Day 6 - Thursday 25 November 2021
Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (9 miles)
The entrance to the Kingshouse Hotel on the A82 and the start of my penultimate day on the West Highland Way. Fudge would be joining me today and despite initially looking favourable, the weather was to be overcast with drizzle & light breezes.
The route heads past the wooden Stag guarding the Kingshouse Hotel and along a tarmac lane
Looking towards the A82 & Kingshouse from the tarmac lane as I strike out for Kinlochleven. Stob a'Ghlais Choire is left of centre with Stob Dearg on Buachille Etive Mor to the right.
As I headed out to run parallel with the A82 for a few miles I took comfort from the fact that despite the noisy road on one side of me, at least the other side would give me this superb view of Beinn a'Chrulaiste
Continuing along the tarmac lane out of Kingshouse. The lane turns to the left 100 or so yards ahead of where Fudge and I are now and continues to rejoin the A82. Thankfully the West Highland Way soon turns off to the right to join a rough stone track.
Whilst it may be tad pricey, no one can argue that The Kingshouse Hotel does not deliver when it comes to the views
Stob Dearg on Buachaille Etive Mor - it is hard to concentrate on what your feet are doing when this view is on offer
Fudge cannot read but his built in doggy GPS told him we needed to turn off the tarmac lane here
Despite the lack of sunshine, the light was still very good today
Although it doesn't look like it, Fudge was very impressed with the view over to Stob Dearg...........
......... and a little bit of a closer view of this magnificent mountain
A little further along the track and Stob Dearg reveals Feadan Ban
Stob na Doire now in view as we drop down alongside the A82
Crossing the Allt na Feithe at Altnafeadh
Looking down to the footbridge over the Allt a'Mhain as I head towards the Devil's Staircase - not a bad view to look back on. People would be right in thinking that the name "Devil's Staircase" infers that the climb to its summit is extremely difficult and fraught with danger. This is not so - it is simply a gradual, winding path and was more than likely given its name by the poor souls that had to construct it in 1750.
Ascending the Devil's Staircase looking back towards Kingshouse with Stob Dearg to the right. You may be just able to spot a walker on the path below me. We had a brief chat as he headed back to Kingshouse and this chap was the only person I saw all day.
The top of the Devil's Staircase and lo and behold we have a drop of the old white stuff on the ground. The two summit cairns here are at roughly the same height (1797ft, 548m) and are the highest point on the West Highland Way.
The northern cairn at the top of the Devil's Staircase. The top of the pass separates Stob Mhic Martuin to the left and Beinn Bheag to the right. My route can be seen stretching away into the distance.
The descent from the Devil's Staircase zig zags its way down with the path ahead curving from left to right and contouring along the mountain side. The mountains in the far distance are The Mamores.
Hardly any requirement for the stepping stones today although Fudge has clearly found something more interesting
Looking back up to the top of the Devil's Staircase and my route of descent
The 8 mile long Blackwater Reservoir, the dam of which was built between 1905 & 1909. The reservoir and its dam were designed to supply the water to power the hydro-electric plant at the new aluminium smelter in Kinlochleven.
The route eventually descends to a track near some buildings
From the buildings the route descended steeply along a winding track all the way to Kinlochleven
Put the brakes on Fudge and turn right
The six huge pipes that the water was pumped along to provide the energy for the hydro electric plant. The smelter is no longer in use at Kinlochleven and the resulting buildings now have another use - notably Ice Factor which houses an indoor ice climbing wall. The reservoir and the pipes are still used and now provide the energy for another aluminium smelter, this time in nearby Fort William.
The buildings and pipework of the former Kinlochleven Hydro Electric Plant - and a disinterested dog.
The West Highland Way crosses the River Leven however I stayed on the southern side to pass Blackwater Hostel
Crossing the River Leven looking to Meall an Doire Dharaich
The Tailrace Inn at Kinlochleven. The end of another really good days walking on this fantastic route.
Day 6 Data
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