Monday, December 4, 2017

North Ballaculish (Scotland)

Continuing with our Scottish adventure, we headed south on A82 for our next overnight destination…actually a 2-night stayover for us.  Laurie and her sister Bonnie had picked this hotel out long before our trip and I’d worked it in to our itinerary at their ‘request’…

While I usually start out with a photo of our bed and breakfast, hotel or inn, most of the drive to North Ballachulish was in cloudy, rainy and dreary conditions.  The same lousy weather held true when we arrived at our destination…so I waited until the next day before taking a picture of Loch Leven Lodge.  Still, the view from our balcony in the rain wasn’t all bad!

Using the 10:1 zoom lens, Laurie captured this magpie working on the landscaping in an effort to find something edible.  He caught her looking and he gave her the ‘eye’.

FYI…Magpies are members of the crow family.  The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in the world.  It is the only non-mammal that is able to recognize itself in a mirror test.

This was another view from our hotel room.  That’s the A82 Bridge over Loch Leven in the background.  Lots of beauty in the photo despite the weather… 

We’d started our trip with a family reunion beside another Loch Leven…that one is a freshwater loch/lake north of Edinburgh.  In this instance, Loch Leven is actually a sea loch complete with high and low tides.  This loch is almost 9 miles long, but it varies in width from between just 220 yards to a bit over 1 mile.   

This was our room at the hotel with the balcony and rainy view that greeted us on our arrival… The room was well maintained, it was on the first floor and it was close to the bar and dining area.

This was our bathroom at the Loch Leven Hotel.  It was clean and well supplied…

FYI...this hotel has laundry service for those in need.  Both couples used it during our visit.

Here is my sunny day photo of our hotel.  This is the Loch Leven Hotel in North Ballachulish.  This hotel is a historic inn that dates back to the 17th Century, the era of Bonnie Prince Charlie, when it served as a coaching and ferry stop. Today the Loch Leven Hotel offers 12 ungraded en-suite rooms to visitors…

This old photo looking north across the loch, shows The Loch Leven Hotel near the northern landing for the old Ballachulish Ferry crossing.  The ferry operated from 1912 until 1975 when it was replaced by the bridge. 

FYI…This is the “Glenachulish”.  It is the last ‘turntable’ ferry in Scotland.  It was relocated from Ballachulish to Gleneig and is still in operation today, making the crossing from Gleneig on the mainland and Kylerhea on the Isle of Skye. (I borrowed this photo from the Internet)

Here’s the same view from our room that I posted for the first picture… What a difference a bit of sunshine makes!

Laurie took this photo of me standing out on our balcony…

The name Ballachulish means ‘the village by the narrows”.  There wasn’t any road to the head of Loch Leven until 1927, so the Ballachulish Ferry, originally established in 1733, was essential for travelers. 

We both explored the old ferry landing and took photos of Loch Leven.  These views are up the loch toward the mountains.  Laurie took the artistic photo and I took the other one…

Laurie took this photo of the narrows and the bridge.  The Ballachulish bridge is at the entrance to the loch.  The narrows there are called Caolas Mhic Phadraig.  South Ballachulish is just across the bridge.  We noted a fast tidal stream through the narrows.  It flows at up to 7 knots.  The loch is navigable all the way to its end at Kinlochleven.   

In the early 1900s an aluminum smelter was built at Kinlochleven.  A dam designed to provide necessary power and water was completed in 1907.  Ships carrying alumina traversed Loch Leven to Kinlochleven until the plant’s closure in 1996.  The Blackwater reservoir and dam now provide power to Scotland’s national power grid.   

I’m not a big fan of ‘selfies’ but Laurie keeps trying to take photos of us so we can prove that we really are together on our various adventures… It’s a nice backdrop behind us in any case.

This is one of several public rooms at the Loch Leven Hotel.  The various local crafts displayed on the table were for sale. 

This was another popular room at the hotel.  With the fireplace, plenty of reading material and a number of comfortable chairs, this is a great place to relax and unwind.

This is the bar at Loch Leven Hotel.  We did partake of a few adult beverages during our stay… That’s Allie behind the bar.  He seemed to be everywhere in the hotel!

The ladies loved Allie!  Here he is posing with Laurie and Bonnie.  Allie checked us in, helped with our bags, made drinks for us, handled a restaurant reservation, etc.  He always seemed to be there and he was very helpful!

This is the breakfast area at Loch Leven Hotel.  Bill, Bonnie, Laurie and me had a nice table right by the window with a view of the loch.

You guessed it…another full Scottish breakfast.  This was Bill’s and it included an oat cake, scrambled eggs, Scottish bacon, sausage, baked beans, black pudding, mushrooms and a grilled tomato. 

I switched it out a little bit.  I skipped the black pudding, mushrooms and baked beans.  I asked for 2 pieces of the bacon, 2 over-easy eggs and 2 sausages with my oat cake and tomatoes.  As usual, a plentiful supply of toast was also provided.  Since they had a bar, I had Tabasco for my eggs and sausage!

Our rooms with full breakfasts were 135.00 pounds sterling/$175.50 per night.  This was a great place to stay.  Bonnie and Bill thought that it was the best place we stayed in Scotland.  Of course, they like resorts and the service they provide…and the service at Loch Leven Hotel was a big positive for them.

Loch Leven Hotel is located on Old Ferry Road in North Ballachulish, Onich Fort William.  Phone: 01855 821236.  The hotel’s website is at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and joining us on our Scottish adventure!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I like the hat on you. Looks like a good place to stay and serving up some fine breakfast meals.

  2. Sunshine definitely makes a difference when on a trip! Great photos! Hotel looks good and the breakfast looks very appetizing! Have a great rest of the week!