Total distance – 2.5 Kilometres
Ascent – 120 metres
Walking conditions – Well-defined footpaths and forest tracks. No difficulties.
Nearest town – Fort Augustus
Formerly Kiliwhimin, Fort Augustus was established following the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion. It’s a picture postcard town next to Loch Ness and is perhaps best known for hosting one of the most spectacular of the Caledonian Canal’s series of lochs. Allt na Criche lies just outside Fort Augustus and there’s a great little forest walk circuit that affords excellent views of Loch Ness.
Start the walk at the clearly signposted Allt na Criche car park which is about 1.5 Km north on the A82 outside Fort Augustus. If you choose to go anti-clockwise (like us) you start by walking north up a fairly steep footpath clearly identified by a post with a white stripe (These posts clearly mark the route throughout the walk). Within a couple of hundred metres you will see a waterfall to the right of the footpath. The footpath then takes you directly to a wide forest track with a bridge over the waterfall to your right. However, you’re not going over the bridge here. You’re actually turning left onto the forest track and on to the Great Glen Way. This track provides great views of Loch Ness. and gently winds and ascends for a distance of about 800m until you come to another post with a white stripe turning left down onto to a narrow footpath. This takes you through a dark forest to another wider forest track leading you back to the car park.
Total distance – 5.4 kilometres
Ascent – 170 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined dirt footpaths and forest tracks. some walking required along a single track road.
Time required – Around 2 to 3 hours.
Nearest town – Callander
Callander is a very busy town and for good reason. It’s a great place to visit with a nice little square next to the main road…..and a brilliant chippy. You can also feed the swans and ducks at the river Teith. Callander is also one of Scotland’s great outdoor centres, and as such there are a multitude of nearby walking routes for every range of ability. Bracklinn Falls is a stone’s throw from the town centre and is a great little circuit full of character.
Start from the well sign-posted Bracklinn Falls car park. Walk east for about 700 metres along the easy going footpath that winds down to the Keltie Water and to the spectacular Bracklinn Falls. Take photos, have a sandwich then cross the bridge and head in a generally northerly direction up a fairly steady gradient for about 1.5 Kilometers until the terraine starts to level off and you reach the end of the wooded area. You’re now on open ground above much of the surrounding area so the views are absolutely fantastic. If you’re really lucky, a couple of hundred metres ahead you’ll see a picnic bench and there’ll be nobody sitting there. It’s undoubtedly the best seat in the house! Continue along the track down to the bridge over the Keltie Water. Turn left onto the single track road which takes you directly back to the car park.
Total distance – 4.8 kilometres
Ascent – 40 metres
Walking conditions – Boots required. Some sections through the gorge require sure-footedness as they are a little awkward in places. Some precipitous drops close to footpath.
Time required – 2.5 hours to Steall Ruins and back
Nearest town – Fort William
The first time I passed through the Nevis Gorge I was with a friend on route to Meanach Bothy. It was late at night, very dark and icy underfoot. Soon after negotiating this gorge we decided to stop and pitch a tent for the night. Unfortunately, it was my brand new tent and I hadn’t read the instructions on how to set it up. Embarrassingly, my friend and I, both tired and weary took the easy option of wrapping the tent around ourselves convinced we’d still get a good night’s sleep. We woke up in the early hours of the next day covered in snow. If I ever buy another tent I will not make this mistake again!
Driving along the single track road through Glen Nevis you will eventually reach an abrupt end to this road. That is where the footpath through the gorge begins. You will immediately be aware of the danger warning signs at the point of entering this path. Take heed of them but don’t necessarily be put off visiting the gorge. But please note: If you have small children, keep a tight hold of them as there are a few treacherous drops only a couple feet from the footpath. The rewards are great. After working your way through around 400 metres of a narrow gorge walk the landscape opens up into a magnificent gallery of mountains, waterfalls and a winding river. We normally walk through this wonderful setting for about a 1.5 Km to the Steall ruins next to the bridge. However, the last time we came here, we could not resist the lure of the Burma bridge across the river Nevis, not to mention the spectacular view of the Steall Falls for our picnic location. I’m not one to brag but I successfully negotiated the Burma Bridge because I like to show off in front of the children. On this occasion there were no serious consequences.