During our stay in Fort William we also made a trip to the Steall Falls. The Steall Falls (also Eas an Steill or An Steall Ban in Gaelic, which means “the white drain”) are the second highest waterfalls in Scotland with a height of about 120 meters.
The whole Route of the Day…
The plan was to take the bus down to the Lower Falls, but I did not want to wait an hour for it, so we chose to walk past Glen Nevis Visitor Center and Glen Nevis Youth Hostel along the C1162. You should not turn left onto a path, otherwise you are on the direct path to Ben Nevis (and this was not on the this time). It was a wonderful hike and because of my constant stops for photos, it took us almost 2.5 hours just to get to the Lower Falls.
It should take another 2 hours from the Lower Falls to the Steall Falls. The way was not difficult but with some steep spots and who knows me knows how much I hate going uphill. The landscape has made me as breathless as the way itself (and that’s meant as a compliment).
The Nevis Gorge, it’s been said, is where Scotland pays its little tribute to the Himalayas. High walls of crag and boulder rise on either side. The path runs through a narrow gap where forest clings to the steep hillside and the river crashes below among its boulders.
The terrain then became steeper and the river was only visible from time to time, hidden by huge boulders. The path climbs then up a rocky section with the aid of steps and a wooden hand-rail, before reaching the top of the gorge.
We were not prepared for the wonderful sight before us.
The glen suddenly broadens out once more to form a grassy meadow decorated with wild flowers and surrounded by mountainsides and spots with beautiful Scottish Heather.
The Steall Falls crowned the end of the meadow, but suddenly the waterfalls were no longer the main attraction for me. I sat down on a big rock and enjoyed the view. Unfortunately I was accompanied by 100000 Midges and so even the short lunch became an adventure.
(short story to smile.…..yes we had bought the universally recommended Avon “Skin so soft”, but on that day, the only one we needed it, we forgot to put it in the backpack, instead I had it
in my hand luggage on the flight home where it caused an extra security check for me at the airport)
The last third to directly to the waterfall is not for the faint of heart. It goes on a “bridge”, which consists only of a steel cable for the feet and two other steel cables to hold on the river. You go there in about 2–3 meters height. On the other bank, this bridge is tied to a rock that you have to climb up a bit. Then the path continues and leads directly to the waterfall .. we did not go over the bridge (because of my fear of heights) and because so many people were already there. The Steall Falls are a popular spot and at times there were even small “trafiic jams” on the way up, but we would have regretted if we had not made this hike.….
You can find a good route description with maps and GPS coordinates here: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/steallfalls.shtml
and here another great walktrough