Plodda Falls

Tomich / Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, Scotland, UK (Great Britain)

About Plodda Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.8-1 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2014-08-27
Date last visited: 2014-08-27

Waterfall Latitude: 57.27247
Waterfall Longitude: -4.85917

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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.

Plodda_Falls_045_08272014 - Plodda Falls and the upper lookout platform
Plodda Falls and the upper lookout platform

We didn’t encounter sheep, clearings from logging, or other unsightly things where compromises with Nature were made.

The Glen Affric Restoration Effort

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.

They did this by fencing off the areas to be protected while culling deer who didn’t have natural predators.

Plodda_Falls_005_08272014 - Hiking amongst tall Caledonian pine trees on the way down to the Plodda Falls
Hiking amongst tall Caledonian pine trees on the way down to the Plodda Falls

These measures helped to keep damage to a minimum while allowing 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.

Nevertheless, the Plodda Falls certainly held its own when compared to the other giants of the forest.

The Plodda Falls Experience

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.

Plodda_Falls_010_08272014 - Looking towards an upper cascade upstream of the Plodda Falls
Looking towards an upper cascade upstream of the Plodda Falls

In any case, we followed the signs, then embarked on a gently downhill hike that briefly took us alongside the Abhainn Deabhag (Deabhag River).

Then, the river made its dramatic plunge beneath a viewing platform that we also stood upon.

From its lofty vantage point, we took in the vertigo-inducing views, especially when we looked down at Plodda Falls beneath our feet.

After having our fill of the lookout platform, we then continued down a series of steps for a few minutes more until we arrived at a small lookout area.

Plodda_Falls_028_08272014 - Looking down over the Plodda Falls from the upper lookout platform
Looking down over the Plodda Falls from the upper lookout platform

From here, we peered right back up at the Plodda Falls with the viewing platform that we were at earlier perched right above it (as pictured 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).

In any case, this lower viewpoint 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).

Plodda_Falls_037_08272014 - Full view of the Plodda Falls from the bottom of its trail
Full view of the Plodda Falls from the bottom of its trail

These paths went 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.

Authorities

Plodda Falls resides in the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve near Tomich in the Inverness-shire, Scotland. It is administered by Forestry and Land Scotland. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Plodda_Falls_008_08272014 - The short trail to Plodda Falls generally went downhill, which meant we'd have to get back all the elevation loss on the return
Plodda_Falls_011_08272014 - Eventually, the trail would take us near this small cascade just upstream of the main drop of Plodda Falls
Plodda_Falls_016_08272014 - Approaching the lookout platform perched right above Plodda Falls
Plodda_Falls_021_08272014 - Looking right down from the upper viewing platform towards the main drop of Plodda Falls with a smaller cascade further downstream of it
Plodda_Falls_026_08272014 - Julie and Tahia enjoying the view from the lookout platform atop Plodda Falls
Plodda_Falls_032_08272014 - Once we had our fill of the upper viewing platform, we then descended the steps down to the lower lookout for Plodda Falls
Plodda_Falls_052_08272014 - After Julie and Tahia had their fill of the bottom lookout of Plodda Falls, they then headed back up the steps to return to the car park
Plodda_Falls_054_08272014 - The somewhat slippery informal trail leading down to a partial view of the bottom of Plodda Falls beneath the sanctioned lookout
Plodda_Falls_059_08272014 - While Julie and Tahia were well on their way back up to the car park, 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
Plodda_Falls_055_08272014 - 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 lookout
Plodda_Falls_060_08272014 - Climbing back up the steps as we were getting back all that elevation loss to get to the bottom of Plodda Falls

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To drive to Plodda Falls 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!

Plodda_Falls_001_08272014 - Approaching the car park for Plodda Falls
Approaching the car park for Plodda Falls

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.

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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Tagged with: tomich, glen affric, inverness-shire, scotland, loch ness, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, highlands, findlay macrae, tweedmouth, deabhag, tomich, drumnadrochit



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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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