Walk: Cruachan Valley, Argyll and Bute

This 2.5-mile ramble takes you underground into an astonishing subterranean power station and then emerges topside for a walk to the reservoir that feeds it.

 

DXECC7 Cruachan dam,hydro-electric site on Ben Cruachan,Argyll


Out in the open

The power station’s noisy belly contrasts with the wonderful tranquility above ground. After a tour of the station, this walk will take you up to the reservoir and dam, sat in the shadow of Ben Cruachan, the highest mountain in Argyll and Bute at 1,126m. Standing here, it’s difficult to picture the rumblings and roarings deep beneath you. 

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 1. The road taken

Two parallel paths run up on either side of the Falls of Cruachan from the entrance to the power station. Take the western route to the left – it starts off tarred and then becomes a track, crossing the railway and continuing uphill with views over Loch Awe. 

 2. Rising dam

Continue on the small path to a track below the Cruachan dam. Turn left up to the base of the dam and look for the iron steps that lead you on to the top of the dam.

 3. Mountain’s shadow

From here you look across the reservoir and up to the bulk of Ben Cruachan. Walk along the edge of a reservoir to find a track leading down to a junction and keep right. 

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The peaceful Cruachan valley is home to pine martins, ospreys and golden eagles, as the hydro-electric power station lies hidden beneath (credit, Dennis Hardley)

 4. Road home

At this point you can retake the path you followed up, or aim for a ladder stile that leads to a path down the other side of the Falls of Cruachan. It crosses grassy slopes and cuts through the wood. Just above the railway, it turns to the left and then passes under the line and back to the A85.