Discover 8 Amazing Scottish Waterfalls
Welcome back to our Scotland blog where we share with you our wisdom of the country. Everything from historical stories, hidden gems, Scotland wildlife and today 8 amazing waterfalls.
As we chase the thundering echoes and breathe in the crisp Highland air, we’ll delve into the stories that have woven themselves into the fabric of these natural wonders. So, tighten your hiking boots, grab your camera, and in the words of Robbie Williams its time to go “down the waterfall, wherever it may take me”.
Black Linn Falls
Black Linn Falls sits within The Hermitage which was originally built as a pleasure ground for the guests of the 3rd Duke of Atholl (John Murray) in 1757. As you explore the area be sure to gaze up at the towering Douglas Fir trees, a botanical rarity in Scotland, as they were strategically planted by the Duke himself. Legend has it that, to reach inaccessible areas, the Duke decided to load his cannon with seeds and launch them far and wide.
During the autumn months, Black Linn Falls transforms into an enchanting spectacle. As the season brings a change in colours and a surge in rainfall, collections of streams feed the ferocious River Braan, turning the once gentle cascade into a thundering torrent. Amidst this natural drama, keep your eye out for the captivating sight of salmon leaping upstream.
Best viewed from Ossian’s Hall of Mirrors, the falls are not only a natural wonder but also a tribute to the 3rd-century blind bard, Ossian. His poems were republished by James MacPherson, and the hall, along with the nearby cave, echo the tales of Fingal, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a literary legacy.
This beautiful, short walk is less than 80 minutes from cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, and Dundee making it easily accessible and now a sought-after destination. If you would like to extend your route then there are a few options including a lovely walk along the river Braan or up to Pine Cone Point. I also recommend heading into Dunkeld town to check out the cathedral, coffee shops and their smoked salmon! This is a destination I ensure to add to itineraries returning from the Isle of Skye.
Before you ask unfortunately, the name has nothing to do with the Loch Ness monster. I am sure that the local people are quite happy about that! The word actually comes from the gaelic phrase clais an easaidh which means the channel of the waterfall.
Situated on the renowned North Coast 500 route, Clashnessie boasts more than just its cracking waterfalls. When you arrive at the car park you are also greeted by Clashnessie Bay which is an incredible beach offering panoramic views of the rugged west coast. Take a moment to absorb the scenery or if you are a little more adventurous brace yourself for a Wim Hof style cold plunge! Before taking the main road south to reach the main path.
While the trail has seen improvements over the years, it may still be a bit boggy. Feel free to get up close, but exercise caution on the rocks, as they can be slippery. If you want to go further you can ascend for a unique perspective, and gaze down upon the waterfall, or explore the series of lochans that supply its waters. From the top you can clearly see the rocky landscape of the north western highlands which foster thriving ferns, lending a lush green hue in the summer, which transforms into a warm orange-brown in the autumn.
This captivating location promises not only the allure of its waterfalls but also a captivating blend of coastal beauty, rocky landscapes, and seasonal transformations, making Clashnessie a must-visit destination along the North Coast 500 route. If you’re looking for more nearby attractions along the NC500, consider visiting Wailing Widow Falls, Old Man of Stoer, Ardvreck Castle, Clachtoll, Achmelvich Beach, Suilven, and don’t miss Lochinver Larder for the best pies in the country.
You can download the offline map through walkhighlands.
This beautiful set of waterfalls are like marmite. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I hate them. That opinion is not based on the natural beauty but the sheer volume of people visiting. In the summer its busier than the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo. So when I plan to go its either early in the day or not at all.
Beyond any minor inconveniences. What makes the Fairy Pools so beautiful is the crystal clear water that is fed from the most dramatic mountain range in Scotland the Black Cuillins. The Black Cuillins are particularly famous to climbers and mountaineers around the world for their 11 munros, towering above 3,000 feet, connected by a jagged ridge. Forged through the gradual cooling and crystallisation of iron-rich magma beneath the Earth’s surface, the Gabro-laden ridge has been sculpted by subsequent glacial activity and weathering, creating the Black Cuillins with their unique character.
If you are a dare devil and contemplating climbing the munros on Skye then I would highly recommend hiring a guide for a more enriching and safe exploration of this remarkable and dangerous terrain.
While hiking is within our itineraries, climbing the munros on the Isle of Skye falls outside our expertise. However, we can include the enchanting Fairy Pools in our Isle of Skye tours. In this captivating area you can also visit other breathtaking locations including Eas Mor Waterfall, Glen Brittle, Rubh’ an Dùnain (a walk exploring an Iron Age Fort, Viking Canal and a Cairn), Talisker Bay and Talisker Distillery. To satisfy the appetite that you have built up on the walk, a visit to the Oyster Shed or the Old Inn is also highly recommended, offering delightful gastronomic experiences.
Grey Mare’s Tail
Introducing the fourth fantastic Scottish waterfall, a personal favourite among the treasures in this collection. Let there be no confusion with its namesake in Kinlochleven; this spectacle, known as Grey Mare’s Tail stands as the jewel of the Moffat Hills in the picturesque Scottish Borders. There is a lot of talk about the Scottish Borders becoming the best region to visit in the country and this majestic natural wonder is one of those reasons.
No words can capture my excitement better than the grin in the photo below. I was as buzzing as a child in a sweet shop. This particular day stands out as truly incredible; the morning rain unleashed the fury of the ‘roaring linn,’ adding an extra layer of awe to the experience.
Grey Mare’s Tail gained fame by the renowned Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, who visited and wrote about the Grey Mare’s Tail in his poem Marmion. His description of the waterfall in his writing may have been the beginning of its popularity as a tourist destination.
Beyond relishing the viewpoint in the photo, consider extending your adventure with a hike up to Loch Skeen. For the truly ambitious, venture to White Coomb and Lochcraig Head that lie behind it. Wondering what to do afterwards? Plan your itinerary to include, a visit to the town of Moffat for lunch or an eastward journey to Melrose to connect the dots: Abbotsford (Sir Walter Scott’s home), Scott’s View as well as Melrose Abbey and the William Wallace statue.
Nestled among the classics on the Isle of Skye, Mealt Falls presents a unique twist to the waterfall game. Originating directly from Loch Mealt, the water plunges a mesmerizing 55 meters off the cliff’s edge, falling straight into the sound of Raasay. What amplifies the allure of this enchanting viewpoint is the towering presence of Kilt Rock, a coastal rock formation on the Isle of Skye renowned for its uncanny resemblance to a pleated kilt, from which it derives its name.
The geological narrative of Kilt Rock unfolds as a captivating chapter in the complex story of the Isle of Skye’s landscape, shaped over millions of years. Having a volcanic heritage, the rocks trace back to ancient volcanic eruptions. The solidification of lava flows, exposed through the erosive forces of time, reveals the magnificent basalt column formations. Crafted through the cooling and contracting of molten lava, Kilt Rock memorises you with its hexagonal columns a testament to the geological ballet of nature. Also consider the relentless erosion by the sea, an artisanal force moulding the cliffs and unveiling the sheer vertical faces that give Kilt Rock its distinctive character.
For those enticed to explore further, a boat trip with Isle of Isle of Skye Sea Safari offers a unique perspective, allowing you to metaphorically peek underneath the kilt of this geological marvel.
Mealt Falls play a part in most of our Isle of Skye itineraries along with other iconic locations on thee Trotternish peninsula. Among them are the legendary Quiraing (featured in my top 10 best hikes in Scotland), the mystical Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Brother’s Point, and An Corran Beach, home to ancient dinosaur footprints. Make sure to hit up the Hungry Gull for lunch!
Plodda Falls, a phenomenal waterfall tucked away in the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve of the Scottish Highlands, demands a venture down a long, bumpy, pothole filled, one way road. You may crave a break from the journey so stop off at Tomich, a charming conservation village, offering not only respite but also a glimpse into history. Here, an adorable statue commemorates the first Golden Retriever bred on Lord Tweedmouth’s estate in 1868.
As you continue your journey, weaving through the Caledonian forest, a smaller waterfall eases you in to what awaits you. The main event unfolds with two marvelous perspectives: one from a viewing platform that hangs over the top of the waterfall and another looking from the bottom, both showcasing the breathtaking 46-meter drop. If the water is low enough I will kick off my socks and shoes, and traverse the stream to get the best view of the lot (see photo below). As you stand in awe of the cascading black, peaty waters of the Highlands, any lingering doubts about the journey are washed away abso-bloody-lutely worth every moment.
The Glen Affric Nature Reserve, with over 30 miles of ancient pinewoods, stands as one of the largest ancient Caledonian pine woods in Scotland. Amidst a mix of pine, birch, and oak trees, the air is filled with the chirpy calls of woodland birds. Encounter endangered red squirrels, ospreys, secretive otters, or the captivating red and black-throated divers. In autumn, witness the fall colours and hear the echoing roar of red deer stags.
Bespoke itineraries around Inverness present the opportunity to venture here. If you’re pondering additional nearby options, explore the enchanting Falls of Divach, the captivating Dog Falls, the historic Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness, or consider conquering a munro for a truly adventurous experience.
Here we are on the Isle of Skye yet again! But this time we have a less popular option. Rha falls is a gem, situated on the opposite side of the Trotternish Ridge in the village port of Uig. Normally visitors to the area flood to the well-trodden path at the Fairy Glen but if you get time the falls offer a serene escape.
Similar to the mesmerising Plodda Falls, the dark, peaty water of this location creates a mystical atmosphere. When you approach in May, the air welcomes you with the fragrance of wild garlic, a prelude to the natural wonders awaiting you. The path, is surrounded by fluorescent green plants, inviting you to explore its secrets. As the year progresses and we bid farewell to the wild garlic, it gives way to the emergence of beautiful ferns, adding a different layer of natural beauty to your journey.
While the photograph below showcases the waterfall in its full glory it was taken during the October 2023 floods, so it’s important to manage expectations. The water flow might not mirror the intensity captured in the image during other times, providing a dynamic reminder of the ever-changing nature of this captivating landscape.
Looking for more things to do? Explore the iconic Quiraing, Fairy Glen and delve into the islands history at the Isle of Skye Life Museum, or consider extending your journey by embarking on a ferry ride from Uig Harbour to the captivating Outer Hebrides.
Nestled in the picturesque Glen Nevis, Steall Falls stands proudly as the second-highest waterfall in Scotland, boasting a majestic cascade of approximately 120 meters. The hike leading to this natural wonder is a personal favorite, offering a breathtaking journey that does justice to Ben Nevis, highest mountain in the UK that towers to your left.
Emerging from the enchanting tree line, the glen opens up, gradually revealing the distant beauty of Steall Falls. The breathtaking sight prompts exclamations reminiscent of Ron Weasley’s famous words, ‘Bloody Hell.’ Recognisable from its pivotal role in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ where it provided the atmospheric backdrop for the Triwizard Tournament’s Dragon Task, the waterfall carries cinematic fame that seamlessly adds an extra layer of enchantment.
The adventure reaches its climax at the Nevis Gorge Wire Bridge, a thrilling highlight that adds an adventurous twist to the experience. Crossing the bridge brings you up close to the cascading beauty of Steall Falls, creating a truly memorable moment.
Nearby attractions, including the Braveheart Village filming scene, Fort William, the intriguing Corpach Shipwreck, and the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct. For the ambitious adventurer, the Ring of Steall presents a classic ridge walk, connecting four munros and offering unparalleled views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding landscape.Steall Falls
As we wrap up this blog, thank you once again for joining us on this journey and hope this has sparked a profound admiration for Scotland’s waterfalls. Of course all these waterfalls are enhanced by rainfall. So don’t let the weather put you off, actually see this as a opportunity and sieze it with both hands!
Whether you’re an avid nature lover or someone who simply appreciates the beauty of Scotland. Be sure to stay connected for future tales of Scotland’s nature, history and culture through our blog. If you’ve enjoyed discovering these natural wonders, show your appreciation with a like, comment, or share with others. Or stay tuned for what is coming in the next episode which we can’t wait to share with you!