Helen Rose, Outdoor Diary: Glen Nevis

Ben Nevis

April, 2024


The HF club arranged the annual winter weekend based at Corran Bunkhouse The Bunkhouse is misnamed as most of the rooms have ensuite and towels are supplied. It is just like a B&B but you make your own breakfast. The walks on offer by the club are both high and low level. I travelled up by bus to Fort William from Glasgow on the Friday afternoon in clear weather but it was surprising there was no snow on the hills. This is unusual for February. We ate in the bunkhouse on Friday evening and thanks to Kathleen for a delicious home cooked meal for our little group.

Glen Nevis


Glen Nevis is one of Fort William’s best assets. Just a few minutes from town, a very picturesque Highland glen stretches out before your eyes as you enter from the west. Formed on the north by the flank of Ben Nevis and two accessible mountains to the east, the glen is a place of peace and tranquillity. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK at 1345 metres (4413 feet) and is the king of them all. In the North West Highlands, near the town of Fort William and part of the Grampian Mountain range.

The River Nevis flows through Glen Nevis on its short journey to the sea and is a major feature of the glen with several spectacular waterfalls. Glen Nevis is considered one of the best examples of a glaciated valley in Scotland. It had been a wet winter so the burns (Scottish for streams) and waterfalls were in full spate.

There were many burns to cross on the journey through the glen. Fortunately, my boots were new and my feet were dry but I was not wearing gaiters so the tops of my socks got wet. A small price to pay! Some of the burns were a challenge to cross and we had to make detours. Along the way, some of the burns were particularly difficult to cross and required some balletic movements!

Forest Bathing

I happened to mention forest bathing as we walked through the trees so everyone started to discussthis as it was a new concept. We are all outdoor types so love convening with nature. We gathered in a group and had a minute’s silence and meditation. One person asked if the walk would get any weirder! At least it was dry. Tips for beginners on forest bathing :

  • Turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory forest-based experience.
  • Slow down. Move through the forest slowly so you can see and feel more.
  • Take long breaths deep into the abdomen. Extending the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation sends a message to the body that it can relax.
  • Stop, stand or sit, smell what’s around you, what can you smell?
  • We will know the steps the next time!


Polldubh Falls

At last, we reached the end of the glen and the burn crossings and came to the Polldubh Falls where the rushing waters of the River Nevis plunge over a ten metre drop. Some people walked down the side of falls to large rocks forming a platform which offers a dramatic photo opportunity from the bridge. We continued on the other side of Glen Nevis on a road to the car park and picnic site for a welcome packed lunch and to recover from the hard walk over the burns.

Compostable Toilets

compostible toilets


At the car park, I noticed the toilets provided were eco-friendly and compostable.  Waste is mixed with sawdust, peat moss, wood shavings, leaves or other alternatives to dispose of waste while using far less water than flushing toilets. At the most basic level, a composting toilet is composed of the top where people sit and the chamber below that collects waste.


On the walk one of our group had a boot malfunction where the sole came away from the boot. Another person in the group happened to have a pair of microspikes which stretch over the sole of the boot and on to the boot sides. This worked for a time but the metal on the sole doubled over so further surgery was needed. JP happened to have a multipurpose tool in his rucksack and used the pliers to bend the sole back. It was a bit like watching a Farrar shoeing a horse! Fortunately, this was on the forestry track back to the car park so no more burns to cross. It was a great day out and no rain until we reached the car. It was good to get back to the bunkhouse with dry clothing but the drying room was full of wet boots and socks.


One of the delights of the Corran weekend is going over on the four minute ferry ride over Loch Linnhe to dine at the Inn at Ardgour. There is no charge for foot passengers so we had a free ferry ride. However, the last ferry is at 9.20pm so we had to make sure we caught it or we could not get back to the Corran Bunkhouse until the next morning. There was much revelry involving whisky in the sitting room of the bunkhouse when we got back from Ardgour.

The following day I caught the bus back to Glasgow. It was a short but enjoyable weekend.

Thanks to James for organising the weekend, JP for leading the Glen Nevis walk and Wailan for the photos of the burn crossing and the ferry.

Coming attraction: Donegal St. Patrick’s Day




Helen Rose's Outdoor Diary: Donegal, St Patrick's Day
John Muir Way. Part 1.

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary, Walks in Glasgow

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

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