Rannoch Moor is a great expanse of boggy moorland occupying an area of approximately fifty square miles extending from the western end of Loch Rannoch towards Glencoe and the eastern boundaries of Lochaber. Several tributary streams whose sources lie on the Rannoch Moor come together at the Kings House Hotel at the head of Glen Coe to form the infant River Etive. From here the river descends through Glen Etive, tumbling over a series of fine pools and rapids, to reach the sea at Loch Etive.
At the north-western end of Glen Etive stand the two mountains known as the "Herdsmen of Etive": Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag. To the east are the peaks of The Blackmount of which the most northerly is Meall a'Bhuiridh, 1,108 metres (3,635 ft), home to the Glencoe Ski Centre and a mountain prominent in the view across Lochan na h'Achlaise from the A82 road across Rannoch Moor. Further south and west, where the River Etive meets the loch stands the handsome Ben Starav, 1,078 metres (3,537 ft) and even further beyond Ben Cruachan, 1,126 metres (3,694 ft).