This walk is part of the trek The West Highland Way.
The sixth stage of the WHW takes us through the highest point of the entire hike, an unnamed pass at an altitude of 550m. After a pleasant walk at the foot of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste, you reach the pass by climbing the Devil's Staircase, an easier climb than the name of this path suggests. We then descend on good paths or wide tracks on the former small industrial town of Kinochleven.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Start at Kingshouse Hotel.
WHW official signposting: signposts with thistle flower + signposts with yellow arrow for changes of direction + written signposts.
(S) With your back to the hotel entrance, go left and, at the corner of the hotel, turn left again. Cross a river and end up at a T-junction.
(1) Then follow a small road to the left at the foot of the summit of Beinn a’ Chrùlaise.
(2) After just a kilometre, leave the tarmac and take a path on the right (fence). Climb slowly then stay on the hillside.
(3) Cross a fence and continue on the path parallel to the A82 road. After about 800m, cross a track and continue along the road. Take a bridge over a river then a footbridge over a stream.
(4) When the road turns left, turn right. First go uphill along a stream. The slope gradually increases.
(5) Perform several switchbacks to climb the famous Devil's Staircase. It’s none too diabolical, however, and this brief ascent makes it easy to reach an unnamed pass, the highest point of the whole hike (cairn).
(6) Continue north and start your descent. After crossing two streams, go up slightly. Continue north and head down along several switchbacks.
(7) Cross a river on a footbridge then descend gradually towards the north-north-west. Pass by a cairn and enjoy a view of Kinlochleven, the finish line for this section.
(8) Arrive at a track, follow it to the left and pass by a reservoir below on the right. Go down into a wood. Ignore a path leading off to the right and go along a small (Reservoir) on the left.
(9) Take a bridge over a rapidly flowing river just below the dam, turn right and continue downhill on the track.
(10) Continuing downhill, go along the water (Pipeline) on the right. At the bottom, turn right and cross over these water pipes.
(11) Shortly after, turn right towards the Forest View B&B. Cross a bridge with blue guardrails. Turn left at the end of the bridge and immediately ignore a path leading to the right. The gravel path soon gives way to tarmac: go straight on Wades Road.
(12) When you reach a bus stop, turn left onto a tarmac path. Go along the river on your left and end up in Lochaber Road, in the centre of Kinlochleven (F).
D : km 0 - alt. 246m
1 : km 0.31 - alt. 248m - T-junction
2 : km 1.24 - alt. 248m - Fence - Start of path
3 : km 3.55 - alt. 279m - Fence
4 : km 4.75 - alt. 296m - Start of path uphill
5 : km 5.86 - alt. 460m - Devil's Staircase
6 : km 6.56 - alt. 548m - Pass
7 : km 9.02 - alt. 359m - Walkway
8 : km 10.52 - alt. 311m - Track - Water reservoir
9 : km 11.59 - alt. 165m - Bridge downstream of a small dam
10 : km 13.03 - alt. 85m - Water pipes
11 : km 13.59 - alt. 23m - Road divides in two
12 : km 14.04 - alt. 13m - Bus stop
A : km 14.32 - alt. 12m
Waterproof hiking shoes. Rain protection: rain cape, backpack protection, etc. Protection against the cold, depending on one’s sensitivity. Midge repellent.
The route is relatively simple and the circuit is very well marked at intersections. A physical map is useful (at least the one that accompanies this description) or a route saved on smartphone (remember to save an offline map in advance).
Food and supplies:
Bring extra water reserves and a picnic when you start.
(F) In Kinlochleven, bar-restaurants and a small shop on the left bank of the river.
Accommodation at finish point (F):
- Tailrace Inn, Riverside Road. Tel.: + 44 (0)1855 831 777. Bar Restaurant.
- MacDonald Hotel, Fort William Road. Tel.: + 44 (0)1855 831 539. Bar Restaurant.
- Forest View B&B, Wades Road. Tel.: + 44 (0)1855 831 302. Has no restaurant but can provide packed lunches for the next day (order the day before; cost was £6 per person in August 2019).
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- Between (S) and (4): a pleasant journey and beautiful views of the landscapes.
- At point (6): climactic point of the whole hike, beautiful views (if the clouds do not mix).
- At points (8), (9) and (10): water reservoirs, small dams and penstocks, witnesses of the hydroelectric activity of the region.
The seventh and last stage of the WHW makes us evolve in a beautiful setting, at the foot of the Mamore hills. We then cross lightly wooded areas, from which we benefit from a prominent view of Ben Nevis, the highest point in Great Britain. Arrival in the city of Fort William marks the end of this long hike.
This fifth stage of the WHW brings us to yet more superb landscapes! The ascent of the small hill of Màm Carraigh offers a very beautiful point of view on Loch Tulla. Then, for about ten kilometres, we follow a very comfortable old military road and we climb gently and very regularly towards a pass in the middle of the moor. Ahead during the descent you will see the classic pyramid silhouette of the Buachaille summit.
A very interesting alternative, full of variations, to the normal route to reach the summit of the famous Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Great Britain. It is a wilder variant than the normal route. Without being too technical it remains a solid hike. It allows walkers the opportunity to contemplate the very famous north face of Ben Nevis.
Here is a magnificent peak held in high regard by our British friends, Ben Nevis. This summit, though in itself not very high relatively speaking, requires a significant climb in altitude because it starts almost at sea level. During the ascent, the views are breathtaking.
This walk in the mountains north of Fort William visits the summits of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag, both of which exceed 4,000 feet above sea level. The views on a good day are stunning especially of Ben Nevis. The route contains plenty of ascent and you should remember that suitable clothing is essential so you can cope with rapid changes in weather. There are also snow cornices to be considered.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.