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Loch Rannoch

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Stretching nine miles from east to west this loch, north east of Perth, is one of Scotland's most beautiful tracts of water. No major roads run here so car trips are peaceful and scenic, taking in picnic spots and viewing points.

Just about in the centre of Scotland as a pin might stick, Loch Rannoch is in the heart of woody Perthshire so it's a great stopping-off-point for road trippers; having said that, one of the main roads through stops at Rannoch Moor and goes no further, so check maps before planning a route! The main town, Kinloch Rannoch, sits on the easternmost point of the loch and is where most shops are located: there's a tea room and a smokery selling local speciality meats, plus a little station for those arriving by train. Walkers come here to enjoy the peace and solace of the misty moorland and rugged terrain.

Pitlochry is a bigger town and slightly further off yet still an easy drive, with a good array of eateries and views to match. For those content to settle by the loch there are all the usual watersports and is a must-see for nature-lovers. Going down to a depth of 140 metres, cold currents make it a little chilly for dippers but angling is the sport: the loch is home to brown trout and a small run of salmon, pike and perch and there are plenty of sandy beaches on which to set up a picnic and throw out a line. Bikers love the 22 miles of scenic cycling on peaceful roads, pulling up now and then to take in the views and silence.

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