The Falls of Glomach

  • Total distance:             21km
  • Total time:                    4hrs 15mins
  • Total ascent:                 425m
  • Weather:                        Mainly a beautiful sunny day – but we did get caught in a torrential thundery shower that completely soaked us.
  • Start / end location:    On the unclassified road 500m west of the township of Kililan – near the village of Dornie. [OS Map Sheet 25 – Grid Ref: NG 940 303]
  • Map:                                A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

En route along Glen Elchaig towards the the Falls of Glomach

The bridge over the River Elchaiag with the cleft in the hillside that contains the Falls of Glomach in the background

We had been considering using today as a bit of a rest and catch-up with things day, but as it turned out to be so lovely when we got up we decided to venture a little bit north of our campsite to visit the Falls of Glomach.

The Falls of Glomach is one of the UK’s highest waterfalls, tumbling down around 370ft over two connected tiers within a steep narrow cleft in some fairly remote countryside. There are a couple of ways to approach the falls: either by walking directly from the campsite at Morvich (where we are staying) or by travelling north passed the village of Dornie before turning right (NE) along Loch Long to the township of Kililan and cycling about 10km and then walking a further 2km.

The Falls of Glomach come into view high up at the back of a deep glen

We chose the latter, and so drove to near Kililan before jumping on our bikes and cycling east along the floor of Glen Elchaig. It was a cracking cycle in the warm and sunny weather, and with great views all around. As we progressed deeper into the glen, which incidentally can be used to access the western shores of Loch Mullardoch, the sides of the glen became ever steeper and more craggy. Approximately 300m to the southwest of Loch na Leitreach we locked our bikes and headed southeast across the glen to where a very sturdily constructed footbridge crossed the River Elchaig.

Once across the bridge we followed a footpath towards the Allt a’ Ghlomaich burn, the burn that contains the waterfall higher up the hillside. The footpath crossed the burn via another excellent little bridge before it began to follow the burn’s course into a deepening and precipitous ravine.

Looking from near the top of the Falls of Glomach into the ravine that winds its way between the little buttresses that extend down either side of glen

The path climbed continuously over the next kilometre as it traversed around the little interlinking buttresses that locked together with their counterparts on the opposite side of the ravine to force the burn below to snake its way downhill. We could hear the crashing of the falls long before we could actually see it, and it wasn’t until we were relatively close and around the last of the little hillside buttresses that we saw it in all of its awesome glory. It was actually quite a surprise how modest sized the stream was that flowed over the falls yet still managed to provide such an extremely impressive spectacle.

A little group of three couples, all friends from Belgium, were already at the top of the falls by the time we arrived and so we all ended up sitting close by eating our packed lunches as we admired the view. Then something unexpected happened because one of the ladies from the Belgium party promptly finished off her lunch then stripped down to her bikini and went for a swim in one of the pools just metres from the edge of the 370 foot high waterfall!

Almost being able to see the whole of the Falls of Glomach

We descended back down our ascent path whilst the Belgium party headed in the other direction back towards the campsite – although they weren’t staying there. We got back to our bikes and it was still lovely and warm with the sun still beaming. As our cycle back to the car was slightly downhill we anticipated a very leisurely descent. However, we were only on our bikes for a matter of minutes when I began to notice a rather rapid build-up of cloud beginning to pour over one of the nearby hills. Before we’d travelled much further a few large splodges of rain began to fall. A matter of seconds later and the heavens opened and it absolutely pelted it down. We took some shelter under a thick canopy of trees but in the intensity of the downpour they soon began to leak badly. It did not give the impression of letting up any time soon so we decide to “just go for it”. We got absolutely drenched and looked like a pair of drowned rats by the time we arrived back at the car – only 20 minutes or so since it had started to rain.

We travelled the 5 miles back to the village of Dornie and called into a craft fair at the village hall. We were soaking, but when we enquired with one of the stallholders if it had been as wet here, he replied that it hadn’t been raining at all. Now that what you call a local weather phenomenon.

The upper tier of the Falls of Glomach - a small group of four people stand near the top

The lower tier of the Falls of Glomach

Elaine sitting at a viewpoint just below the top of the Falls of Glomach

Cameron sitting at a viewpoint just below the top of the Falls of Glomach

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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