Kinlochleven guide

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The village was dominated by an aluminium processing plant, powered by a hydroelectric scheme situated in the mountains above.

The hydroelectric scheme was constructed in 1907 for the British Aluminium Company (later merged with Alcan) and was designed by engineer brothers Patrick and Charles Meik. Chief assistant resident engineer on the project was a young William Halcrow.

The scheme involved the construction of a gravity dam over 914 m long (the longest in the Highlands) and 27 m high, creating the Blackwater Reservoir. It was built at an elevation of over 305 m in rugged and almost inaccessible terrain, and involved the construction of some 6 km of concrete aqueduct and nearly 13 km of steel pipe. It has been described as the last major creation of the traditional 'navvy' whose activities in the construction of canals and railways left an indelible mark on the British countryside.

During the Second World War Corporal James Hendry, a Canadian serviceman, won the George Cross for the heroism he displayed during a fire and subsequent explosion at a powder house used for building of the tunnel which brings water to the plant.

In 1991, the village (according to Annual Census returns) had just over 1000 inhabitants in some 420 households. It has a post office and a handful of hotels and hostels popular with walkers following the West Highland Way. A building, which was formerly a coke bunker for carbon production for the Reduction Works, has now (2004) been transformed into a local ale brewery and a major mountain activity centre, known as the Ice Factor, and includes the world's highest indoor ice-climbing facility, the UK's highest indoor articulated rock climbing wall and bouldering facility.


Latest Tweets featuring Kinlochleven

  • Matthew Goer

    End of WHW! 16 miles from Kinlochleven to Fort Williiam. So sunburnt! Here's Ben Nevis sneaking into view.

    Today, 18:31

  • steven bates

    RT @sarah_sharps: Ooh they've just opened a new Via Ferrata in Kinlochleven! Could do that on my afternoon off on the WHW trek.... :D http:…

    Today, 15:42

  • Mountain Lass

    Ooh they've just opened a new Via Ferrata in Kinlochleven! Could do that on my afternoon off on the WHW trek.... :D

    Today, 15:37

  • Finding A Neish

    It's been two weeks since we walked into Fort William. Given today's weather though, it feels more like two seasons:

    Today, 15:03

  • West Highland Way

    RT @srhodes81: @WalkingTheWHW @travel_lite_whw devils staircase needs to be renamed tho to kinlochleven downhill killer

    Today, 13:09

  • Aoife Glass

    @KnittedMoomin I know! I'm actually doing a ride out of Kinlochleven this week too, &we drove past Ingleton on the way up. Flashback!

    Today, 12:05

  • Zoë

    @Silverstrange I have envy. It's miserable & grey down south. Fort William just reminds me of Kinlochleven and field trips now though!

    Today, 11:58

  • Steven Rhodes

    @WalkingTheWHW @travel_lite_whw devils staircase needs to be renamed tho to kinlochleven downhill killer

    Today, 11:26

  • Scott Ferguson

    @jackkwood @RSRstopher @BenB_7 @okeydokey_mik The loop round Kinlochleven is only 15 miles south of Fort William. Definitely one for HH15.

    Today, 01:11

  • Kinlochleven

    Stunning view in Ballachulish tonight #Scotland

    Yesterday, 21:47

  • Ross

    @BenB_7 @jackkwood @okeydokey_mik @ScottAFerguson Glencoe to Kinlochleven and back. Not too far from where we met last time. Great fun!

    Yesterday, 21:07

  • Jamie Smith

    We live in a beautiful country... why not go exploring. #Kinlochleven #IceFactorAdventures

    Yesterday, 17:50

  • Matthew Goer

    End of Day 6 of WHW. 10 miles from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven via the Devil's Staircase. First view of Ben Nevis.

    Yesterday, 17:19

  • Kinlochleven

    Blackwater dam. The reservoir was very low that year. #Blackwater #Scotland

    Yesterday, 15:16

  • Kinlochleven

    Commemorative memorial on B863 near Callert House #Kinlochleven

    Yesterday, 14:00

  • West Highland Way

    @73_howden Day 5 Blackwater Hostel Kinlochleven. Bunkhouse or camp. Day 6 Fort William Bunkhouse / camp or B&B.

    Yesterday, 00:11

  • Carmen Guzman

    Scotland Road Trip - Kinlochleven-2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Apr 17th, 06:34

  • SCLohan

    We have arrived in #kinlochleven. Home for one night then upwards to Skye. Travelling in HAMISH the…

    Apr 16th, 20:38

  • Kinlochleven

    The water pipes #Kinlochleven

    Apr 16th, 13:21

  • Kinlochleven

    The 6foot way , The concrete conduit that carried the water from the Blackwater dam to the smelter at Kinlochleven.

    Apr 16th, 13:10

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