Plodda Falls

Tomich / Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 2
Plodda Falls and Viewing Platform

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Plodda Falls (Eas Ploda in Gaelic; pronounced "es-PLOD-duh") was a very tall 46m high waterfall that we did as a side excursion somewhat out of the way from the busy northern or western shores of Loch Ness. Since the falls was part of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, it turned out that we were treated to a refreshing hike amongst tall trees punctuated with this waterfall. We didn't encounter sheep, clearings from logging, or other unsightly things where compromises with Nature were made. In fact, I would learn later that the Glen Affric we experienced today was the result of an ongoing restoration effort spearheaded by Findlay MacRae, who was the head forester when the Forestry Commission bought this area in 1951. Basically, the restoration began with a concerted effort to save the remaining native Caledonian pine forest from any further exploitation or damage by means of fencing off the areas to be protected while culling deer who didn't have natural predators to keep damage to a minimum amongst the young trees to be grown. So this pretty much explained why we were in the presence of many tall pine trees (though some were non-native douglas fir planted by Lord Tweedmouth in 1855), and the Plodda Falls certainly held its own when compared to the other giants of the forest.

From the car park (see directions below), we took the most straightforward path to the falls and back. Of course, we did notice that there were several other options to extend this walk, including one that would've led us to the highest douglas fir pine trees in Scotland along the Tweedmouth Walk. In any case, we followed the signs, then embarked on a gently downhill hike that briefly took us alongside the Abhainn Deabhag (Deabhag River) before the river made its dramatic plunge beneath a viewing platform that we also stood upon to take in the views as well as to get that sense of vertigo when looking down at the falls beneath our feet.

After having our fill of the lookout platform, we then continued down a series of steps leading for a few minutes more to a small lookout area peering right back up at the waterfall with the viewing platform right above it (see picture at the top of this page). It turned out that the platform (built in 2009) was said to have been there as a replacement for a footbridge that was built by Lord Tweedmouth in 1880 who had owned the Guisachan estate at the time. This was probably where the most satisfying views of Plodda Falls came from.

On the way back up, I did take a short but deceptively dangerous detour that followed other trails of use (they were actually false paths) past some very eroded ledges leading down to a rock outcrop where I was able to get an obstructed view back up at the Plodda Falls. Due to the tree obstructions, the view wasn't great, and it was probably questionable whether to do that scramble in the first place. Nonetheless, you can see the photos below and evaluate for yourself whether you deem this detour worthy of your time, effort, and risk tolerance. But in the end, we spent about an hour to do the 0.4 mile out-and-back excursion, and this included my detour to the very bottom of the falls.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

We based ourselves for four nights in the city of Inverness, which afforded us a lot of flexibility in terms of going to different parts of the Highlands depending on the weather conditionsWe based ourselves for four nights in the city of Inverness, which afforded us a lot of flexibility in terms of going to different parts of the Highlands depending on the weather conditions
Less than 2 miles beyond Drumnadrochit along the A82 road was the attractive ruins of Urquhart Castle, which overlooks Loch Ness and could very well be the most worthwhile Loch Ness excursionLess than 2 miles beyond Drumnadrochit along the A82 road was the attractive ruins of Urquhart Castle, which overlooks Loch Ness and could very well be the most worthwhile Loch Ness excursion
Our visit to Plodda Falls was actually part of a looping route around Loch Ness from Inverness, including the loch's quieter southeastern sideOur visit to Plodda Falls was actually part of a looping route around Loch Ness from Inverness, including the loch's quieter southeastern side
The well-signed car park for Plodda Falls after driving a single-lane road for 6 miles of which the last 2 were somewhat unpaved and bumpyThe well-signed car park for the falls after driving a single-lane road for 6 miles of which the last 2 were somewhat unpaved and bumpy

On the direct trail to Plodda Falls meandering amongst some impressively tall pine treesOn the direct trail to the falls meandering amongst some impressively tall pine trees

The short trail generally went downhill, which meant we'd have to get back all the elevation loss on the returnThe short trail generally went downhill, which meant we'd have to get back all the elevation loss on the return

Eventually, the trail would take us near this small cascade just upstream of the main drop of Plodda FallsEventually, the trail would take us near this small cascade just upstream of the main drop of Plodda Falls

Approaching the lookout platform perched right above Plodda FallsApproaching the lookout platform perched right above the falls

Looking right down at the main drop of Plodda Falls with a smaller cascade further downstream at the top of this photoLooking right down at the main drop of Plodda Falls with a smaller cascade further downstream at the top of this photo

Julie and Tahia enjoying the view from the lookout platform atop Plodda FallsJulie and Tahia enjoying the view from the lookout platform atop the falls

Another look down below from the lookout platform above Plodda FallsAnother look down below from the lookout platform above the falls

Once we had our fill of the upper viewing platform, we then descended the steps down to the lower lookout for Plodda FallsOnce we had our fill of the upper viewing platform, we then descended the steps down to the lower lookout for the falls

This was the full view of the 46m tall Plodda Falls from the lower lookoutThis was the full view of the 46m tall Plodda Falls from the lower lookout

When we had our fill of the lower lookout, Julie and Tahia headed back to the car park first, while I investigated some use trails to see where they went. I don't think these use trails were official given how eroded, exposed, and steep these 'paths' wereWhen we had our fill of the lower lookout, Julie and Tahia headed back to the car park first, while I investigated some use trails to see where they went. I don't think these use trails were official given how eroded, exposed, and steep these 'paths' were

The use trail ultimately led me down to a rock outcrop that yielded me this partial and obstructed view of Plodda Falls even further beneath the official lower lookoutThe use trail ultimately led me down to a rock outcrop that yielded me this partial and obstructed view of Plodda Falls even further beneath the official lower lookout

Climbing back up the steps as we were getting back all that elevation lossClimbing back up the steps as we were getting back all that elevation loss


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Repeated sweeps looking over the platform right above the waterfall


Focused on the falls from the official lookout near its base


Focused on the falls from the overgrown outcrop at the very base of the falls after an unofficial and steep trail scramble


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Inverness, we took the A82 west for 14.3 miles along the northwestern shores of Loch Ness towards the town of Drumnadrochit. Within the town, we left the A82 and kept right onto the A831. We then followed the A831 for the next 11.6 miles. Be careful in this stretch as we did encounter a sheep that crossed the road that very easily could've been hit! We were eventually led to a bend in the road near Cannich, where we then left the A831 by turning left onto a single-lane road leading to the village of Tomich.

In the first two miles, we would reach the town of Tomich, but by this point, we saw signs for Plodda Falls, and we kept going. In two miles beyond Tomich, the single-lane road then became unpaved forest road, where we had to be cautious of potholes and ruts. Finally after another two miles of the unsealed driving, we would reach the well-signed and fairly spacious car park for Plodda Falls. Overall, this drive took us a little over an hour.

To give you some additional context, our base of Inverness was 65 miles (about 90-120 minutes drive) northeast of Fort William, 155 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Edinburgh and 169 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Glasgow.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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