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My Solo Hike to Steall Falls

When I arrived in Scotland, I arrived with a meticulously planned list of places I wanted to see and hike. It was compiled after months and months of reading and researching.

Steall Falls was NOT on that list.

I hadn’t even heard of it, to be honest.

But as destiny would have it, on the day I decided to hike the massive Ben Nevis, (extremely early in the morning) the weather was just not cooperating. After a little more than an hour trying to brave the freezing cold temperature, and ghastly rain, I gave up and turned back.

I obviously was super disappointed, as I had read so much about Ben Nevis, and prepared for it wholeheartedly.

But I mistakenly took a backpack that wasn’t waterproof, so all my things, including my camera and phone were at risk of getting soaked.

So I headed back to my lodgings waiting for the rain to let up a bit. Once there, not wanting to waste my morning, I quickly looked in my phone for another hike to take its place.

That’s when I stumbled upon an online thread, where someone mentioned Steall Falls. Beautiful? Dangerous? Need they say more?

I didn’t even read any other details about it, I was already on my way!

With no cell service that high up, I told the taxi driver to come back for me in about 3 hours, and waved farewell.

Entering the trail, I’m not going to lie, I was so nervous!

My heart was racing as I passed a huge “Danger of death” sign. 😧

Now for some context, I’m not an advanced hiker, I would say I’m still in the beginner-ish stage, which is why my experience might have been so dramatic.

All traces of rain had vanished by then, and the sun was beginning to shine on that crisp Saturday morning. However, it was not to last, as the further I walked in the trail, the darker it got.

A group of four hikers were a bit further ahead than me, and although I tried to keep them in sight, (as a safety precaution) I quickly fell behind. I WAS going rather slow, and they were obviously much more experienced than me, and just seemed to be blazing through it.

For me however, the path was tricky, with huge boulders to one side, and a deep ravine on the other.

The far drop of the ravine was just inches away from the thin, rocky path I was walking.

To top it off, most of the path had a constant stream of water running through it, which made many of the rocks extremely slippery.

Lost in my thoughts, (as per usual) and just enjoying the scenery, I slipped on one of the rocks, and landed hard on my backside, almost rolling off the edge.

Dusting myself off, I kept going. (I’m a trooper, what can I say)

Now, in many parts of the trail, you must scramble upwards to get to the other side or climb steeply down, like a zig-zag, except up and down instead of side to side.

I was enjoying myself so much, as I again almost slipped when I was scrambling from one side to the other. This one really scared me, as I fell forward, almost smashing my sister’s camera! Oh, and almost falling to what surely would have been a most horrid death.

At that point, I was almost tempted to turn back, I thought surely I was going to end up severely hurt or worse.

Pausing to catch my breath, and contemplating my next course of action. Naturally, I decided to continue. I was so determined to make it to the end.

By now I had already made up fanciful stories of what I would see, or the wonders I would find.

My imagination as usual, was running rampant and freely.

The wind that whirled around me, rustling the blooming spring leaves, seemed to carry my dreams even higher, encouraging, and coaxing them.

After about two hours, I saw light up ahead. What had been a thin path, started getting wider and wider, as I left the deep ravine behind.

I was stopped in my tracks, as I finally made it out of the enclosed hiking trail.

I felt time had surely stopped, as I stood there, frozen.

Awestruck, at the beauty I beheld.

It was like I stepped into a movie set, you know, the places that don’t really seem to exist. It WAS real, and I was there!

Like a valley, lush green mountains loomed over me, and a small loch ran all along the course of the path. (It was more like a creek, I just like the word loch)

The sun was shining ever so brightly, as if it had abandoned all the rest of the world, just to come and shine there.

The meadows were blooming with beautiful wildflowers, and creatures could be heard all around.

I wiped a tear that trickled down my cheek, as I tried to just absorb every little piece of that moment.

I’m not sure why I got so emotional, but it was truly the most beautiful feeling I had ever had.

My heart ached, knowing I had to leave that place. But it was also full, and overjoyed at the beauty I got to witness, not many get to do so.

The waterfall at the end of the path was quite impressive, the second tallest in Scotland!

But really, it was the valley that stole my heart.

I stayed there for a bit longer, instantly regretting that I had told the taxi driver to come back for me so soon.

Solemnly, I made my way back to the trail, wanting so desperately to stay there forever, while knowing it could not be so.

So I left a piece of my heart there, in the valley of Steall Falls. Where for a brief moment, I saw every adventure waiting for me just over the moss-covered mountains, and all of my dreams painted across its blue skies.

It shall remain my most treasured memory, until my feet may walk its sweet path once more.

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope you enjoyed. 💛

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