Clashnessie Waterfall

Assynt Parish / Kylesku, Scotland, UK (Great Britain)

About Clashnessie Waterfall

Hiking Distance: 1 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2014-08-25
Date last visited: 2014-08-25

Waterfall Latitude: 58.21707
Waterfall Longitude: -5.31319

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The Clashnessie Waterfall was our waterfalling reason to take the deceptively long (and dangerous) out-and-back detour from the Loch Assynt vicinity towards the tranquil town and bay of Clashnessie (Clais an Easaidh in Gaelic). The waterfall itself was said to be a modest 15m tall, but when we saw it in person, it had a very full flow and bulbous appearance as it stood out behind the handful of homes and pastures that made up the community of Clashnessie. On the opposite side of the hamlet in the direction of the Clashnessie Bay was a scenic soft-sanded beach, which our daughter thoroughly enjoyed since the hike to falls was a bit on the rough side.

Speaking of the hike, the signs in the area actually pointed out that there were two paths reaching the Clashnessie Waterfall from the car park by the beach. The sanctioned path actually required me to walk along the mostly single-track B869 road towards the western end of the hamlet before another sign pointed me inland, where I’d have to weave in between some private property then go onto a rough 4×4 track leading towards what seemed to be yet another property where I wasn’t sure if it was occupied or not. Just before the trail disappeared into that property, there were more signs pointing to my left telling me that further progress was across some stepping stones traversing the Abhainn Clais an Eas (Clashnessie River).

Because the river was running a bit high, I wasn’t willing to risk a mishap slipping and falling and possibly dousing my camera (and other things) with water. Perhaps with trekking poles (which I didn’t have as I was trying to travel light) I might be able to traverse these stepping stones without water getting into the Gore-tex boots. But as it was, I had to turn back and give the non-sanctioned route a try. At least I did spent some time taking a few photos of the front of Clashnessie Waterfall from a distance, but it still left me wanting to get a closer look. So after about 45 minutes or so of this futile out-and-back pursuit, I returned to the car park where I then started going the other route.

The non-sanctioned route started adjacent to the public car park near the Clashnessie Beach. This route was the direct walking path at the base of the adjacent hills and cliffs leading past a private property or two before getting to the other side of the stepping stones (the ones that turned be back earlier), then finally reaching the base of the impressive Clashnessie Waterfall. It turned out that because this path passed by (and possibly through) some private property, it might have caused issues with the landowner(s). This was especially apparent on the way back from the falls when regaining the trail past the stepping stones and back to the skirting of the property wasn’t very trivial as the trail was ill-defined there. Plus, the footing on the trail was rocky and very muddy for most of the way so despite the short distances, progress was pretty slow.

In any case, the overall time I spent away from the car to do this hike was about 90 minutes, but we have to keep in mind that I did the trail both ways. So it’s probably more reasonable to expect that this trail should take no more than 45 minutes to an hour depending on your pace and how long you want to linger at the falls.

Clashnessie_003_08252014 - While making the treacherous drive on the B869 road to Clashnessie, we encountered this small herd of red deer right off the road
Clashnessie_011_08252014 - Looking across the Clashnessie Beach from the public car park
Clashnessie_014_08252014 - At first, I was walking along the single-track B869 road towards the other side of the hamlet of Clashnessie
Clashnessie_018_08252014 - Near this old-school phone booth, that was when I then went inland towards the waterfall
Clashnessie_022_08252014 - Looking straight ahead at the Clashnessie Waterfall in the distance as I had to weave my way amongst the private property to get there
Clashnessie_023_08252014 - Getting closer to the Clashnessie Waterfall from the sanctioned trail
Clashnessie_024_08252014 - This shot tries to show you the type of terrain I had to deal with when hiking the sanctioned trail
Clashnessie_028_08252014 - These were the signposts telling me to take the stepping stones to the left and cross the Clashnessie River, which unfortunately, was running at nearly full spate during my visit
Clashnessie_033_08252014 - View of the Clashnessie Waterfall from the sanctioned trail but before the stepping stones
Clashnessie_034_08252014 - Looking across a private field towards a direct view of Clashnessie Waterfall
Clashnessie_051_08252014 - Tahia and Julie enjoying themselves at Clashnessie Beach while I was trying to find a way to access the waterfall
Clashnessie_054_08252014 - Now I was walking up the unsanctioned trail after my failure to cross the stepping stones
Clashnessie_060_08252014 - Looking up the Clashnessie River from the other side of the stepping stones towards the falls
Clashnessie_070_08252014 - This was as close to the Clashnessie Waterfall as I would get
Clashnessie_079_08252014 - The faint walking path that I tried to follow on the way back to the car park


Earlier in the writeup, I said that the single-track road B869 to get from Loch Assynt to Clashnessie was dangerous. The reason why I said this was because that single-track road was full of blind turns and even blind summits where if you’re not careful, you can easily get into a head-on collision with someone going in the opposite direction. And even though my GPS was adamant about this 14-mile drive (between the A894 road and Clashnessie) taking less than 20 minutes, the reality was that it’s unlikely you’d be able to go faster than an average speed of 10-15 mph. So even though we’re saying it took us 45 minutes to make the drive, I can easily envision it taking an hour or more if you were really deliberate about driving the B869 road.

So with that caveat aside, it would take another 2 hours to drive from Inverness to the B869 turnoff a short distance south of Kylesku. This B869 turnoff was just under 6 miles north of the Ardvreck Castle and about 2 miles south of Kylesku both along the A894 road. For directions on getting to Ardvreck Castle, see the directions on its page. For directions on getting to Kylesku, see the directions on the Eas a’ Chual Aluinn page.

There was also the possibility of taking the A867 road west of Loch Assynt towards Loch Inver, where the other side of the B869 road was, but we didn’t go that way so we can’t really say much more about that.

In any case, from Inverness, plan on the drive to get to Clashnessie to take at least 3 hours.

Finally, for some additional context, our base of Inverness was 57 miles (90 minutes drive) southeast of Ullapool, 155 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Edinburgh and 169 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Glasgow.

Starting off with a distant view of the waterfall in full spate then walking over to the stepping stones that I was supposed to cross (but the stream was running too full)

Left to right sweep of the falls from near its base with the sweep ending further downstream

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Tagged with: assynt, kylesku, clashnessie, sutherland, scotland, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, highlands

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