Glen Nevis Polldubhfalls
Route type: Other
Total climb: 741.47 ft
Distance: 12.65km, 7.86 miles. Like (28)
1. Park at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre, where there is a parking charge if staying more than an hour. The centre itself is free and is a good place to learn a little more about the glen and the famous peak on its northern side. The walk begins from the opposite end of the car park, where there is a suspension footbridge over the river. Cross this, and turn right along the far bank; this is the start of the route to Ben Nevis and is usually busy with walkers. 2. After a few hundred metres, a wooden sign indicates where the route to Ben Nevis goes off to the left; continue straight ahead here along the river. There is a band of fine woodland along both banks. After crossing a wooden bridge over a side-stream, a further bridge over the main river is reached; this iron-box crossing joins the Youth Hostel to the Ben Nevis route. Don't cross the bridge or turn off, just continue straight ahead by the river; from now on the route will be much quieter. There are no navigational problems as the path keeps close to the waters for mile after mile. The scenery, both in the woodland close at hand and looking up the glen towards the mountains, is superb. There are two prominent peaks at the head of the glen, with the grey scree-clad Sgurr a Mhaim on the left and the sharper, darker summit of Stob Ban to its right. 3. The path is a little rocky in some places and muddy in others. At one point it climbs a little above the river to avoid a high bank, giving even better views; watch out for where it cuts back down further on. In spring and early summer there is a profusion of wild flowers, with the dainty yellow tormentil, sparkler-like bog asphodel and purple orchids particularly common, amongst many others. 4. After around five kilometres from the visitor centre the path climbs away from the river a little, and cuts across the hillside. This section is fairly wet underfoot, but the route is fairly clear; aim for and pass between two whitewashed old cottage buildings. From these buildings there is a vehicle track; follow this straight ahead and it soon reaches the Glen Nevis road. 5. Turn right along the road, crossing the bridge over the river. Immediately beside the bridge are the Polldubh (or Lower) Falls, where the rushing waters of the River Nevis plunge over a ten metre drop. Continue along the road for a short distance to Achriabhach cottage, and turn left after this onto a forestry track. Ignore the signposted 'Forest walk' and continue along this track, which makes an easy route all the way back down the glen. After half a kilometre another track joins in from the left; continue ahead for several kilometres. 6. The track has good views at times as it runs a little above the floor of the glen. After passing through a gate it has a tarmac surface for a short distance; ignore the track off to the right which heads to the Youth Hostel (a detour on the West Highland way). Further on, the main West Highland Way joins in from the left; carry on until you reach a four-way wooden sign-post. Turn right here (signed 'Glen Nevis Visitor Centre'), following a path which winds down between the trees to join the Glen Nevis road. Turn left along the road (there is a pavement); after a very short distance a path off to the right leads to the Visitor Centre.