Kinlochleven (Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Lìobhann) is a village 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.
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.
Kinlochleven is the penultimate stop on the West Highland Way and an important tourism destination in the Scottish_Highlands. The village lies at the head of the fjord-like Loch Leven and is surrounded on three sides by steep mountains. There are 10 Munro mountains (mountains over 3,000 ft) in the Mamores above Kinlochleven with Binnein Mor the highest. Indeed, the area around and above Kinlochleven contains more wild mountain land than all of the mountain national parks in England and Wales combined. There is a significant network of mountain biking and hiking trails, and the Ice Factor National Ice Climbing Centre, one of the top five visitor attractions in the highlands.
The West Highland Way attracts over 85,000 walkers each year and plays a vital role in the Kinlochleven economy. An economic impact assessment of Mountaineering confirms the value to the highlands to be £163.7m each year, and because of this there has been continued support to expand the existing long distance hiking and biking trails. This has seen new developments, such as the Great Glen Way and the Stevenson Trail which follows the route of Alan Breck Stewart and Jamie Balfour as they flee pursuing redcoats in the Kidnapped novel.
There are various accommodation options including hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast, bunkhouses and campsites in the village, which also has a store, banking and post office facilities. A visitor centre, "The Aluminium Story", tells the story of the creation of the village to serve the aluminium smelting facility.
There is a hostel, microlodge facility and campsite close to the river. It has eight microlodges comprising a mixture of two and four berth accommodation. There are toilets, showers and dishwashing facilities. The refurbished hostel building, located on Lab Road, was previously used as the research and testing facility for British Aluminium.
Ice Factor: The National Ice Climbing Centre
A major mountain activity centre, the Ice Factor, opened to the public in 2003. It was formally opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Philip on 5 June 2005. It includes the biggest indoor ice climbing wall in the world, the UK's highest indoor articulated rock climbing wall and a competition bouldering wall voted the best in the UK.
Ice Factor caters daily for climbers and adventure seekers of all ages and abilities, from beginner to expert. In 2010 a new Giant Outdoor Aerial Adventure Course was added. Throughout the year Ice Factor also offers bespoke guided days on the local mountains of Glen Coe and Ben Nevis; each winter it runs specialist winter skills and mountaineering courses. The centre is also an important staging post on the West Highland Way, providing facilities for walkers, including a bar, sauna and steam room. It also has a mountaineers' cafe and a shop stocking gifts and mountaineering and camping equipment.
A smaller part of the former coke bunker - for carbon production - for the aluminium reduction works, was transformed in 2002 into Atlas Brewery which, together with Orkney Brewery, was taken over in 2006 to form Sinclair Brewery Ltd. Atlas was closed in July 2010 and its production transferred to Orkney. The micro-brewery was re-opened in 2011 by Harry Heskey (former head brewer for Atlas) and now provides River Leven Ales.
Description above from the Wikipedia article Kinlochleven, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinlochleven
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