Brecklet Trail and Quarry
An ancient slate quarry, stunning views and a spot of history…
It’s one of our Top 10 Things We Love – Brecklet Trail and Quarry.
Ballachulish slate quarry makes for a beautiful attraction, and it has a fair chunk of Ballachulish’s history attached to it too. It was active from 1693 (only a year after the famous Glencoe massacre took place) and its slate kept many houses in Scotland dry, right up until 1955 when it closed.
Just a ten minute drive from our front door, you’ll find various paths you can take to explore the quarry, including the Brecklet Trail, whether it be a two-mile route over a well-defined path or a shorter circuit inside the base of the quarry. It really is one of our favourite spots for taking in the surrounding area.
Upper Circuit – Brecklet Trail
On this route you’ll get to see great views of the old slate quarry, Ballachulish village, Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe, with all of the dramatic mountains as the background.
Head toward the Ballachulish Information Centre, where you’ll see a walkway between the information centre and public toilets. Go through the gate here and you’ll see the sign for the Brecklet Path.
The walk takes you on a circular route, starting with a steep ascent and ending through the village. You’ll start by walking through the trees, before reaching open ground where it opens to views over Ballachulish. Keep following this path until you reach a junction on the left where you’ll see a picnic table. This is the best spot to take in the village in all its glory, and there’s no better spot to sit down and enjoy a packed lunch that you can pick up from the hotel before you leave (just make sure to pop your order in the night before).
Head back to the track where you’ll see some old buildings, follow the markers and you’ll end up in Brecklet, the oldest part of Ballachulish village. Then simply return to find yourself back at the Ballachulish Information Centre.
Lower Circuit – Inner Quarry
The lower circuit is a more leisurely paced route, letting you explore the base of the quarry. Along the way you will find information boards giving you snapshots of the quarry’s history, alternatively you can you can download the ‘My quarry story’ app which lets you hear local people, many of whom are descended from quarrier families, and other experts talk about the quarry’s past, present and future.
On the lower circuit you can look up in awe at the rock face and if you look carefully, you may be able to spot some pieces left behind from when it was a fully functioning quarry. On the way keep an eye out for the Dispute Stone (great name, right?). Okay so the real one (a great chunk of white quartz) has been moved to just outside of the mountain rescue base, but a giant replacement rock can be found where quarriers would take their quarrels to resolve – and you could not leave the Dispute Stone until you had sorted out your differences.
Half way along you will be able to look across the clear waters at the stunning reflections. Follow the circuit round on the clear marked, level path and it will lead you back to the starting point.
While you’re at the quarry make sure to visit the last remaining inclined plane ‘slate arch’ in Scotland which is still cherished by local people. You will be able to spot this on your way to/from the quarry if you are driving on the main road.