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yer Ballachulish, Scotland (United Kingdom)
This is really a combination of two very short and easy but contrasting walks. The first is a visit to the old Ballachulish slate quarries which supplied most of Scotland with slates for generations; after this look at industrial heritage the second part of the walk is a delightfully scenic stroll around the peninsula behind the Isles of Glencoe Hotel.
Extremely easy walk, mostly flat terrain on prepared paths.
Ballachulish is served by both local and Citilink buses.
Tourist Information car park, Ballachulish. Open start point in Google Maps for directions.
Glencoe HotelsGlencoe B&BGlencoe cottagesGlencoe hostels
Park at the Tourist Information Centre in Ballachulish. The first part of the walk begins by heading through the walkway between the TIC and the public toilets and crossing the road. Go through the gate (there are several information boards around here) to explore the main quarries at first. There are a couple of lakes in the quarry, which is peaceful today but would have been a hive of activity in the late nineteenth century when six hundred men worked here. Ballachulish produced the slates that roofed Scotland, until cheaper substitutes from overseas heralded the decline of the quarry in the early twentieth century through to its closure in the 1950s.
There is a prepared path around the quarry, passing information boards giving background information on this part of Scotland's industrial heritage. Various levels of old workings can be seen high on the quarry walls, but today there are picnic tables by the side of the lochs. Return to the gate at the entrance to the quarry. The signed walk on the left is the Brecklet Trail which is a steeper and more challenging walk, described separately.
Instead, take the right hand path which runs for a short distance close to the road to a high arch built from slate. This two hundred year old arch is nearly eighty feet high, and was built to transport the quarried slate down to the loch shore, ready to be loaded onto boats. After admiring this feat of craftsmanship, return to the Tourist Information Car park.
For the next, completely different, part of the walk, follow the minor road that passes under the A82 and emerges in the car park of the Isles of Glencoe Hotel. Head through the car park and at the far left end a path heads out along the shore - with the loch on your left.
After a short distance one of the posts indicates the place to turn right up the grass onto a lawned embankment with a great view over Loch Leven towards the Pap of Glencoe. Continue the walk along this embankment. The walk continues round the little peninsula, passing close to Eilean Munde which was the site of the early St Munn's Church and has many cemeteries.
As the corner is rounded, there are good views towards Ballachulish Bridge and the towering peaks of Beinn a'Bheithir, before the path returns to the car park. Pass back under the A82 to return to the start.