Glen Nevis is the neighbouring glen to Ben Nevis, Scotland‘s highest mountain. Or translated into more easily understood language, it is the river valley that sits below the mountain. And it is so beautiful and other-worldly that it amazes even the most experienced and well-travelled walkers.
To get there, you drive north from the town of Fort William, following a single track road that weaves and flows its way through the valley bottom; it feels like you’re driving towards a dead end. You are. At the end of the road, there is a small car park and from there on, you have to walk. In contrast to climbing the nearby mountains, the walk is not far or difficult. You begin by following a footpath through woodland, with a fast flowing river rolling and ripping its way through the rock, morphing the riverbed into amazing structures and shapes, slowly etching its way deeper into the valley. The woodland is dense and often dark as the thick foliage and trees let through minimal light, giving it a strangely peaceful, green light that feels much like a rainforest.
After about 20 minutes of walking through the woodland, the path suddenly widens out, the woodland and steep river gorge fade out behind you and the whole Glen opens up and flattens out before you. This is a truly stunning and amazing experience, as the wide rolling meadows are such a stark contrast to the closely packed woodland. The light becomes whole again, with the sun running through the valley, bouncing off the hillsides and reflecting of the river, which has widened into a calm and winding flow along the valley floor. Wind gently dances its way around the Glen, never giving much of a chill as the valley is sheltered by the mountains on either side. At the end of the Glen, a large waterfall surges its way down the mountain side, a small piece of chaos within a valley of calm and tranquillity. People often describe entering Glen Nevis as feeling like another planet, a secret place of undiscovered beauty.
Walking into and around Glen Nevis will blow your mind. You will feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled across a place that no one knows about, one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. The best time to visit the Glen is either early morning or evening as at these times there are rarely other people there.
Also, we whole-heartedly encourage anyone with a tent to make the whole experience more magical by having a night of wild camping in Glen Nevis, the beauty and atmosphere of this grand natural show room will make it an experience you will never forget.
Featured Photo Credit: Martyn Wright