“ Address: Ullapool / Scotland „
I love to discover a new place quite by chance and the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an example of such a place. Located on the A835, which is the main road between Ullapool and Inverness in the Scottish Highlands it's a place that could quite easily be missed as it is hidden from view from the main road. There is a sign just before you reach the falls and when we spotted this last Summer we were ready for a short break from driving so we decided to pay a visit.
About a quarter of a mile along a minor road that runs off the A835 there is a car parking area but even from here it is not obvious what lies in wait. To view the gorge there is rather steep footpath to scramble down which certainly wouldn't be suitable for the disabled or those unsteady on their feet, but for those able to make the short descent it is well worth the effort.
The Corrieshalloch Gorge is one of only a handful of box canyons in Britain. It is just over a mile long and cuts over 60 metres deep into the valley bottom, through which a river runs. At the top end of the gorge there is an impressive waterfall known as the Falls of Measach. When I visited in August 2008 it was following a prolonged dry spell of weather but the water was still gushing down in torrents. These falls are almost 50 metres high and can be viewed from a suspension bridge that crosses the gorge. This bridge swings and sways by design but is not a place for the feint hearted. I don't suffer from vertigo and have stood on top of both the Empire State Building and the late Twin Towers, both of which are considerably higher than this, yet I still developed a bit of a nervous wobble. Perhaps it was something to do with being completely exposed to the elements and it was quite a windy day so the bridge was swaying like a playground swing. It was also not very encouraging to see the sign stating that the maximum number of people allowed on the bridge at a time is six and then look around whilst you are stood in the middle of it and see a coach party of around twenty Japanese tourists heading towards you. I quickly hurried over to the other side and was thankful when my feet reached solid ground.
For those that are even braver there is a more nerve racking viewing platform located above the waterfall. The only way to reach this platform is via a narrow ledge above the gorge, which I didn't fancy so I gave the viewing platform a miss. I am however glad that I did walk onto the suspicious bridge because the view from there is far better than on the edge of the banking from where it still all looks very impressive but you don't really appreciate it fully.
Back at the car park I discovered an information placard that described the gorge and also informed me that it was now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). At the side of this sign there was an honesty box requesting a fee of £1 per visitor to help towards the upkeep of the area. There are no facilities at the gorge other than the car park but I guess that the bridge and viewing platform do need maintenance and it's certainly an impressive attraction that deserves to be kept intact for future generations to enjoy so I had no problems parting with my money. I also discovered that John Fowler designed the suspension bridge in the 19th century, who was later responsible for the design of the Forth Railway Bridge so I guess that it was quite safe after all.
Overall I thought that the Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach were a superb little find and I would certainly recommend a tiny detour to anyone that is through this region.
The gorge is situated on the Droma River.