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If you've never tried Via Ferrata before, it's time to get your outdoor gear on and have a go at this exhilarating climbing sport! Via Ferrata literally means 'iron road' in Italian and is the name used to describe the metal steps and bridges that were installed along treacherous mountains passes in the Alps in the First World War to help soldiers traverse strategic Alpine crossing points.
The name has stuck and now it's a really popular leisure pursuit in Europe. The Via Ferrata you'll be tackling is actually the very first in Scotland and only the second set up in the whole of the UK. And the team has chosen a stunning spot for it. You'll be scaling the heights within touching distance of the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall in Kinlochleven. One of Scotland's biggest cascades of fast-flowing water, the route you'll be clambering tops out at around 90m, just above the mouth of the waterfall at 85m.
Yes, it really is as impressive as it sounds. The rock face has been equipped with metal steps called 'staples' - because that's exactly what they look like (albeit totally massive ones!), wooden planks, metal cable bridges and ladders too. You'll be kitted out with a body harness and a karabiner so that you are attached at all times, so logic tells you you can't actually fall very far, but it's still pretty hectic.
In fact, we can honestly say the moving up the granite face isn't that challenging physically, it's all about how high it is and how exposed you feel. If you dare look behind you, you'll see the waters of Loch Leven glistening in the background. Look sideways and there's the waterfall (you might even feel the spray in your face!) and look down (eek!) and you'll see the instructors grinning at you as they shout words of encouragement.
As you negotiate the metal that tests your mettle, nothing can describe the feeling as you haul yourself over the final ledge. You feel so alive, so pleased with yourself that you conquered this impressive Via Ferrata. Stand up, take a moment to catch your breath and then take a look around you. Stunning isn't it? And all the more incredible when you think without those metal rungs and cables there's no other way of getting up to that viewpoint.
Of course, Via Ferrata certainly isn't for everyone, but it is a novel way of scaling the granite that doesn't require enormous physical strength or climbing skill, but you will definitely have to have a head for heights. We offer lots of high-speed activities here at IntotheBlue.co.uk, but despite the near walking pace of this activity, we think this Via Ferrata with views across the Scottish hills guarantees the highest thrills. Isn't it time you climbed the iron road?
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