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Venue: Kinlochleven

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No. of Trails: 5
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Kinlochleven is on the B863 road that runs around Loch Leven from North Ballachulish to Glencoe. It is approximately 40 minutes drive south from Fort William.

Click here to see a detailed map and information about any additional locations.
There are quite a few routes into the mountains from the Kinlochleven area. There are a couple of options for parking your car in and around the village, and a shop for buying any food / drink .

There is a range of accommodation available locally, and the Kinlochleven Community Trust website (see links opposite) has a fairly comprehensive list of options.

When I stay in the area I tend to head to the Red Squirrel campsite in Glencoe, which is basic but good enough, with all the amenities you'd expect.
The Clachaig Inn, just 10 miles from Kinlochleven in Glencoe, serves great food and ales and there is often live music.

Trails at Kinlochleven


Trail TitleLength (Miles)Ascent (Mtrs)Time (Hrs)Tech GradeFitness Grade
Gleann Iolairean27.67518 Hard Very Hard
The Ciaran Path13.35592 Hard Moderate
Devils Staircase & Ciaran16.19065 Hard Hard
Dudes of Hazzard Enduro14.59293 Very Hard Hard
dudes stagers 2 and 311.17534 Very Hard Hard

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Comments and ratings for Gleann Iolairean
Good route. We included devils staircase. Does involve a fair amount of pushing or no paths though.
joemtb gave this trail 3 stars about 5 years ago
Great route if you get the weather, but it could be so different if you're there after / during a wet spell, unless you're a mud lover of course. Excellent scenery on this route as well.
wildhighlander gave this trail 4 stars about 8 years ago

Gleann Iolairean

Viewed 4038 times
Length: 27.6 Miles
Ascent: 751 m
Time: 8 hrs
Tech Grade: Hard
Fitness Grade: Very Hard
Av. Trail Rating:
(2 votes so far)
A long day out this one, probably best kept for the summer months, as the route can be boggy in places.

Starting from the village, head onto the B863 along the north shore of the loch, heading towards North Ballachulish.

After about a mile, turn right at tag 2 where you join a single track road that climbs up to Mamore Lodge Hotel. This is a long and steep climb in places, all rather sudden after the nice level run along the lochside.

Just as you reach the hotel, turn right, then right again at tag 3 to joint the hardpacked road that cuts across the hill above the hotel. Continue up the hill towards the houses and barns at tag 4. The road carries on through past the house, but there's a small sign on the right asking you to take the path around to the right. No reason not to - it's a nice little singletrack for 100m or so that doesn't present any difficulty. rejoin the road at tag 5 and continue on upwards.

As you get higher up, and over the bridge crossing the Allt Coire na Ba the track deteriorates a bit here and there, where the hardpacked surface has broken up to leave some loose rock on the surface. Still perfectly rideable though. Apart from the fact that you're still going uphill.

As you approach tag 6 the view really starts to open up making it all worthwhile though. There's a good viewpoint at tag 6 to stop and take it all in.

About half a mile past tag 6 you eventually top out, and get a little downhill to the shore of Loch Eilde Mor, where you get a level run from here to tag 7 along the shoreline of the two lochs, with the mountains on either side of you.

Past the end of Loch Eilde Beag there's a small climb to tag 7, before the track descends to the bothy at Luibeilt, where the track stops.

There can be a lot of water in the the Abhainn Rath, so pick your spot to cross carefully. Once across the path is not that immediately obvious, but there is one that heads directly for the other bothy at Meananach. Your best bet is to pick your way along the riverbank along the sections of singletrack that you find.

Unfortunately the path can fade away on you as quickly as you find it, and it continues like this until tag 9, where the singletrack becomes more permanent, and any place where it does disappear is usually just a flat grassy riverbank that you can cycle over wherever suits you. Past Staoineag to tag 10 the path gets a bit rockier, with a nice gentle downhill to the bridge over the river.

Cross the river and join the landrover track as it goes round the shores of Loch Treig, and keep a look out for the faint path that turns off at tag 11. If you cross the burn just past tag 11 on the track, you've missed you turn off !

The singletrack from 11 to 12 is easy enough to follow, but once onto the open hillside at tag 12, it tends to spread out and fade away as it makes it's way up the initially rather open Gleann Iolairean. This bit is tough, it's not that steep a climb, but the trail fades away into bog often enough that you'll find yourself pushing as ofter as cycling. If in any doubt though you can't miss the bulk of Meall a Bhainne ahead of you, so aim just left of it !

Things pick up the higher you get though, and you should be cycling again before you reach the hight point at tag 13, where you have a long and gradual downhill to the bothy at Loch Chiarain. You also get a fairly unique view of the Glencoe hills from here.

Continue round the bothy and out towards Blackwater Reservoir, where the long gradual downhill continues. The nearer you get to tag 15 the boggier this place is, so keep your eyes on the path as it can be difficult to follow in places here.

Continue on to 16 and the north end of the dam. At this point, you're at the start of the Ciaran Path descent. I was pretty tired at this point though, so decided to leave that for another time and took the easy option down.

Crossing under the dam to tag 17 to join the land rover track, there's a level / slight downhill run along the hardpacked track, until tag 18 where you join the West Highland Way.

The track is a bit rougher here, with a bit more loose stuff on top, but it's a fast blast down to the village. Be aware that there might be walkers on the track around those corners, but it is certainly wide enough to pass though. This track is also clearly used by the smelter occasionally to access the pipeline etc, so keep an eye and ear out for anything 4x4 coming your way as well !

Once at tag 18 follow the river into the village back to your starting point.

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Comments and ratings for The Ciaran Path
joemtb gave this trail 5 stars about 5 years ago
Did the Ciaran path today. Length 14miles but it felt like 20. Mostly because it was so boggy in places. The path its self was bog free but getting to it felt like a three day camel ride. And it had b... read whole comment...
johnbot gave this trail 3 stars about 7 years ago
I found this to be a bit so so. It was a bit like trying to ride down a river bed rather than a trail at times and it became a bit frustrating. It doesnt detract from the natural beauty and prehistori... read whole comment...
bigmadchris gave this trail 3 stars about 8 years ago
Really good trail...far more technical than my skills can handle but the bits I did ride were excellent and the rest just needed me to MTFU...really good natural trail. 'Easiest' way up would be up WH... read whole comment...
dickbarton gave this trail 4 stars about 8 years ago
Excellent route, and some great views from the top of the climb to enjoy while you catch your breath before the descent.
cat89 gave this trail 5 stars about 8 years ago

The Ciaran Path

Viewed 14178 times
Length: 13.3 Miles
Ascent: 559 m
Time: 2 hrs
Tech Grade: Hard
Fitness Grade: Moderate
Av. Trail Rating:
(5 votes so far)
The Ciaran Path is a rather technical singletrack descent from the Blackwater Dam, which ovelooks Kinlochleven, down to the village itself. There are a number of possible ways to get to the start of the Ciaran Path: climbing up the Devil's Staircase descent and crossing the Blackwater Dam (not allowed, strictly speaking); coming to it via Gleann Iolairean; climbing via Mamore Lodge and following the pipeline from Loch Eilde Mor. This route uses the third option, which offers a failry gentle climb, although some of the trail that follows the pipeline can be rather boggy.

The route:

From Kinlochleven, follow the B836 out of the village along the North shore of the loch, then turn up the steep forestry road climb (tag 1) after just under 1km. Follow this as it climbs up to the Mamore Lodge, ignoring the turn-off onto the West Highland Way.

At the Mamore Lodge, turn right (tag 2) to continue climbing steadily up the hill until you reach the foot of Loch Eilde Mor. Here, turn onto the path to your right (tag 3), crossing the river and joining the pipeline trail (tag 4).

If you want to shorten your route and/or avoid the rockiest section of the Ciaran Path, then there is the option of turning off onto the Lietir Bo Fionn path (tag 5). Otherwise, continue to follow the pipeline until you reach its junction with the Ciaran Path (tag 6) at the foot of the reservoir.

At this point, drop your seat and turn right onto the Ciaran Path. There are a few stream crossings, but none are particularly deep.

At the foot of the descent, it is pretty easy to find your way back to wherever you started from as Kinlochleven is pretty small. If you turn left, then right you will find yourself on the route the West Highland Way takes through the village (tag 7).

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Comments and ratings for Devils Staircase & Ciaran
We did this route on 27/5/2018 is perfect hot dry conditions. The climb up to the high point is a steady push and took us around 35 minutes with plenty of photo stops. The descent down river leven is ... read whole comment...
medtheshed gave this trail 4 stars about 2 years ago
andyduncan75 gave this trail 4 stars about 5 years ago
Rode this trail yesterday, fantastic day out! The three hour guide to complete is optimistic, I'm not the most fit biker out their but even my pals who are much fitter would struggle to complete this ... read whole comment...
andyduncan75 commented about 5 years ago
I did part of this back in May in an attempt to complete the WHW. Found the climb up from Kinochleven an absolute killer the weather didn't help, snow, rain, sleet and wind finally put paid to our att... read whole comment...
trekmamba commented about 6 years ago

Devils Staircase & Ciaran

Viewed 3537 times
Length: 16.1 Miles
Ascent: 906 m
Time: 5 hrs
Tech Grade: Hard
Fitness Grade: Hard
Av. Trail Rating:
(2 votes so far)
Loop from bottom of Devil's staircase taking in the best rocky descents

The push up from the carpark at Altnafeadh is just over a mile very little of which is rideable. The decent down to Kinlochleven is around twice as long and all rideable.

At the bottom of the descent turn right and either follow the obvious track or ride along the top of the pipe to the dam at black water reservoir.

Cross over the reservoir and follow the track going west which initially follows the pipe before dropping down to the side of the river leven.

The track is very similar to Ullswater singletrack although it is much more rideable as the climbs are shorter and less steep. There are a couple of very technical sections which will have to be walked by most but the rest of it is straightforward.

NOTE: If you don't like rocky techy singletrack then you'll probably hate it.. is isn't fast and flowy.

Upon arrival in Kinlochleven locate the chill factor and head east on the old military road until you meet the point where you dropped down on the outbound leg and climb up and over to the finish.

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Dudes of Hazzard Enduro

Viewed 6248 times
Length: 14.5 Miles
Ascent: 929 m
Time: 3 hrs
Tech Grade: Very Hard
Fitness Grade: Hard
Av. Trail Rating:
(0 votes so far)
This is the route of the 2013 Dudes of Hazzard Enduro race,

Tags 1 - 2 = Stage 3
Tags 3 - 4 = Stage 2
Tags 5 - 6 = Stage 1

Stage 3 was created just for this race, and was a bit of a muddy swamp

Stages 2 and 1 are much more established and are both very technical and rocky.

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dudes stagers 2 and 3

Viewed 540 times
Length: 11.1 Miles
Ascent: 753 m
Time: 4 hrs
Tech Grade: Very Hard
Fitness Grade: Hard
Av. Trail Rating:
(0 votes so far)
dudes of hazard stage 2 and 3

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Average rating for the trails at Kinlochleven

4 Stars

9 votes for this rating
This venue has been viewed 45085 times

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