There are few natural phenomena in these isles quite as dramatic as the sight of a waterfall, in full spate, thundering over rocks and spraying up mists. Scotland is home to some destination falls. Not all of them are easy to get to. But all are worth the trek.
At the top is Loch Skeen, home to Scotland’s rarest freshwater fish, the vendace at the bottom is the roaring gorge of the Moffat Water valley. From the loch, water descends in a long tail dropping 60 metres to its base. Grey Mare’s Tail, at the heart of a nature reserve maintained by the National Trust, is the fifth-highest waterfall in the UK has drawn many a writer – among them Walter Scott and Robert Burns. Scott described it in his poem, Marmion, “Where deep deep down, and far within Toils with the rocks the roaring linn”, it says, before it goes on to mention the nearby “Giant’s Grave”. This, an Iron Age earthwork, is also worth a visit while at the site. A car park at the bottom of the falls has information panels and maps to help plan your walk – for there is plenty to see, including the peregrine falcons that nest there or the feral goats that wander the landscape
Falls of Glomach, Kyle of Lochalsh
This, one of the tallest waterfalls in Britain, with a single drop of 113m, is also one of its most remote, situated way off the beaten track, several miles walk from any car park. The official route, in fact, is via an 8 mile hike. But it’s worth it – a magnificent site in the wilderness above Morvich, giving off a mist and deafening roar. No wonder this watery plummet is sometimes called “the gloomy falls” or the “forbidding falls”.
Reekie Linn, Glen Isla
An impressive, powerful waterfall, which doesn’t require too much of a hike to get to. It’s reached by just a short walk through woodland, at the rim of a precipitous, dangerous gorge. Reekie Linn is at its best when the river is in full spate and its two falls merge to become one and form a 24m plunge. At its bottom is the Black Dub, a cave, where, according to legend, an outlaw head until the devil appeared to him as a giant black dog, scaring him enough to run away and turn himself in. The linn, or pool, at the base is said to be over 30 metres deep.
Mealt Falls, Isle of Skye
Plunging over the edge of spectacular sea cliffs, including the famous Kilt Rock – so-called because it does indeed look like a kilt – there are few waterfalls more spectacular than the Mealt falls, that rare thing, a falls that emits into the sea. From Loch Mealt, a freshwater loch on the Trotternish peninsula, the waters tumble 55 metres straight into the Sound of Raasay. It’s a short walk from the car park off the A855, and there’s a platform which provides an excellent viewing point.
Falls of Bruar, Blair Atholl
In 1787, Robert Burns was inspired, by the sight of these falls, to write The Humble Petition Of Bruar Water. It was, essentially, a request to the 4th Duke Of Atholl, to complete its beauty by surrounding it by “tow’ring trees, and bonnie spreading bushes” – and such leafy greenery is now what lines it. But Burns is not the only famous figure to visit, and its long been a place of pilgrimage – other visitors have included William Wordsworth and Queen Victoria. In a series of falls, the river tumbles into Glen Garry, over layered rocks, which Burns descrbed as “skelvy”. Perhaps its most famous spot is where the river has broken through the rock to form a natural arch.
Glenashdale Falls, Arran
On the island of Arran is the beautiful Eas a’Chrannaig, or Glenashdale falls, a stepping cascade of the Glenashdale Burn, flowing from moorland near the summit of Tighvein, and descending over 42 metres. As well as the falls itself, nearby are the Giants’ Graves – two chambered cairns.
Falls of Clyde, Lanark
Managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Falls of Clyde is not just a delight for the plunging river itself, but also for the nature around – from Daubenton’s bats to badgers and otters. Reached now via the historic village of New Lanark, the falls have lone been attraction, drawing poets and painters, including Turner and William Wordsworth, who wrote Cora Linn, a poem dedicated to one of its drops. The falls are comprised of four drops, the biggest of which is Corra Linn, which cascades through a dramatic gorge.
Eas a’ Chual Aluinn, Assynt
Britain’s highest waterfall, right at the heart of rocky Assynt, isn’t the easiest to get to. Eas a’ Chual Aluinn, whose name is said to mean “waterfall of the beautiful tresses” is reached by a six-mile walk across boggy land, dotted with lochans, from the road near Kylesku in Sutherland. But its 200-metre sheer drop is probably best seen by boat, on a trip that runs from the slipway at the Kylesku Hotel.
Falls of Measach, Ullapool
The 46-metre falls that tumble down Corrieshalloch, one of the most spectacular gorges in Scotland, are reached by a short, steep walk which takes the visitor over a Victorian suspension bridge. From a platform projecting out into the gorge its possible to look down over the series of thundering waterfalls. It’s owned by the National Trust for Scotland, which maintains the area jointly with Scottish Natural Heritage, and is most stunning when the waters create a spray of mist.
Falls of Shin, Lairg
The big attraction at the Falls of Shin is not so much the falls themselves, but the fact that this is one of the best places in Scotland to view salmon leaping upstream. There are also plenty of facilities – a restaurant, gift shop, mini-golf, playpark – at the nearby Falls of Shin visitor attraction. Here, in the River Shin, surrounded by pine forest, every summer, Atlantic salmon, returned from the open ocean, leap and battle their way up the waters in an attempt to get up stream to where they were spawned, and where they will spawn the next generation.
Fairy Pools, Skye
The fairy pools may not be our biggest falls, but their crystal-clear waters have long drawn people from all of their world to witness their magic. This series of falls in the River Brittle, at the foot of the Black Cuillins, also make ideal, if chilly, wild swimming spots, offering deep pools, jumping platforms and even the possibility of a swim through a natural arch. The walk to the first pool and back is just 1.5 miles.
Steall Falls, Fort William
Close to Fort William, in Glen Nevis, is the incredible An Steall Bàn, or Steall Falls, a waterfall with an impressive single drop of 120 metres. An Steall Bàn means “The White Spout” in Gaelic. View it from a path that runs through the Nevis Gorge, a stunning bit of scenery in itself, managed by the John Muir Trust, and across a cable wire bridge over the river. Walk Highlands describes this as “one of the best short walks in Scotland”.
Source : HeraldScotland