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Kinlochleven

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Kinlochleven is a Village in the Highlands of Scotland, 98 miles northwest of Glasgow, 6 miles northeast of Glencoe.

Kinlochleven is popular for its Inns for Meals, Aluminium Story Museum, Ice Climb Centre, Outdoor Sports Company, Walking, Waterfalls, Mountain Hiking, and its Viewpoint down Loch Leven.

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Camping & Touring Parks in area

The image top is of the War Memorial, small Park, and Old Post Office as you enter Kinlochleven from the south. The Old Post Office has been converted to a Home. There is a Path from the Park here down to the Loch Leven Viewpoint, about half of a mile. There is also a Path from the Village centre, about 1 mile.

The centre of Kinlochleven has the Highland Getaway Inn with a Cafe, Diner and Bar.

Across the road from the Inn is the Aluminium Story Museum, covering the History of making Aluminium and the Hydro Plant built to power it from 1907 - 2000.

Also by the Inn is the National Ice Climbing Centre, housed in one of the remaining buildings from the Aluminium Works. This has 2 Climbing Walls and 1 Ice Climbing Wall, claimed to be the best in the UK, also with an outdoor Aerial Adventure Course and Cafe. Website

Next to the Climb Centre is the Atlas Brewery, you cannot buy their Ale here but you can in local Shops and Inns.

Behind the Climb Centre is Via Ferrata Scotland, Vertical Descents, where you can partake in a number of outdoor sports such as climbing waterfalls, hiking, paint ball, quad bikes, karting and more. Website

Also behind the Climb Centre is the Blackwater Hostel and Camping, also with Micro Lodges. These are popular with Walkers on the West Highland Way route between Glasgow and Fort William. The walking sections north to Fort William and South to the Kingshouse Hotel are two of the top sections on the Route. Some people do Sections at a time rather than the Whole Route.

The larger Caolasnacon Touring / Camping Park is 3 miles southwest of Kinlochleven towards Glencoe, on the site of a World War One Prisoner of War Camp, much improved since then.

The River Leven is next to the Climb Centre with a Seating Area and Riverside Walk that can be followed all the way up to the Blackwater Dam and Graveyard of the Unknown, for poor people that died constructing the Dam, 11 miles out and back.

The Grey Mares Tail Waterfall is a Short walk from a Car Park at St Paul's Church on Wades Road, third tallest Waterfall in Scotland, this walk can be extended into the Hills. Walk Information/ Map.

By the River Leven Bridge is the Tailrace Inn and Fish and Chip Shop across the road.

Kinlochleven Parish Church is by the Tailrace Inn, built in 1930.

The Riverside Path south from the Bridge, on the south side of the River, down past the rear of the Highland Getaway Inn, takes you to the Kinlochleven Viewpoint where the River runs into Loch Leven, about a 1 mile walk. You will see the remains of a Narrow Gauge Railway that used to run from the Loch up to the Aluminium Plant.

Kinlochleven History

1200s - Kinlochleven would have evolved at a time Clans were being given large areas of Land for their support of Kings in Battle. These areas of Land were known as Estates, with a Castle or House in the middle for the Clan Chief and he would employ many workers to Farm the Land, and Mine Minerals. At this time, travel by Boat was the main way to visit Kinlochleven, as any tracks were mainly for walking, horse riding or cattle droving.

Clans that lived in this area known as Rannoch were: MacDonald's, Menzies, MacGregor's, MacDougall's, Cameron's, Robertson's and Stewart's.

Two Villages evolved here, Kinlochmore on the north side of the River Leven and Kinlochbeg on the south side, Kinlochbeg later becoming Kinlochleven.

1600s - as Scotland became a safer place, Cattle Droving began with Highland Cattle being taken south for sale. Kinlochleven was on one of the main Droving Trails.

1800s late - Steamers began running between Ballachulish and Kinlochleven, sometimes towing Rowing Boats so they could take more Passengers, such as the SS Loch Leven Queen.

1891 - Sir Hugh Munro produced a list of Mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet high, known as Munro's, leading to many Tourists visiting Scotland to Hike these Mountains. The Mamores are a Mountain Range on the north side of Kinlochleven with 10 Mountains classed as Munro's, with the highest and most Hiked being the 1,130m / 3,710ft Binnein Mor.

1907 - the large Blackwater Dam was built on Rannoch Moor to power a Hydro Plant at Kinlochleven so the Electricity could be used to Smelt Aluminium Ore brought in by Boat from places such as Ireland. The Dam was built by about 3,000 workers and the Aluminium Plant employed up to 700 people at one point, with houses built in the Village to accommodate them.

There is a Graveyard by the Dam known as the Graveyard of the Unknown, with 22 Grave Stones with no names for poor workers that died during the construction.

1914 to 1918 during World War One - British Soldiers and 1,200 German Prisoners were based by Kinlochleven to work on extending the Dam System to other Lochs on Rannoch Moor.

1923 - a Road was built from Glencoe to Kinlochleven, then round to North Ballachulish. This 16 mile road saved waiting on the Ballachulish Ferries to cross Loch Leven, bringing a lot of Trade and Tourism to the Village.

1974 - the Ballachulish Bridge was built across Loch Leven, leading to Kinlochleven becoming a Lost Village, like many others in Scotland when bypasses were built. The Village gradually became known for quiet peaceful holidays in a real scenic area.

1980 - the 154km /96mile West Highland Way walking route between Glasgow and Fort William opened with a stopover point being at Kinlochleven. This Trail leads to around 36,000 Walkers passing through Kinlochleven each year. The 2 sections north to Fort William and south to The Kings House Hotel, are two of the top sections, with some people only doing certain sections at a time.

2000 - the Aluminium Works at Kinlochleven Closed.

2002 - the Atlas Brewery opened in one of the remaining Buildings of the Aluminium Works.

2003 - The Climb Centre opened in one of the remaining Buildings of the Aluminium Works, leading to Kinlochleven becoming a popular Tourist Attraction with adventure seekers.

2014 - Via Ferrata / Vertical Descents opened in Kinlochleven providing a number of Outdoor Adventure Sports including Climbing up the 230ft Grey Mares Tail Waterfalls.

2021 - I viewed Kinlochleven from the Pap of Glencoe with the Mamore Mountains above the Village, and Ben Nevis a short distance north, one of the top views in Scotland, Large Image.

Today - the Hydro Plant is used to Power an Aluminium Smelter at Fort William and provides power to the National Grid, claimed to produce enough Power for 1,200 Homes.

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Kinlochleven Photos