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The River Leven and Blackwater Hostel

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The River Leven and Blackwater Hostel

Kinlochleven is a village located in Lochaber, in the Scottish Highlands and lies at the eastern end of Loch Leven. To the north lie the Mamores ridge; to the south lie the mountains flanking Glen Coe.

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Kinlochleven with Loch Leven in the background

The village was formed from two previously separate small communities – Kinlochmore to the north of the River Leven in Inverness-shire and Kinlochbeg to the south of the Leven in Argyll – following the construction of an aluminium smelter and associated housing for its employees. The processing plant was powered by a hydroelectric scheme situated in the mountains above and made Kinlochleven the first village in the world to have every house connected to electricity, coining the phrase “The Electric Village”. In 1991, the village (according to annual census returns) had just over 1000 inhabitants in some 420 households. Today it is a notable tourist destination and centre for mountain pursuits.

We decided to paddle a new river for us, one less than 30m from the front door of the hostel. Why had we never paddled it before? We put on just behind the hostel with snow-covered mountains in the background. The first rapid involved negotiating the old aluminium smelter spillway which pour out with some speed over some large boulders.

Once all were safely down, we dropped over some ledges just below the road bridge. This was around grade 3 and people chose a number of different routes. At the bottom, there was a large hole but was easily shot with a little forward speed.

Harry was the first to drop in and surf the hole, forwards and backwards. After what felt like a few minutes his face showed a little more concentration and worry until it eventually spat him out. There were no other takers, so we carried up the riverside path and put on again.

Some ran this section 3 times before heading back to the hostel for some lunch.

Click for more photos…….