The River Foyers drops 450 feet in the final mile of its journey from high on the ; Monadhliath Mountains to the shores of Loch Ness. Such a dramatic conclusion to its bubbling life does not go unnoticed, largely due to a pair of spectacular waterfalls linked by a very pleasant walk.
Foyers Pier makes a good start for this woodland wander as there's plenty of free parking space. The route also offers a rather enjoyable hour or so on dry land if you happen to be cruising the Caledonian Canal, or boating Loch Ness.
To the north of the pier car park is a large hydro-electric power station. The current structure was built in 1975, but electricity has been generated here since 1896 when a tunnel was bored through the hillside to channel water down from Loch Mhor. This provided power for the former aluminium works located nearby.
Leave the car park and head south-west along a tarmac road lined on both sides by trees and heavy undergrowth. The road leads to a fish farm on the right and the old aluminium smelter, a substantial stone-built structure that appears to provide little more than an extensive storage facility now. It its heyday during the early years of the 20th century, the plant - the first 'modern' factory in the Scottish Highlands - produced a sixth of the total world aluminium production.
Walk along the front of the building, crossing the tailrace where the water used to provide power was jettisoned into Loch Ness having served its purpose.
Further on, the road passes by a small industrial unit to reach a junction. Turned left here and follow the road up as it curves left to reach another junction. Go left here and the route reaches a health centre and houses above. Take the next track on the right, where a green sign points the way to the falls.
The track climbs by several houses towards a large white-washed property at the top. As you approach the gates to this, a path leaves the track on the right, again signed for the falls.
The path enters woodland and skirts round above a steep drop plunging into the River Foyers below, a bubbling cauldron of deep black pools and whitewater. Thankfully, there's a fairly new fence - the river is a long way down and the cliffs are pretty vertical!
The path meanders through the trees before climbing to an excellent viewpoint where the full spectacle of the Lower Falls of Foyers can be savoured. The path skirts left and hugs the slope as it rises from here towards the falls. It joins the B852 above and this leads to a bridge over the upper falls.
Return to the start by retracing your steps to the pier car park.
Distance 2.5 miles/4km. ;
2.5 miles/4km. ;
Maps OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheets 26 and 34. ;
OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheets 26 and 34. ;
Start Foyers Bay pier (grid ref NH 502216). ;
Foyers Bay pier (grid ref NH 502216). ;
Parking Free parking at Foyers Bay. ;
Free parking at Foyers Bay. ;
Grading A short walk along minor roads and good woodland paths. Steep drops, so take care.