Walk – St John’s Church Forest Walk


St John’s Church Forest Walk

Start/Finish         Map Reference – NN 067 584

Landranger 41

Parking                 Lay by at entrance to forest road adjacent to the old rectory

Distance               3-5 miles/5-8 km

Time                      2-3 hours


These walks, completely on forest roads, give good views of the two peaks of Beinn a’ Bheithir, a splendid view right down Loch Leven and good views from above the Ballachulish Bridge across to North Ballachulish and Onich.  Way marked walks and cycle routes are listed at the entrance to the forest road.


First through the kissing gate giving access to the forest road.  Ignore the two short tracks to the left as the main track bends round to the right – they are very short dead ends.  Continue up the road looking behind to overview of St John’s church, Ballachulish village, down Loch Leven to the islands, Glencoe village and beyond.  The path climbs continuously for some distance and soon there is a view over Ballachulish Bridge to Onich, North Ballachulish, Bishop’s Bay and right up Loch Leven.  To the right is the Linnhe and the mountains of Morvern while straight ahead for much of the way Beinn a’ Bheithir looms large.


After about 3 km there is the first track leading off to the right (point (A)) – ignore it as the return route comes back up that road. A further 2 km on there is another road leading to the right.  At this point there are two options.


1)      For the shorter of these walks take the road that leads down to the right.  It leads down to the river that flows through Gleann a’ Chaollais.  At the burn follow the right fork up the hill back to the junction mentioned at (A) above.  Return left down the forest road to the start point.

2)      Continuing on the path for a further 1 km brings a further decision point.  (The left fork is a dead end but, after about 500m there is a concrete bridge over a burn and at that point the view left over to Onich is worthwhile.  To the right is the coll between the two peaks forming part of Beinn a’ Bheithir.  This is a popular starting point for serious hill walkers aiming for either or both peaks, both of which are over 1000m high).  Taking the right fork continues the walk and leads gently up to a concrete bridge over a burn at which point the forest road starts down the opposite side of the glen.  After about a further 1 km a less used forest road heads up to the left where it divides and each spur becomes a dead end. After a further 1 km there is a turning to the right down steeply towards another bridge over the same stream that was crossed earlier.


Cross the bridge and turn left up the hill returns to point (A) mentioned above. Left and down the hill leads back to the start point.

Staying on the left bank of the river and following the forest road down leads to the small village of Gleann a Chaollais passing on the way a gate out of the forest and a forest clearing car park, where you can join the cycle path back to the start point.

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