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West Highland Way and Steall Falls

West Highland Way and Steall Falls


Postby HopelessWanderer » Thu May 09, 2019 11:40 am

Hello everyone!

First of all, I'm from Hungary, and I have never been to Scotland! But me and my friends are planning to walk the West Highland Way this summer (and if time allows explore Isle of Skye too). On our way from Kinlochleven to the campsite at Glen Nevis we'd like to make a detour to the Lower Falls at Polldubh and Steall Falls and then walk back to West Highland Way. Looking at the map, it seems to me that we have to go through Nevis Forest, reach the River Nevis and follow it. Could someone give us a bit of advice, how to do it? Do you think it is doable? I mean making this detour and reaching the campsite at Glen Nevis in one day? Thank you!
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu May 09, 2019 2:12 pm

It's a detour of about 15km. Only you can know whether that is possible, but it seems like a lot on top of an already long day. The route would be as you guessed - through the forest and along paths and road to the falls.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby DopeyLoser » Thu May 09, 2019 2:46 pm

IMHO an interesting route would be:

- from Kinlochleven go NE to Coire an Lochain between the hills Sgurr Eilde Mor and Sgor Eilde Beag
- thence go N on path past Binnein Beag and down path to Water of Nevis.
- cross the river and go W on path and you will go by Steall and Polldubh
- there is a forest track from Polldubh to near the campsite. Might be more pleasant than a road surface.

22km 1400m ascent, needs ability to use map and compass.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby rgf101 » Thu May 09, 2019 3:10 pm

If you want to see a waterfall, there's this one
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/mamorelodge.shtml
just outside of Kinlochleven. Could be done the day before once you've dropped your bags in Kinlochleven, or won't add too much distance the next day.

Steall Falls is a huge diversion. I think I'd rather go direct to Fort William, drop bags off, then taxi out to the starting point for this. And maybe arrange pick-up, I don't recall mobile phone reception that far out.
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/steallfalls.shtml
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Caberfeidh » Thu May 09, 2019 3:17 pm

rgf101 wrote: I think I'd rather go direct to Fort William, drop bags off, then taxi out to the starting point for this. And maybe arrange pick-up, I don't recall mobile phone reception that far out.


You could try hitch-hiking, that road has a lot of hill-walking people using it who would likely give you a lift. And the Yoof Hostel in Glen Nevis has been done up all fancy, it is well worth staying in.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby HopelessWanderer » Thu May 09, 2019 8:20 pm

Thank you for the suggestions!

We'd prefer hitchhiking ( travelling on a budget :lol: ), but I suppose it's harder to find someone who would pick up four lads. We'll only have a fortnight in Scotland, after WHW we'd like to climb Ben Nevis and then walk some parts of the Skye trail. So we might not have the time for this detour. But we'll see....
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Plavuizen » Thu May 09, 2019 9:46 pm

DopeyLoser wrote:IMHO an interesting route would be:

- from Kinlochleven go NE to Coire an Lochain between the hills Sgurr Eilde Mor and Sgor Eilde Beag
- thence go N on path past Binnein Beag and down path to Water of Nevis.
- cross the river and go W on path and you will go by Steall and Polldubh
- there is a forest track from Polldubh to near the campsite. Might be more pleasant than a road surface.

22km 1400m ascent, needs ability to use map and compass.

This is exactly the route I plan to do this Tuesday, but in reverse from Fort William. Looking forward to it!
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby LeithySuburbs » Fri May 10, 2019 9:29 am

HopelessWanderer wrote:we'd like to climb Ben Nevis


You can combine Ben Nevis and Steall Falls into a single day - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19702 - although I would probably recommend returning by the "tourist" path rather than the very steep descent to the Bealach Cumhann which I took.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby HopelessWanderer » Fri May 10, 2019 10:33 am

LeithySuburbs wrote:
HopelessWanderer wrote:we'd like to climb Ben Nevis


You can combine Ben Nevis and Steall Falls into a single day - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19702 - although I would probably recommend returning by the "tourist" path rather than the very steep descent to the Bealach Cumhann which I took.


Wow! Thank you very much, this might be the solution for our problem :lol: And from the top of Ben Nevis, we would take the tourist path and walk to the campsite at Glen Nevis, spend the night there, and the next day hurry to Fort William and take the train to Mallaig.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri May 10, 2019 10:03 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:
You can combine Ben Nevis and Steall Falls into a single day - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19702 - although I would probably recommend returning by the "tourist" path rather than the very steep descent to the Bealach Cumhann which I took.


A fantastic route. I've read that trip report more than once. I have been up and down the ben a few times by different routes but never used your descent route. It looks quite tricky navigation and terrain if the weather is not good. There is a horrendous deep dark gully on the ben, near where the descent gets steep towards Bealach Cumhann :shock: .
I have been looking at a linear route from the NF car park, over the ben, to Steall Falls car park and maybe do it in the opposite direction using your descent route as the ascent. I will save it for a great day hopefully this year.
Good to read that one again :D
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby rgf101 » Sat May 11, 2019 10:21 pm

What about up the Ben by tourist path, down CMD arete to the route across to Aonach Mor ( this is the bit I HAVEN'T done), down Coire Giubhsachan (which I've walked UP to from Steall Meadows ) into Glen Nevis, and then out past the falls...

A long day, but feasible? I've seen people take that route off the Ben, but only ever gone up the CMD, not down.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Ben Nachie » Sun May 12, 2019 11:48 am

rgf101 wrote:What about up the Ben by tourist path, down CMD arete to the route across to Aonach Mor ( this is the bit I HAVEN'T done), down Coire Giubhsachan (which I've walked UP to from Steall Meadows ) into Glen Nevis, and then out past the falls...

A long day, but feasible? I've seen people take that route off the Ben, but only ever gone up the CMD, not down.

I have done that descent from CMD to the end of the Glen Nevis road. Perfectly do-able.

Did it after my first attempt to do Aonach Beag, Aonach Mòr, CMD and the Ben. It was winter and the weather turned by the top of CMD.
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby HopelessWanderer » Wed May 22, 2019 9:19 pm

Looking at the map, I was thinking about this: From Kinlochleven to Am Bodach, and then follow the Ring of Steall route all the way to the Steall Falls. Or is it a foolish idea?
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu May 23, 2019 2:54 am

It's a great route over Am Bodach and An Garbhanach etc. For me, it's the finest walk from Kinlochleven to Fort William. I would say it's best saved for a good day. It's an unforgiving place if you make a mistake with your route. Not including Ben Nevis, the area around Steall is the biggest call out for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue and often because someone has got lost on steep ground on their descent into Glen Nevis
The route suggested by Dopeyloser is a good option also though the path shown on the map into Glen Nevis below Binnein Beag is hard to follow on the ground and goes in the wrong direction in general. It's a far easier route but not as good as the route over the tops. Another thing to consider is that the river on some occasions can be impossible to cross
All the best with your trip, it's a great area and if you are coming this far, and getting that close, the Steall Falls and upper Glen Nevis is a place not to be missed :D
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Re: West Highland Way and Steall Falls

Postby Ben Nachie » Thu May 23, 2019 6:52 am

Sunset tripper wrote: *Snip*
The route suggested by Dopeyloser is a good option also though the path shown on the map into Glen Nevis below Binnein Beag is hard to follow on the ground and goes in the wrong direction in general. It's a far easier route but not as good as the route over the tops. Another thing to consider is that the river on some occasions can be impossible to cross
All the best with your trip, it's a great area and if you are coming this far, and getting that close, the Steall Falls and upper Glen Nevis is a place not to be missed :D

If conditions were such that the river was too difficult to cross, you could keep to the south bank and head west to the wire bridge at Steall. The section below the Steall Falls can be very boggy in wet conditions, but apart from that it's pretty straightforwards.

It would be certainly be a memorable day, especially crossing the bridge with a big pack on! :lol:
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