Why Loch Rannoch Highland Club is the perfect natural playground (Image: Loch Rannoch Highland Club)
Located on the scenic “Road To The Isles”, the 85 attractive, pet-friendly Loch Rannoch Highland Club lodges offer stunning loch views and an abundance of leisure activities, writes Anthony Harrington.
Loch Rannoch Highland Club, a modern take on the 70 year old timeshare concept, is located on the shores of Loch Rannoch, a freshwater loch in Perth and Kinross.
As Richard Deak, Managing Director of the Loch Rannoch Highland Club, explains, each of the 85 lodges on the seven-acre estate offer owners wonderful views of the Loch and the famous Munro Schiehallion.
At the same time, the whole concept of this particular club is unique in that it is completely member-owned and managed by a committee elected by the members.
“The estate dates back to 1974 when Frank Chapman bought the Loch Rannoch Hotel. He transformed it from a run-down two-star establishment into a high-end tourist destination that employed 100 people and was serviced by a private helicopter,” notes Deak.
When Chapman purchased the hotel, he quickly submitted a planning application for a number of lodges that would be “multi-ownership”. His idea at the time was to sell each lodge by the week, with owners buying one or more weeks at a time of their choosing. Then, as now, of course, the weeks available depended on what had already been sold for that particular property, but even today there is plenty to choose from.
Right from the start, the lodges were top notch, whether they were studios or one, two or three bedroom lodges. With the lodges built and operational, Chapman launched his visionary club concept. The complex was opened in 1976 by Alan Devereaux, then Scottish Minister for Tourism.
Timeshare has had a mixed history around the world Yet, as Deak points out, the Loch Rannoch Highland Club has been no exception and has had to reinvent itself over the years – and now enjoys an excellent reputation and a very loyal membership.
“As an independent members club, we have a lot of uniqueness to offer as we are managed and owned by our members, who use it for their own benefit for generations to come. As such, we always work with dedication to ensuring that the range of member benefits is absolutely the best that can be offered,” he says.
The prices are extremely reasonable, especially compared to what it would cost a family to vacation abroad for one or more weeks. Deak points out that there is a tiered pricing system, depending on whether someone only rents an apartment for a week or buys it on a five-year or permanent contract.
There is a choice of fixed term membership or permanent membership. The studio will rent on average for £822.50 for a week. Buying that same apartment (or a similar one) on a five-year contract will cost £419.92 a year, while the long-term membership fee is £368.86.
A two-bedroom apartment will rent for £1235.50 as the average weekly rental price (prices vary by season). The weekly short term membership fee will be £727.46 and the fee drops to £541.22 for a long term membership.
A number of lodges have their own built-in sauna, while others offer access to a communal sauna on site. Some lodges are specially designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. All lodges are pet friendly.
Deak points out that owners are free to swap their week for a different week later or earlier in the year, if that suits them.
The Club is also registered with several exchange providers who will allow members to exchange their week for a week at any other Club, anywhere in the world.
So if you have holidayed at Loch Rannoch for three years in a row and decide to holiday in Spain or the Canary Islands the following year, the holiday exchange provider will do their best to arrange an exchange appropriate for you.
As Loch Rannoch lodges are in high demand this is entirely doable, although there may be additional monies to be paid to the participating resort for the week in question.
If a member decides not to use their scheduled week(s), they can ask the Club’s administrative team to rent the apartment for them, which could generate income from the property. The Club charges a commission for this service.
According to Deak, there are still plenty of opportunities for new members to purchase a Club membership. “During school holidays, it can be difficult to find a week that is not taken. However, the rest of the year there is plenty of availability.
“Obviously there is a limit to the number of new members we can have. There are only 85 lodges and a number of members have taken two to eight weeks out over the year. We keep one week free per year on each Lodge for maintenance and refurbishment as each Lodge is maintained to a very high standard.
EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Loch Rannoch Highland Club is on the traditional main road north of the west coast of Scotland. The route is known as the Route of the Islands. Fortunately, major road constructions carried out in the 19th century bypassed the area, leaving the land untouched.
The historic Isles Route route skirted Loch Rannoch as part of the route between Pitlochry on the main road from Stirling to Inverness and Lochaber.
The road is now graded B846 and runs along the north shore of the loch, with stunning views of the Glencoe mountains. The lodges all benefit immensely from this view across the Loch to the mountains.
The present route ends at Rannoch station on the West Highland Line, about five and a half miles west of Loch Rannoch. The route of the Route des Iles continues only on an unpaved track to the west. Members find the village of Kinloch Rannoch to be a great base from which to explore the Clan Trail.
A series of interesting storyboards have been placed at accessible points around the shore of the loch which tell the fascinating stories of locally important clans before the 19th century.
FUN ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES AND ABILITIES
CLUB members also benefit from subscription to the leisure facilities of the Loch Rannoch Hotel.
These include a 12m swimming pool at the hotel spa and a lochside gym. The Loch Rannoch Hotel itself is a big attraction, a truly splendid 4 star resort in the Scottish Highlands.
There is no shortage of things to do in the Rannoch and Tummel area, be it hiking, biking, Munro-bagging or just hiking through the beautiful nature environment. There is also archery, angling, stalking and shooting. Guided tours are available from Highland Travel or guests can take the train to Corrour and walk the 14km to Rannoch station. Fort William and Mallaig are available as day trips from Rannoch station.
There is also a well-equipped children’s play park next to the old church at Rannoch, south of the river and close to the Country Store.