We set of to Scotland, in particular the west highlands, rugged hills, majestic
forests and unspoiled wilderness to explore. Going north from Glasgow we found our way to a place called Rannoch
Moor, 50 square miles of some of the most beautiful scenery this part of the world has to offer. Rocky outcroppings
dot the hills and valleys that are covered with a blanket bog where streams and waterfalls seem to appear out
of nowhere. It is a walker’s paradise with everything from well-trod paths for the casual hiker to slabby rocks to
scramble up for the more adventurous.
The landscape was formed as glaciers moved over the area during the last ice age
over 10,000 years ago, and it doesn’t appear to have changed much since. One of the many things that stunned us was
that we could turn a full 360o and not see any evidence of man, no
fences, no telegraph polls, not even any footpaths from where we were, it was the perfect wilderness!
The midges, the midges, am no gonna kid
If you have encountered these wonders of nature before you will
know that midges are *!%£?& annoying! They will drive you mad without doing you any real harm (unless
you count hundreds of itchy red bites all over face and arms) which makes them a perfect addition
to any GM’s toolkit. These creatures are perfect for tormenting the players with (for the purposes
of the dramatic tension, of course!) whilst out in the wilderness. In game terms they can give
penalties to skills such as stealth and hunting (with all the flapping of arms they’ll be doing
chasing these wee beasties away), it can cause tempers to fray amongst the player and the NPCs or
simply provide further motivation to complete the quest and get back to civilisation. Maybe there
are some magical potions or spells they can purchase to get rid of the little blighters, a rare
herb to rub on their body, or perhaps an offering to the right god or spirit will ensure they leave
the players alone, for a little while at least!
We half hoped to see a red deer whilst we were there; we never imagined we would
be treated to a whole herd grazing on the hill opposite it us while we had our evening meal.
Another, less welcome group of locals were the midges, in summer they are out and
they bite! We walk through a cloud of them near a stream on the way back to camp, they followed us and were quite
the pest so be warned.
Another thing to be aware of is the rain, even on a summer’s day the odd cloud can
drift over the hills and soak you in minutes. Waterproof footwear is a must as the blanket bog acts as a sponge
holding a huge amount of water so socks can be ruined in a single step. If you are thinking of camping be sure to
have a tent that can handle a good downpour as it is likely to be tested out here, cheap festivals tents just won’t
keep you dry.
This shouldn’t spoil such an amazing place to visit; the scenery and wildlife are
Rannoch moor can be reached by car or by train as there is a station on the moor
serviced by the famous West Highland Railway.
Visitors can find an excellent meal at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel nearby which is most welcome after
a long day trekking in the outdoors.
This a great place to visit for anyone wishing to experience the highlands of
Scotland in all their glory.
For more information visit the Perthshire website here http://www.perthshire.co.uk/index.asp?pg=356