Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: From climb towards Devil"s Staircase - © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: Towards Glen Etvie and Rannoch Moor  from Devil"s Staircase - © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: Upper Glen Coe from Devil"s Staircase - © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy
  • Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy

Key information: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

    Cross the ridge between upper Glen Coe and the sea loch Leven, up the not wildly demanding zig-zag known as the Devil's Staircase to gain superb views northward across the Leven valley.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86.5
  • Beauty31.5
  • Natural interest15.5
  • Human interest9
  • Charisma31.5
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating86.5
  • Note: Neg: Likely bad weather

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 14 km, 9 miles
  • 3-4 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

This section of the West Highland Way illustrate its strengths and weaknesses. The first hour traverses a flank of upper Glen Coe on an old military road, in staggering scenery but never out of earshot of, and sometimes right beside, the endlessly busy A82 road. In the panoply of Scottish walks, it is eminently missable.  Your enjoyment-average will be increased if you cut this stage, and start where the Way turns away from the road.

The trail then turns north at a sharp corner of the road, up a beautiful but still noisy hillside of grass and heather which becomes the steep but not wildly demanding zig-zag known as the Devil's Staircase. The road is by now visible but no longer heard, a minor blot on the huge and wonderful glen, looking across at its famous, sheer southern corner-buttresses, Buachaille Etive Mor. 

It doesn't take all that long to get to a low pass in the grassy ridge, and you are soon  gazing on a new landscape to the north across the deep Leven valley, which debouches pretty quickly into the sea-loch of Loch Leven, to a wonderful series of ridges and summits, scooped back by fine corries, which make you quiver with the excitement of the possible walking. Behind them looms the high, bleak, flat top of one of Ben Nevis' close neighbours. A really lovely view.

You descend gently on a good path, winding around the mountain sides for some way. To the north-east, a long, wide, high, treeless valley appears, with the beginnings of huge and strange Rannoch Moor at its far end and a shallow-looking reservoir in its bottom.

The wooded depths of the Leven valley gradually appear, and then the outskirts of Kinlochleven itself, far below. The trail then enters sparklingly pretty birch woods, and meets the swirling pool that is the top of the Kinlochleven hydro system. The trail joins a steep and occasionally slippery track in the woodlands, dropping pleasantly enough to the old power station and then the village itself. 

See William Mackesy’s account of this walk.

See more, including practical information, at our West Highland Way and Ben Nevis and Glen Coe Area pages.

WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk

We walked this fine stretch of the West Highland Way on a hot and clear August day.

This section of the West Highland Way illustrate its strengths and weaknesses. For the first hour, we traversed a flank of upper Glen Coe on an old military road, in staggering scenery but never out of earshot of, and sometimes right beside, the endlessly busy A82 road. In the panoply of Scottish walks, it is eminently missable. 

The trail then turns north at a sharp bend in the road, up a beautiful but still noisy hillside which becomes the steep but not wildly demanding zig-zag known.....

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Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: From climb towards Devil's Staircase - © William Mackesy

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: Towards Glen Etvie and Rannoch Moor  from Devil's Staircase - © William Mackesy

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: Upper Glen Coe from Devil's Staircase - © William Mackesy...
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