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Nevis Gorge

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An excellent short walk for when the high tops are inaccessible. Basically, this walk circumnavigates Meall Cumhann (698m), with grand mountains scenery at all points, including upper Glen Nevis with its Steall Waterfall and the Mamore Ridge across the glen. Some steep, grassy ground has to be crossed, so you should be sure of your footing but otherwise there are no technical difficulties.

Drive up Glen Nevis to park at the terminal car park. This quickly fills up on popular days. The first section takes one through the gorge, with Himalayan scenery; rocks, mountains, pine trees, steep drops. Be careful here! The waterworn rocks in the upper section of the gorge are particularly splendid, with worn potholes visible on the cliff walls.

The gorge leads to the meadow above, with Steall waterfall now visible ahead. Steall Cottage on the other bank is now a private climbing hut, with access only possible on foot by a scary wire suspension bridge. Stay on the path, which is often muddy here and start climbing up just before the old Steall ruin, where the burn descends from Coire Giubsachan. Continue up the west bank of the burn to reach the col at the mouth of the coire.

Numerous boulders have been left stranded by the glacier here, many of them studded with dull red garnet stones. Above is the Carn Mor Dearg arÍte leading west to Ben Nevis and right to Carn Mor Dearg. The rocky SW spur of Aonach Beag defines the east wall of this fine coire, which has a flat valley not seen from below.

The route now heads up and left towards the col between Meall Cumhann and Ben Nevis. Cross the col and begin to head across and slightly down the steep, grassy slopes, heading for several isolated trees. You may have noticed that you are now on granite, having left the schistose rocks just below the col.

Carefully moving across the slope by the trees you should pick up a faint path, which leads towards the Waterslide. This provides more grand scenery, especially if in spate. Finally, descend the path on the east bank of the Waterslide, to regain the car park below.


Maps: OS Sheet 41 'Ben Nevis, Fort William & Glen Coe'
Distance: 5.7 km
Ascent: 400 m
Time: 3 hours
Food & Drink: The fleshpots of Fort William beckon, with a large range of refreshment stops. For the discerning, the seafood restaurant on the waterfront should be looked at. The real climbers go to the Nevisbank Hotel, just south of the turn-off for Glen Nevis, while Nevisport has a good upstairs restaurant above the shop with reasonable costs and lots of carbohydrates!


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