037. Hike Recap: Steall Falls, Scotland

Steall Falls (formerly An Steall Bàn) is a must-see for anyone who likes mountains and waterfalls, and honestly, it's a super easy hike.

Even the drive TO the carpark is gorgeous, as you pass Ben Nevis mountain.

After arriving at the car park, it's about an hour long hike to get to the falls themselves (depending on your speed and how often you stop to take in the view). The trail is not difficult, and most of it is well cared for. I hear in the summer it's an extremely busy hike. I was there in the winter, and only ran into a couple people along the way.

The trail follows a beautiful river, "Water of Nevis," which cascades through the gorge (to your right) among giant moss covered boulders. It's not uncommon to see rock climbers (at any time of year), scaling the steep cliff face on the opposite side of the river.

Eventually the trail opens up into a huge valley, and you finally catch a glimpse of the roaring waterfall in the distance. 

When you finally get closer to the waterfall, the immense height becomes apparent (after all, it is Scotland's second highest waterfall!)

The river snakes in front of you, blocking your path. You can stay here and get a nice view of the falls, and have a nice picnic. But if you want to make the most of the hike, you'll want to cross the river.

The only way to get to the base of the waterfall is a wire bridge over the river. 
I am terrified of heights, and after endless prodding from my friends, decided to try it anyway.

The wire bridge sits about 15 feet above the water - not terrible, but when it's freezing cold and you have your photo gear, you do NOT want to fall in!

My friend crossing the bridge first.

Halfway across, I became paralyzed with fear, and begged my friends to allow me to turn back, but they correctly pointed out that there's no way to turn around once you start, so I HAD to finish. With tiny baby steps and white knuckles, I finally made it.

Once across, you are rewarded with an amazing experience. A short hike leads to the base of the falls, which roar down onto mossy rocks and beautiful crystal clear pools.

A photographer's playground!

Even in winter, the area is lush! I'd love to visit again in the spring or summer!

Here's an amazing view looking back towards the trail (showing a self-catering hut for rent). It was the perfect inspiration for one of my paintings.

15x22" watercolor on cold press paper.

Happy hiking!