About Clashnessie Waterfall
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.
This 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.
A Sanctioned Hiking Path to the Clashnessie Waterfall
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.
This approach made me weave in between some private property before going 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 required crossing the Abhainn Clais an Eas (Clashnessie River) across some stepping stones.
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 have been 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 spend some time taking a few photos of the front of Clashnessie Waterfall from a distance, but it did leave 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.
Alternate Path to the Clashnessie Waterfall
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 that turned me back from the sanctioned route.
Beyond the stepping stones, then I’d finally reach 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 because regaining the trail past the stepping stones wasn’t obvious.
In fact, the trail skirting the private property was ill-defined as well as rocky and very muddy for most of the way.
Thus, I can easily see how confused hikers would inadvertently stumble into the fields of the private property thereby causing tension with the landowners.
In any case, the overall time I spent away from the car to do this hike was about 90 minutes.
However, 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.
The Clashnessie Waterfall resides in Sutherland, Scotland. It may be administered by the Assynt Development Trust. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
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.
If you’re not careful, you can easily get into a head-on collision with someone going in the opposite direction!
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.
However, 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.
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