Corrieshalloch Gorge near Ullapool
Corrieshalloch may mean ‘Ugly Hollow’ in Gaelic, but there is nothing ugly about Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve - a deep tree-shrouded chasm and beauty spot that cuts through a Highland wilderness rich in flora and fauna.
Corrieshalloch is a slot gorge, or box-canyon, that was cut as far back as 2.6 million years ago by Ice Age glacial meltwater. The River Droma forges through the gorge, dramatically dropping 100 metres in just 1.25 km through a series of waterfalls, including the thunderous 45 m high Falls of Measach.
A brace of trails opens up the gorge to walkers, with a Victorian suspension bridge built by Sir John Fowler (one of the chief engineers behind the Forth Bridge), a jaw-dropping viewing platform and a viewpoint on hand to help visitors appreciate the full drama of Corrieshalloch Gorge, one of the wonders of the West Highlands. 75,000 visitors come here every year and many regularly come back for more.
What can you see & do there?
Walking is the best way to explore Corrieshalloch Gorge. There are two main trails: the first short, steep route (320 m) leads straight down to the 1874 suspension bridge and on to the viewing platform that lies on the opposite side. The other more level option, suitable for wheelchair users, is a slightly longer 1.1 km trail that curls around the top of the gorge to a viewpoint peering along Loch Broom towards Ullapool. It continues on through Strone Wood to the gorge, where it loops back around to the suspension bridge via the gorge viewpoint.
Vertigo sufferers may struggle with the 25m-long suspension bridge, which sways slightly in a breeze, but crossing is a thrilling experience as the Falls of Measach power below. The cantilevered viewing platform is equally breathtaking.
The landscape of the gorge can be treacherous, especially after rain, so do take care, and make sure that dogs and children are kept under close supervision.
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What's Corrieshalloch's human history?
The story of Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve is inexorably linked with just one man: Sir John Fowler (1817–1898). Fowler was the pioneering engineer behind the Metropolitan Railway in London, the world’s first underground railway.
The energetic Englishman also worked on London’s Victoria Station and Scotland’s Highland Line, but perhaps most famously Fowler was the joint chief engineer on the world-famous Forth Bridge alongside Benjamin Baker. Not content with leaving his mark on Britain, Fowler also displayed his talents in Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Portugal and the United States.
Fowler purchased the 23,000 hectare Braemore Estate in 1857. The engineer enjoyed his frequent holidays here, walking and deer stalking, and went on to become a local Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County.
Fowler is best remembered at Corrieshalloch Gorge today for building the striking suspension bridge across the River Droma, which utilised his well-honed engineering techniques and opened up the gorge to visitors.
The National Trust for Scotland has managed Corrieshalloch Gorge since 1945.
Facilities and Location: Car park on the A832 off the Dingwall/Ullapool Road at Braemore Junction. This is an unmanned site and has no visitor facilities but there is comprehensive interpretation both at the entrance and along the circular Lady Fowler's Walk.
And if you need time to recover from your walk across the Gorge, have a look at what else there is to do in the area!