Wailing Widow Waterfall Walk

Wild Swim at Wailing Widow Waterfall

The Wailing Widow Waterfall could arguably be the most beautiful waterfall in Scotland. Remarkably, this spectacular 30 metre waterfall is relatively unknown despite it being a short walk from the A894 on the NC500 route.

The walk along the burn to reach the bottom of this dramatic waterfall will take less than 15 minutes.  A short amount of time for a massive reward.    

Wailing Widow from the bottom

The Wailing Widow is located high in the North-West Highlands. Loch na Gainmhich feeds the waterfall which then runs into Unapool Burn and eventually ends up at Loch Glencoul. The Wailing Widow can be viewed from both the top and the bottom.

It is said that the Wailing Widow gets its name from an old folk story.  A young man was out hunting for deer. It was a rainy day and visibility was bad.  He did not see the top of the waterfall and tragically fell over the cliff at the top to his death.  The next morning when his widowed mother heard the news of her son’s death, distraught and overcome with grief she went to the waterfall and threw herself over the top.

Where is the Wailing Widow Waterfall?

This Scottish waterfall is just before Unapool (not to be confused with Ullapool) in Sutherland and is on the NC500 route.  It is not signposted, but there are small parking places off the A894 to park when viewing the falls.  I have made a map below showing the best place to park and which direction to walk to reach the Wailing Widow Falls.

How to get to the Wailing Widow Falls?

We parked at the top of the waterfall first and made our way along a faint grassy path.  It took around 10 minutes to reach the top of the falls. We passed Loch na Gainmhich on our right-hand side and could hear the waterfall before we could see it.  The views from the top, looking down are unbelievable. As is the view of the loch feeding directly into the edge of the falls.  I would advise not getting too close to the edge as it is a sheer drop into the cascading waterfall below.  You can still see a lot of the waterfall while standing at a distance.

After we had taken in the dramatic view from the top, we drove down to the next small car park at the bottom. From here you can make your way along the gorge to the bottom of the waterfall.  Keep to the left of the stream and follow the rocky path along. It is a bit uneven under foot so please be careful.  It’s a 15-minute walk to reach the bottom and you pass mini waterfalls and pools on the way. 

Wild Swim

waterfall,
Swimming at the waterfall

The flow of the waterfall can vary depending on how much rainfall there’s been.  The day we went it was very calm, so we decided to have a dip in the waterfall pool below.  We love wild swimming so we came prepared with wetsuits, water shoes and towels.  The water is cold but refreshing. We love how it makes us feel and both agreed it was the most beautiful spot we had experienced a wild swim in to date.

The Wailing Widow is definitely one of Scotland’s best kept secrets.  We are surprised at how few people know of its existence.  Its only a short walk and we got it all to ourselves.  It’s one to visit now, before word gets out and more people start visiting.

Watch a short video of our visit to the Wailing Widow

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