Loch Leven, Argyll

Sunset on Loch Leven
Photograph by Ruth Fowler

Not to be confused with the freshwater loch in Kinross of the same name, this sea loch on the West Coast of Scotland is 14 km long (just under 9 miles) and stretches from the Ballachulish Bridge at its mouth, past the village of Glencoe on its southern shore, to the village of Kinlochleven at its head.

Ruth’s photograph above shows a beautiful July sunset over the Loch and to see such striking views for yourself, take the Kinlochleven Circular Route. This 20 mile circuit is a short drive that starts at the Glencoe cross roads. Drivers should take the left fork on the B863 which will take you around the loch and then back across Ballachulish Bridge to Glencoe village.  The route allows you to see some amazing panoramas of the loch, as well as waterfalls and views over the burial island of  Eilean Munde.

Eilean Munde is the burial place of the MacDonald clan of Glencoe, victims of the infamous Massacre in 1692. You can access Eilean Munde if you are able to commandeer a boat.

The Loch is home to otters, seals and many different birds.  Visitors can take advantage of fast boat seafaris to get a closer look at the wildlife.  It is also a popular spot with sailors,  canoeists and kayyakers.

The village of Kinlochleven was created when an aluminium smelter and dam to provide hydroelectric power was built in 1907.  Kinlochleven claims to have been the first village in the world to be fully electrified giving rise to the name “The Electric Village”.  A visitor centre telling “The Aluminium Story” is open to visitors.

Today the village is better know for it’s Ice Climbing Centre and Microbrewery.  The Ice Climbing Centre opened in 2003 and offers an amazing climbing experience for all ages and levels of ability.  The centre is fully equipped with a bar and spa too.

Kinlochleven is the penultimate stop for most walkers on the West Highland Way and has plentiful accommodation options.   The Stevenson Trail also passes through Kinlochleven.  This it the trial marking the fictional route taken by Alan Breck and Jamie Balfour in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped”.

This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and it can often be missed by those travelling the A82 between the lowlands and Fort William.  It is definitely worthwhile taking the time to stop off and appreciate it for yourself.

Please feel free to share any stories or pictures that you may have of Loch Leven and the surrounding area.

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