Glen Nevis – March 2019

Glen Nevis Water

Helen Rose Outdoors Diary


It is some years since the HF Walking Club ran a weekend to the Corran Bunkhouse. This year it was decided to revive it as it had been so successful in the past. However, Corran Bunkhouse is a misnomer as it is very upmarket accommodation and does not have any bunks! Corran Bunkhouse  is a 5 star rated hostel by Visit Scotland, situated on the banks of Loch Linnhe, in central Lochaber. It is located at the heart of the Nevis Range; the Mamores and the Glen Coe mountain ranges. It can be found eight miles south of Fort William and seven miles north of Glen Coe on the main bus route from Glasgow to Fort William. The bus stop is right outside the bunkhouse.

I am an advocate for using public transport and use it whenever possible and  travelled on the public bus from Glasgow but the latter half of the journey was in darkness so I could not appreciate the wonderful scenery. It was Burns night and I enjoyed a Burns Supper in the bunkhouse with the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties with a side of malt whisky. Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet and various other names was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in Standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest. Burns night is celebrated on his birthday with the traditional dinner of haggis, turnips and potatoes.

Glen Nevis Burns

The weather forecast was wet for Saturday and Paul, as organiser, suggested it might be better to combine the different grades of walk and do the easier one planned for Glen Nevis. It is good in the club for the lower level walkers to socialise with the high level walkers to get to know other club members. The walk begins by crossing the new bridge by the visitor centre and turning right along the far bank; this is the start of the route to Ben Nevis. After a short distance a wooden sign indicates where the route to Ben Nevis goes off to the left but we continued straight ahead along the River Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Britain at 1,345 metres/ 4,413 feet. The weather is rarely clear walk and this was not an exception as visibility was limited on the walk. This was my first walk in the glen and it was wonderful to walk under this giant that I had climbed many times.

We continued along the riverside path which was very boggy and squelchy and we reached a very wide burn that had to be crossed by stones that were almost covered in water. I am not great or confident at crossing burns particularly as wide as this one but the high level walkers were on hand to give assistance in trying to take large steps from stone to stone. When I reached the other side, I was amazed to look back and wondered how I managed to cross it so a big thank you to all the helpers. At this point my feet were still dry but little did I know there were many more burns to cross as it had been wet for days and, although mild, it continued to drizzle. We were aware we were surrounded by mountains such as Sgurr a Mhaim and Stob Ban but we could not see the tops.

The burn crossings continued and at times we had to walk further uphill to find an easier crossing place as the burns were raging torrents, . At one burn I put my walking pole into the water for balance and it went down a hole which knocked me off balance and into the burn! Many rescuers rushed to my assistance and helped me out but not before I was very wet as my jacket was undone. Fortunately, it was not cold. It was all fun and everyone was in good humour despite the damp. We continued on the path passing below the old walled burial ground of Ach nan Con which had old deciduous trees. There were very unusual mushrooms growing like little shelves on the tree trunk.

Polldubh Falls

Eventually we reached the bridge over the river at the Polldubh Falls where the rushing waters of the River Nevis plunge over a ten metre drop. We turned at Achriabhach cottage onto the forest track and after lunch walked quickly back on the forestry track to the start of the walk as we were now on the other side of the river. The falls were certainly impressive after all the rainfall. It was a wet walk but very enjoyable with all the camaraderie and the help given on the burn and fence crossings. The barbed wire on the fences was vicious and usually on the top so can easily rip waterproof trousers.


That evening we took the short ferry crossing of five minutes from Corran to Ardgour to dine out at the Inn. It is a cosy place and we enjoyed our traditional fish and chips. I left the following morning for the bus trip back to Glasgow. It was a clear day as we passed all my favourite mountains on the route, including Buachaille Etive Mor, wearing its snow cap, and on through Rannoch Moor, with a thin covering of snow. When we reached Loch Lomond there was no snow to be seen on Ben Lomond.

This is a lovely bus journey and also by train, where it passes over the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter film.
A very enjoyable weekend with thanks to the organiser Paul and hopefully it will be repeated next Year?
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Ben A'an April 2019
Danube, Austria. February 2019

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary

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Avatar of HelenRose Scottish hill walker and writer for Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End.

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