Located on the scenic ‘Road To The Isles’, The Loch Rannoch Highland Club’s 85 attractive, pet friendly lodges offer stunning views across the loch and an abundance of leisure activities, writes Anthony Harrington.

THE Loch Rannoch Highland Club, a modern take on the 70-year-old timeshare concept, is located on the banks of Loch Rannoch, a freshwater loch in Perth and Kinross.

As Richard Deak, General Manager of The Loch Rannoch Highland Club explains, every one of the 85 lodges on the seven acre estate offers owners a magnificent view 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 entirely owned by the members, and run by a committee elected by the members.

“The estate goes back to 1974 when Frank Chapman purchased the Loch Rannoch Hotel. He transformed it from a run-down two-star facility to an upmarket tourist destination that employed 100 people and was served by a private helicopter,” Deak notes.

When Chapman bought the hotel, he quickly put in a planning application for a number of lodges that would be ‘multi-owner’. 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, which weeks were available depended on what had already been sold with respect to that particular property, but even today there is plenty of choice.

From the outset, the lodges were top quality, whether they were studio apartments or one, two or three bedroom lodges. With the lodges built and in operation, Chapman launched his visionary Club concept. The complex was opened in 1976 by Scotland’s then-Minister for Tourism, Alan Devereaux.

Timeshare has had a mixed history around the world yet as Deak points out The Loch Rannoch Highland Club was no exception and it had to re-invent itself over the years – and now enjoys a great reputation and a very loyal membership.

“As an independent Members’ Club, we have a great deal of uniqueness to offer as we are run and owned by our members, who use it for their own benefit for generations to come. As such, we are always working dedicatedly to ensure that the range of benefits available to members are absolutely the best that can be offered,” he says.

Prices are extremely reasonable, particularly by comparison with what it would cost a family to holiday abroad for one or more weeks. Deak points out that there is a multi-tier pricing system, depending on whether someone is just renting an apartment for a week, or whether they are buying it on a five year or permanent contract. 

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There is a choice of term membership or permanent membership. The studio apartment will rent out on average for £822.50 for a week. Buying that same apartment (or one like it) on a five year contract will cost £419.92 a year, while the fee for a long-term membership works out at £368.86. 

A two-bedroom apartment will rent for £1235.50 as an average weekly rental price (prices vary depending on the season). A weekly short term membership fee will be £727.46 and the fee drops to £541.22 for a long term membership.

A number of the lodges have their own built-in saunas, while others offer access to a shared sauna on site. Certain of the lodges are specifically designed to be accessible for disabled individuals. All the 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 it suits them.

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The Club is also enrolled with several exchange providers that will enable members to trade their week for a week in any other Club, anywhere in the world.

So, if you have holidayed at Loch Rannoch for three years on the trot and decide you want to holiday in Spain or the Canaries the following year, the Holiday Exchange Provider will do their best to arrange a suitable swap for you.

Since the Loch Rannoch lodges are highly sought after, this is very doable, though there may be additional ‘balancing’ sums to be paid to the participating Resort for the week in question.

If a member decides not to use their scheduled week or weeks, they can ask the Club’s helpful administration team to rent the apartment out for them, potentially generating some income from the property. The Club charges commission for this service.

According to Deak, there is still plenty of scope for new members to purchase a membership with the Club. “The school holidays can be challenging to find a week that is not taken. However, the rest of the year there is plenty of availability.

“Clearly, there is a limit on the number of new members we can have. There are just the 85 Lodges and a number of members have taken from two to eight weeks spread through the year. We keep one week a year free on each Lodge for maintenance and refurbishment since every Lodge is maintained to a very high standard.”

www.lochrannochhighlandclub.co.uk

 

EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS

THE Loch Rannoch Highland Club lies on the traditional main route north to the west coast of Scotland. The road is famously known as the Road to the Isles. Fortunately, major road construction carried out in the 19th Century bypassed the area, leaving the land unspoilt.

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The historic route of the Road to the Isles went along Loch Rannoch as part of the route between Pitlochry on the main Stirling to Inverness road, and Lochaber.

The road is now classified as the B846, and runs along the north shore of the loch, with stunning views to the mountains of Glencoe. The Lodges all benefit hugely from this view across the Loch to the mountains.

The current road terminates at Rannoch railway station on the West Highland Line, some five-and-a-half miles west of Loch Rannoch. The route of the Road to the Isles continues only as an untarmacked track to the west. Members find that the village of Kinloch Rannoch provides a great starting point to explore the Clan trail.

A series of interesting story boards have been placed at accessible points around the loch shore that tell the fascinating tales of clans prominent locally before the 19th century.

 

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR EVERY AGE AND ABILITY

CLUB members also benefit from the subscription to Loch Rannoch Hotel’s leisure facilities.

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These include a 12 metre pool at the Hotel Spa and a lochside gym. The Loch Rannoch Hotel itself is a great attraction, a truly splendid Scottish Highland 4-star resort.

There is no shortage of things to do in the Rannoch and Tummel area, whether it be hiking, biking, Munro-bagging or just rambling through the glorious natural 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 nine miles back to Rannoch Station. Fort William and Mallaig are available as day trips from Rannoch Station.

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There is also a well-equipped children's play park next to the Old Church of Rannoch, south of the river and near the Country Store.