It has been said once or twice that it rains a lot here in Scotland but that shouldn’t stop us from getting out and about. Of course, the distilleries will say today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky which is great, however, if you want to enjoy another by-product of the Scottish weather check out some of the waterfalls in Scotland. For me, autumn, winter and maybe early spring will show off the falls in all their glory. More rainfall and snow will produce some spectacular scenes.
Here are five of my favourite waterfalls in Scotland:
Seeing this impressive falls requires a bit of effort and is not for the faint hearted. Although a fairly straight forward walk, I would advise sturdy footwear. There are several options for lengths of walk along Glen Nevis, the gorge and to the falls and depending on how keen you are for a walk or just want to see Steall Falls. The path is uneven, can be slippery and is narrow with a steep drop in places too.
The first time the Dude and I did this walk it was the day after we had walked up Ben Nevis and I was a little sore (to say the least!). I may have cursed as I clambered over rocks but once in the glen all the pain of built up lactic acid was all forgotten about. Like something out of a film set the landscape opens up and you feel like you are stepping into Jurassic Park. It’s very impressive.
The second highest waterfall in Scotland and it stands (or falls) at 120metres and is a single drop. You don’t have to get too close to sense the power of it. You can hear the white noise of water and feel the mist on your face. If you do have the desire to get closer you can get your feet wet or cross the wire bridge. I managed it, more out of pure bravado and not wanting to be upstaged by Dude. I am not scared of heights but the thought of falling into the icy cold waters was incentive enough to concentrate and get over and back in one piece!
If you are lucky enough to have this place to yourselves (as we have in more recent visits) you may spot red deer, golden eagles, dippers and small lizards too. The area is a haven for flora and fauna. Well worth the effort but please take care, it’s not a flip flops kinda walk.
Falls of Clyde
Any visitor to the four linn (waterfalls) will be in for a treat. Starting off at New Lanark village, this three mile route around the Falls of Clyde nature reserve is a real treat. You don’t even have to leave the village before seeing the lowest part of the falls, Dandaff linn. You can admire it from a comfy bench and eat jaffa cake ice cream (other flavours are available) or press on up the steps and along the boardwalk.
The reserve is home to badgers, herons, dippers, otters, bats and kingfishers and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The walk through the woodland has the constant murmurings of flowing water alongside you adding to nature’s orchestra.
There are view points for admiring and taking photos of each linn and there are short steep hills and sets of steps to climb the further along you go, but I promise it is worth the effort.
Black Linn – The Hermitage
I feel super lucky to have this near enough on my doorstep here in Perthshire, it’s a really pretty walk, full of character, wildlife and history. Each season brings it’s own party trick but for me Autumn top trumps the rest at Black Linn.
The walk from the car park is flat, making the falls and Ossian’s Hall all easily accessible and the river runs alongside the path, so keep your eyes open for any wildlife.
It is from here that some of the best views of the river Braan can be seen. It is also a cracking spot to watch for the salmon leaping in a quest to get to their spawning grounds further along. This is a real wildlife spectacular. The falls aren’t actually that high here but it’s narrow and the rocks make it treacherous and difficult to navigate. Although this is hard to believe just a few metres under the bridge and the water flows calm and silently away.
As you walk through the woods there is no reminder of the busy A9, only the birds singing and sound of the water flowing. Not far from Black Linn falls is Rumbling Bridge where you can also see the waterfalls and almost feel the power of the rushing water. A nice addition to the walk but it does take you out on to a road.
I won’t lie, until our North Coast 500 road trip one autumn Rogie Falls had passed undetected on my radar, so for me this was a real treat to stumble upon. Headed west out of Contin in Ross-shire we saw the Forestry Commission for Scotland signs for the view point and walk (double bonus points – there are also toilets here).
It is just a short walk to the falls from the car park but in places it is steep and uneven.
I was excited to see a suspension bridge over the Black Water river ensuring that visitors get the full power of the falls. We were there in October and there had been quite a lot of rain (I know that’s hard to believe in Scotland) and the roar of water was deafening. The air was damp with the spray and made it very atmospheric.
This is also another prime spot to look out for the leaping salmon and the view points and bridge here gives a great vantage point. The falls are about 30ft high but I think they demand a much bigger presence than their stature.
There are walks along the river if you are spending time in the area or want to stretch your legs and explore.
Falls of Dochart
In the very sweet village of Killin at the westerly end of Loch Tay you will find the Falls of Dochart.
Unlike some of the others I have mentioned above, no effort at all is needed to see them. They are very much a focal point as the river Dochart flows through the village and is crossed by a narrow bridge which was built back in 1760. At certain times of the year more of the rocks are visible due to the lack of water. Compared to other times when the noise of the water falling is deafening.
Rather than one compressed falls, Falls of Dochart is wide and has a series of smaller drops, rocks and the island of Inchbuie to negotiate. The island is the ancient burial ground for the McNab clan who lived in the area for around 800 years.
There are many walks in this area, some lovely places to have lunch and some cracking views.
These are just a small selection of the waterfalls in Scotland and as you can see some need more effort to reach than others.
I find that there is something quite enchanting about their power and beauty and I always find myself drawn to them. The noise of the water as it forces it’s way through small channels of rock, the wildlife and how the landscape changes. For anyone visiting Scotland in winter or early spring you will be rewarded with some spectacular waterfalls.
What’s your favourite waterfall walk?