top of page

Scotland's Pristine Waterfalls

Scotland is renowned for its natural beauty with rolling hills, dramatic crags, beautiful lochs, fast-flowing rivers carving into the surrounding landscape and of course waterfalls. Scotland is said to have 20 waterfalls from the highest in Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland - Eas a' Chual Aluinn with a sheer drop of 200 m (660 ft) to the most magical - Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye. Some are easy to reach, while others are a bit more challenging. Here are some you might like to visit.

The magical blue water pools and falls, carving there way through the landscape.
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland ©MDHarding

Scotland's Pristine Waterfalls

Grey Mares Trail Waterfall, Dumfries and Galloway

The minute you see this cascading waterfall you know why it's called Grey Mares Tail. Robert Burns lived nearby in 1789 and was said to have been inspired by the waterfall going on to write Tam O'Shanter and a Grey Mare's Tail tale.

After a number of years of driving past it, we finally made a trip. The car park was really busy and so we waited in earnest for somebody to return to their car soon. We didn't have long to wait. There are two walking routes; one directly to the waterfall taking 10 minutes and the other almighty uphill, narrow step staired hour and 30-minute climb. At the top is Loch Skeen said to be home to Britain's rare freshwater fish - Vendace. On a good day, there are also good views across the surrounding landscape extending as for as the Lake District.

We drove down from Edinburgh and took the city bypass via Peebles, in the Scottish Borders and on past St Mary's Loch. It was a beautiful hot sunny day, with many sailing boats and kayaks. The narrow country roads saw many cyclists too. After the 1 hour 30 minute drive it was nice to get out and stretch our legs. We took a picnic lunch and plenty of water for the trip. Beware there are no toilets or catering facilities on-site. On the return route, we opted to take the road back via Moffat and onto the motorway. It is a beautiful site, maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. Look out for the rare plants, Osprey's, goats and more. Well worth the hike!

Why not make a weekend trip to visit more in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway area's including Smails Printing Works, the incredible Polish Map of Scotland, Wigtown's many independent book shops, Rockcliffe scenic bay and more on the South West 300.

Grey Mare's Tail Waterfall in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
Grey Mare's Tail ©MDHarding

Black Linn Falls, Dunkeld, Perthshire

The Hermitage, an 18th-century pleasure ground for the Dukes of Atholl is located just off the A9. It's really easy to access via car or you could take the train to Dunkeld-Birnam Station. There is also the option to take the Citylink bus from Edinburgh, which stops in the village of Birnam. The National Trust for Scotland protects the 33 acres of ancient woodlands with victorian folly - Ossian's Hall, which has views over the river and thundering falls.

Again we drove from Edinburgh taking around 1 hour 30 minutes. There is a large car park (£3 NTS charge) and it's a short walk along a firm tree-covered, wide path from the car park to the folly. There is a number of walks through the area taking in the towering Douglas Firs and more. Look out for the red squirrels and the hidden totem pole. The aroma of pine is so refreshing too as you walk along the banks of the River Baan.

Are you a fan of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit? You might like to visit The Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden in Birnam. I can also highly recommend the Birnam Inn for delicious pizza!

Black Linn Falls surrounded by the autumn coloured foliage.
Black Linn Falls, The Hermitage, Perthshire, Scotland ©MDHarding

Dollar Glen Waterfall

Dollar Glen located by the Ochil Hills is steeped in history! At the top of the glen is Castle Campbell, once home to the Dukes of Argyll between the 1400s - 1654. Today it is popular with walkers, ramblers and named a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Due to its geology, plant and animal life.

Today the site is protected and managed by the Historic Environment Scotland. There are two car parks. One at the bottom of the hill and another close to the entrance of Castle Campbell. Parking is free of charge, though there is an entrance fee into the castle.

The walks around the area are beautiful including some spectacular views over Dollar.

We parked in the bottom car park and walked up the hill, then took the narrow winding path further up the hill and through the forest, before wandering across the pasture. You can't really get lost, as all the paths lead mainly around the castle, with another exiting by the lower car park. We spent almost three hours walking around and exploring. You could spend much longer, taking time to enjoy a picnic and visiting the castle.

The town has a small museum, specialty shops, co-op grocery shop, pubs and cafes. Highly recommend Cafe des Fleurs! The salmon sandwich with pea and pear soup was delicious and very filling. If you would like to try haggis, they also have a mean spicy haggis pannii (not very spicy). I also had a strawberry milkshake, the glass-topped with hundreds and thousands. Very cute! We couldn't eat another bite but couldn't resist a takeaway slice of homebaked Victoria sponge with thick layers of cream and strawberry jam. Delicious!

The fern gully Dollar glen, with mos covered stones and trees, with the plunging rapid waterfall.
Dollar Glen Waterfall ©MDHarding

Falls of Measach & Corrieshalloch Gorge

Said to be one of Britain's most spectacular gorge's - Corrieshalloch is 60 metres deep by 10 metres wide gorge, with the Falls of Measach dropping a whopping 46 metres! Located in Ross-Shire, Scottish Highlands it is one of the most northerly waterfalls. The leisurely 20-minute walk from the car park isn't a strenuous one. There is a number of steep wooden stairs down and then an incredible Victorian observation wooden suspension bridge. Well worth the short walk! If the takeaway van is there, you have earned it (wink). Beware there are no facilities and it is a paid National Trust for Scotland car park.

The fast flowing falls through the deep narrow gorge.
Falls of Measach at Corrieshalloch Gorge, Ross-shire, Scotland ©MDHarding

Falls of Dochart, Killin

The cascading Falls of Dochart are very popular with visitors and one of the most photographed in Scotland! Located in the small village of Killin just west of Loch Tay. Don't miss a visit to the local Breadalbane Folklore Centre to discover more about the area. The restored St Fillian's Mill dates back to the 1840s and the traditional 1600 claymore sword on display, is said to belong to Rob Roy MacGregor. Did you know you can also visit the island of Innis Bhuidhe? Home to the burial ground of the Clan MacNab. The island is under lock and key. The key can be borrowed from the Killin Library.

Beware there is very little car parking, if you can, visit early on a weekday. The best place to park is on the small main street as you enter the village.

The cascading falls running through the village of Killin.
Falls of Dochart, Killin, Scotland ©MDHarding 2004

I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to visit one or more of Scotland's beautiful falls. There are a few more but a few are a bit out of reach and others surrounded by overgrown trees.

As always, I would love to hear what your favourite waterfall is and please do not hesitate in getting in touch with any questions and comments you may have. You can reach me via email at:

For more inspiration check out Highlands To The Islands - Scotland blog.

103 views0 comments


bottom of page