encircles the lake; the ground is flat and experiences low traffic, so riders can fully appreciate their surroundings. Traveling along the north shore, which is known as the Side of Gentle Slopes, cyclists often stop for a rest or a picnic on one of the sandy beaches found there. The whole north side is a peaceful escape, featuring wild heather-covered hills, birch woods and pristine fields and views. The lake is also known for rafting, canoeing, kayaking, motor boating, sailing and windsurfing. Much of the lake is calm, but it does have large areas of rough water that make whitewater rafting a popular sport. The area is also brimming with popular land-based pastimes: walking the hills, hiking, backpacking, orienteering, archery, mountain climbing, rock climbing, bird watching, horseback riding and golf.

Much of the area surrounding Loch Rannoch is beautiful wild country, with Tay Forest Park found on the southern side (the largest vestige of the ancient Caledonian Forest and an excellent area for strolling) and Rannoch Moor to the west (a 50-square-mile National Heritage site). Unfortunately, deforestation has taken its toll in the area, as it has in much of the Scottish Highlands. Efforts to revitalize the area’s forests are underway.

To the southeast of the lake, the skyline is etched with the outline of Schiehallion, a 3,552-foot (1,082.6-meter) high mountain. This Munro–a Scottish term for mountains that exceed 3,000 feet–is a gorgeous backdrop to the village of Kinloch Rannoch, its distinctive profile seen from a distance in all directions. With its location near the very center of the country, it’s a well-known landmark.

The views are typical for the Highland Perthshire: Rugged mountains surround all sides but the east. On the eastern end, the Rannoch Power Station was built, and became the first to be automated in Scotland in 1953 and a tourist attraction in its own right. The ribbon lake runs west to east, with the River Tummel originating just past the dammed end of the lake. Scottish and Southern Energy currently runs the power station operation and controls the dam’s outflow. The power station is one of nine built along the River Tummel hydroelectric route. With its heavy annual rainfall, this power system generates a significant amount of energy for use throughout the area.

Although Loch Rannoch is remote, it’s also only 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) from Perth to the southeast, 13 miles (20.9 kilometers) from Loch Tay to the south, less than 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) to either Pitlochry or Blair Castle, and less than 86 miles (138.4 kilometers) to Edinburgh. The lake is a secluded jewel worth the trip to experience all it has to offer. Rannoch Station, the rail connection to the rest of the country, is the most remote train depot in Great Britain, but it serves well to take visitors to nearby centers of shopping, as well as other sightseeing destinations and entertainment, including visiting historic castles, lush gardens, theaters, art galleries and museums.

For rail travelers, the West Highland Railway Line, which is thought to travel along the most scenic routes in the world, connects the area near Loch Rannoch to the rest of Scotland, making rail travel to the area a very tranquil experience with stunning views. The road along the lake runs west through the hamlet of Camghouran, a very beautiful little spot, and then continues exclusively to reach the Rannoch Station, where it terminates.

Despite being embedded deep in the Scottish Highlands, travelers will be delighted to find many fine vacation rental opportunities in the region. Hotels and resorts are available, but the true flavor of the countryside is experienced when opting to stay in a wonderful stone cottage holiday rental that has been updated with modern amenities. Although the exterior may suggest a previous era, many of these self-catering holiday homes are very contemporary within and offer an unforgettable travel and vacation experience. Varying from small one-bedroom cottages to large stone lodge accommodations meant for larger groups, travelers looking for the right place to spend their downtime on vacation–or their years of adventure in retirement–are certain to find the perfect piece of real estate in Northwest Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands.

Things to do at Loch Rannoch

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Ruins
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Loch Rannoch

  • Brown Trout
  • Char
  • Pike
  • Trout

Loch Rannoch Photo Gallery

  • View from the top looking towards Loch Rannoch

Loch Rannoch Statistics & Helpful Links

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Water Level Control: Scottish and Southern Energy

Surface Area: 4,737 acres

Shoreline Length: 22 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 668 feet

Average Depth: 167 feet

Maximum Depth: 440 feet

Water Volume: 789,391 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1935

Water Residence Time: 4 months

Lake Area-Population: 300

Drainage Area: 7 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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