Ballachulish - A Unique Town
Ballachulish is an unusual town made up of three parts - one of which lies two miles away in the direction of Glencoe. The name Ballachulish is Gaelic for "Village of the Narrows".
Today, what is now known as North Ballachulish was the first section of Ballachulish to be settled. The second part of Ballachulish to be occupied can be found located on the southern side of the town and is divided by the narrow Loch Leven.
As far back as the 1700s the residents of North and South Ballachulish would access either side of the town using the ferry that crossed the loch regularly. Later in 1912 when cars were becoming more popular a vehicle ferry began crossing the loch.
The vehicle ferry lasted till 1975 when it was closed down and a steel truss bridge across the loch was built. This provided the residents with easier access to either side of the town, which before had been problematic. Drivers were either faced with long queues or the prospect of driving a further 15 miles via Kinlochleven to get to their destination.
Today you can still view the slipways and the hotels on the Southern side of Ballachulish. The hotels were built specifically to provide passengers waiting in the cold for the ferry a place to wait and have warm refreshments till it was their turn to go.
The Northern side of Ballachulish has more developments and industries than its counterpart. Here you will find the confectionary factory where you can take a tour inside and see how all the various pastries and biscuits are baked.
The main part of the town of Ballachulish can be located on the Southern side of the Loch, but is a further two miles out from South Ballachulish. In the 1500s, when the main Ballachulish was first formed, it was called Laroch and it was here that slate was first quarried. The Ballachulish Slate Company continued to quarry slate until the late 1955 when it closed down and from then on Laroch became known as Ballachulish. Today the remnants of the quarry from the 1500s can still be seen today.