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great glenn way walking holiday in scotland

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Great Glen Way

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great glenn way walking holiday in scotland
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Country
Scotland
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
April - September

Itinerary

Day 1: Fort William
Day 2: Gairlochy
Day 3: Invergarry
Day 4: Fort Augustus
Day 5: Invermoriston
Day 6: Drumnadrochit
Day 7: Inverness
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a 75-mile (120 km) walk that follows Scotland’s famous Great Glen valley from Fort William to Inverness, passing by the beautiful Loch Ness. The Great Glen Way provides a wonderfully scenic route as it follows the general course of the Caledonian Canal. The recently opened ‘high route’ offers fantastic views of the Highlands and down to the lochs which dominate this part of Scotland.

Our standard Great Glen Way itinerary takes 9 days (8 nights) to complete the whole trail with an average of 12.5 miles (20 km) of walking per day. You can optionally split the 30.5 km walk on Day 7 by adding an extra night. On request, we can design a custom shorter version of the itinerary, either more demanding or more leisurely. Extra nights are also possible to book in most places along the route.

The route is very well signposted, with well-maintained paths and tracks throughout. Accommodation, services and refreshments are also conveniently located from start to finish, providing opportunities for a comfortable and relaxing end to a tough day’s walking.

Itinerary for Great Glen Way

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Day 1: Arrive Fort William

Today you arrive in the town of Fort William, the gateway to the Highlands. It is easily reachable from Glasgow by public transport via a scenic route (3 hours by bus, 4 hours by train).

Day 2: Fort William to Gairlochy

The walk starts by the banks of Loch Linnhe, and follows the shoreline to the locks of the Caledonian Canal. The trail then changes course and joins the canal as it heads towards the Great Glen. At Gairlochy, your accommodation is likely to be in Spean Bridge, which is a further 3 miles walk from Gairlochy. A pick-up service is provided if required.

Walking for the day: 10.5 miles (17 km), approx. 4-5 hours, elevation gain: 40 m

Day 3: Gairlochy to Invergarry

From Gairlochy, the trail soon leaves the canal and meets Loch Lochy, where you are never too far from its shores. The path makes its way through woodland as it undulates across the the hillside towards Laggan Locks.  At the locks, the trail continues towards Fort Augustus along Loch Oich, however, it is possible to hike the Invergarry Link to your overnight accommodation.

Walking for the day: 16.5 miles (26.5 km), approx. 6-7 hours, elevation gain: 480 m

Day 4: Invergarry to Fort Augustus

The path climbs north out of Invergarry through some woodland, before descending to the north banks of Loch Oich, where it once again joins the Caledonian Canal for the walk into Fort Augustus.  This stage of the trail offers some fantastic distant views of the surrounding mountains.

Walking for the day: 8.5 miles (13.5 km), approx. 3-4 hours, elevation gain: 100 m

Day 5: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

The trail initially climbs out of Fort Augustus through a forested area onto the open hillside high above the lochs and canals below (note there is a low route option).  The trail continues at high level for much of this stage, descending only to reach the village of Invermoriston.

Walking for the day: 7.5 miles (12 km), approx. 4-5 hours, elevation gain: 560 m

Day 6: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Again, the trail quickly climbs out of Invermoriston, eventually providing fantastic views of Loch Ness and the surrounding mountains.  As on the previous stage, there is a high and low level option during this stage.

Walking for the day: 14 miles (22.5 km), approx. 7-8 hours, elevation gain: 710 m

Day 7: Drumnadrochit to Inverness OR Blackfold to Drumnadrochit

Option 1: The trail leaves Drumnadrochit by following the main road for a short distance before heading onto a wooded hillside. This is the final significant climb of the Great Glen Way, with now a gradual descent towards Inverness, but not before more excellent views across the Highlands. The walk to Inverness Castle follows the latter section of the Caledonian Canal into the city centre. Overnight in Inverness.

Walking for the day: 19 miles (30.5 km), approx. 8-9 hours, elevation gain: 500 m

Option 2: You can split the above long walk by adding a walk from Blackfold and a second night in Drumnadrochit on Day 7, and then walk from Blackfold to Inverness on the next day (there is no accommodation in Blackfold):

Morning transfer from Drumnadrochit to Blackfold. Walk from Blackfold to Drumnadrochit and overnight there.

Walking for the day: 11 miles (17.5 km), approx. 4-5 hours

(Optional extra day after Day 7 if you choose Option 2 for Day 7) Blackfold to Inverness

Day 8 : Morning transfer from Drumnadrochit to Blackfold. Walk Blackfold to Inverness with an overnight in Invernes).

Walking for the day: 8 miles (13 km), approx. 4 hours

Day 8 (9): Departure

Departure by bus or train to Glasgow (3-4 hours) or Edinburgh. Inverness Airport is also an option, especially for domestic flights. Additional nights at the end of the walk can be arranged to explore the highlands at your leisure.

Hotels for Great Glen Way

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Nice hotels and B&Bs, all offering comfortable en-suite double or twin rooms. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels:

Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel from the ones pictured above is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Each hotel and B&B has been hand-picked to ensure you enjoy the most welcoming, comfortable and value-for-money experience on this Great Glen Way route. A warm welcome awaits all walkers and hikers, with hotel owners keen to hear stories of the day’s adventures. Evening meals and packed lunches for the onward journey are available throughout, however, please note that they are NOT included in the holiday package. Breakfasts are included each day.

Travel for Great Glen Way

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  •  To Glasgow – There are excellent air, train and bus services, allowing easy access from anywhere in the UK and overseas.
  •  To Fort William – The main routes to Fort William are by bus and train to Glasgow. The journey, whether by rail or coach, is an absolutely glorious trip with stunning scenery throughout.
  • From Inverness -The main routes out of Inverness are by bus and train to Glasgow & Edinburgh, while you can also fly from Inverness Airport.


Another great website useful specifically for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland.

Private Transfers

Connecting transfers by public transport (train or bus) are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper compared to private car transfers.

Luggage Transfers

Each walker will be allowed one bag, of up to 20 kg in weight, which will be transferred between accommodations.

Scotland: Country Info

Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here 🙂

Trip Info for Great Glen Way

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

Although daily elevation gains are not very big, but you should be prepared to walk on average 12-13 miles (19-22 km) or 5-7 hours per day. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. The longest walk on Day 7 (30.5 km) can be split into two by adding an extra day (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The route is well signposted throughout, however, walkers must be vigilant at all times as there are paths and junctions along the way which deviate from the main route. As well as the Guidebook, your package includes detailed map of the full route. We highly recommend that at least one member of your party is a competent map and compass reader. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available to commence every day from 01 April till 30 September.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Great Glen Way

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  • Pre-booked accommodation as per the itinerary on 7 nights in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
  • Full breakfast each morning
  • Door-to-door luggage transfers on all walking days
  • Daily Itineraries, Maps & Guidebooks (one set per booking)
  • Info on transport and local services
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative

Options and Extras

  • Single-room supplement (this applies to members of a group who require single-room accommodation)
  • Solo traveller supplement (includes single room accommodation)
  • Extra nights along the route or in Glasgow

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers to Fort William / from Inverness
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Entry fees (payable on site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme above as “Included”

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