Mealt Falls

Isle of Skye / Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland, UK (Great Britain)

About Mealt Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2014-08-26
Date last visited: 2014-08-26

Waterfall Latitude: 57.61137
Waterfall Longitude: -6.17215

Mealt Falls was certainly one of those waterfalls with that “Wow!” factor as it had a lot going for it.

Further augmenting its scenic allure was the fact that we made our visit on a near perfect weather day, which seemed to be pretty rare in the UK let alone Scotland.

Kilt_Rock_021_08262014 - Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock
Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

Not only did this roughly 55m waterfall prominently plunge from sea cliffs right into the Sound of Raasay, but it was also backed by the eccentric 90m Kilt Rock formation (see photo above).

True to its name, the Kilt Rock actually did have a striking resemblance to the ubiquitous Scottish kilt.

This could very well have been Julie’s favorite waterfall on our 2014 trip throughout Great Britain!

By the way, the Sound of Raasay was actually part of a larger body of water called The Minch, which itself was connected to the Atlantic Ocean.

Thus, Mealt Falls would technically count as one of those fairly rare waterfalls dropping right into an ocean.

Kilt_Rock_049_08262014 - Looking across a mat of purple heathers fronting the overlook area for Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock
Looking across a mat of purple heathers fronting the overlook area for Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

Some dramatic examples of such waterfalls include McWay Falls and Ketubjorg.

In any case, when you combine the fine natural scenery of the Isle of Skye along with the shapely sea cliffs here, we just had to give Mealt Falls its props.

Some Tidbits About Mealt Falls

Mealt Falls was so named because it was fed by a freshwater lake called Loch Mealt.

When I took photos towards a body of water that was reflecting some of the attractive landscape looking further inland, little did I realize that I was indeed looking at the Loch Mealt.

So by virtue of the falls being fed by this fairly large loch, I’d imagine this waterfall would also tend to have pretty reliable flow.

Kilt_Rock_062_08262014 - Looking over the Loch Mealt, which seemed to provide Mealt Falls its flow as well as its name
Looking over the Loch Mealt, which seemed to provide Mealt Falls its flow as well as its name

While on the topic of nomenclature, we were aware that this part of the Scottish Highlands still had a fair bit of the population speak the Scottish Gaelic.

That said, I could see how the language had suffered from a steady decline since Scotland’s absorption into the United Kingdom.

Yet, apparently only the Kilt Rock seemed to have a well-publicized Scottish Gaelic name – Creag an Fheilidh.

I wasn’t able to find a Gaelic name for Mealt Falls, though if I had to guess, it might be Eas Mealt.

Anyways, the 10th century Vikings named this area Staffin (from the Old Norse word stafr for pillars) referring to the basalt columns of Kilt Rock.

Kilt_Rock_020_08262014 - Broad look at the top of Mealt Falls backed by Kilt Rock
Broad look at the top of Mealt Falls backed by Kilt Rock

According to a sign here, a very extensive collection of dinosaur remains have also been found on the Jurassic rocks along this coast.

Experiencing Mealt Falls

As for our visit to Mealt Falls, walking to the overlook of both the falls and the Kilt Rock couldn’t have been easier.

Basically from the well-signed car park (between Loch Mealt and the dramatic sea cliffs), we walked a few paces to the fenced overlook clinging onto the sea cliffs.

From this overlook, we witnessed the awesome scene of Mealt Falls spilling into the sea before Kilt Rock (as shown above).

There pretty much wasn’t a different way to see the falls as the best views were confined to a small area at this overlook (maybe room for two or three people to get the view cleanly).

Kilt_Rock_039_08262014 - Context of the lookout area for Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock, where only a handful of people can get the best views
Context of the lookout area for Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock, where only a handful of people can get the best views

The rest of the wide open spaces of this overlook didn’t yield good views of the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock as a result of obstructions from the cliffs, the railings, or other people.

However, it did yield other views of the Sound of Raasay and other neighboring sea cliffs in the area, but they weren’t as dramatic as the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock combo.

Confusion between Mealt Falls and Lealt Falls

Finally, there had been some confusion regarding Mealt Falls and another one called Lealt Falls.

To be clear, Mealt Falls was not called Lealt Falls, because we saw signs while driving the A855 road pointing the way towards Lealt Falls from further south closer to Portree (near the trailhead area for Old Man Storr).

Kilt_Rock_040_08262014 - Looking at the sea cliffs in the direction of Lealt Falls even though it couldn't be seen from the overlook area for the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock
Looking at the sea cliffs in the direction of Lealt Falls even though it couldn’t be seen from the overlook area for the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

Indeed, Lealt Falls was a totally different waterfall, and after looking through the literature when we came back from our trip, I’m wondering if we messed up by not stopping for it as it looked scenically alluring in its own right.

As always, hindsight’s 20/20, but perhaps one of these days we might be lucky enough to spend more time in the Isle of Skye on a return visit.

If that happens, I’m sure we’ll make it a point to spend time at Lealt Falls.

Authorities

Mealt Falls resides in the Isle of Skye near Portree in the Inverness-shire, Scotland. It may be administered by the Highland Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit the Highland Council website or the Isle of Skye Tourism website.

Kilt_Rock_006_08262014 - This was our very first look at the impressive Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock
Kilt_Rock_014_08262014 - Depending on how you're positioned at the overlook, you might be able to see more of the Mealt Falls or less of the Mealt Falls
Kilt_Rock_025_08262014 - Another contextual look at the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock, which kind of showed that there really wasn't a whole lot of different ways to experience this view
Kilt_Rock_035_08262014 - Landscape view of the Kilt Rock Overlook with part of Mealt Falls
Kilt_Rock_037_08262014 - Our last look at Mealt Falls.  As you can see, there's only so many ways you can capture this place in a photo
Kilt_Rock_041_08262014 - This was a fairly large flooded section of the overlook area for Kilt Rock, which impacted how we would view the sea cliffs to the south. This was due to the amount of rain that hit much of Scotland prior to our visit in mid-August 2014
Kilt_Rock_047_08262014 - Looking back across the A855 road towards some mountains backing the lookout area for the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Kilt_Rock_050_08262014 - Looking back at the context of the viewing area for Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Kilt_Rock_051_08262014 - Looking south along the sea cliffs in the direction of Portree as well as possibly Lealt Falls as seen from the far southern end of the overlook area for Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

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Mealt Falls was actually part of the well-signed Kilt Rock View.

This was about 15 miles north of the town of Portree on the east coast of the Isle of Skye (roughly 10 miles north of the Bride’s Veil Waterfall and the Old Man Storr).

The signposted car park was on the right side of the A855 road.

Kilt_Rock_048_08262014 - Looking back towards the turnoff for the car park area for the Kilt Rock View
Looking back towards the turnoff for the car park area for the Kilt Rock View

To get to Portree from Inverness (where we were based at during our Highlands portion of the trip), we had to drive the A82 west then south along the northern shore of Loch Ness for about 27 miles towards Glenmoriston.

We then left the A82 and followed the A887 for the next 15 miles before turning right once again to go onto the A87.

Then, we followed the A87 for the next 71 miles or so into the town of Portree, where we then continued north for the aforementioned 15 miles to get to the Kilt Rock view.

During the long stretch of driving on the A87, keep an eye out for the beautiful Eilean Donan (pronounced like “ELL-un-DOH-nun”) Castle.

Eilean_Donan_Castle_037_08262014 - During the long drive between Inverness and Mealt Falls, we stumbled upon the Eilean Donan Castle, which was a very attractive castle just before entering the Isle of Skye
During the long drive between Inverness and Mealt Falls, we stumbled upon the Eilean Donan Castle, which was a very attractive castle just before entering the Isle of Skye

It sat at about the 28th mile after leaving the A887, and the long bridge to the Isle of Skye at the Kyle of Lochalsh at almost the 37th mile.

This long drive took us about 3 hours with some traffic (again because you’re dealing with mostly two-lane highways in opposite directions with very few opportunities to pass slower vehicles).

Finally, for 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.

Focusing on both Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls spilling into the Sound of Raasay before briefly looking further to the south and its coastline

Tagged with: kyle of lochalsh, isle of skye, scotland, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, highlands, portree, kilt rock, inverness-shire, ellishadder



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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