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Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness
Rating
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Country
Scotland
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
17 days & 16 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
April - September

Itinerary

Day 1: Milngavie
Day 2: Drymen
Day 3: Rowardennan
Day 4: Inverarnan
Day 5: Tyndrum
Day 6: Inveroran
Day 7: Kings House
Day 8: Kinlochleven
Day 9: Fort William
Day 10: Fort William
Day 11: Gairlochy
Day 12: Invergarry
Day 13: Fort Augustus
Day 14: Invermoriston
Day 15: Drumnadrochit
Day 16: Inverness
Day 17: Departure

Overview for Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

Take an epic journey through the Scottish highlands and take in the most beautiful Glens and Lochs of Scotland, including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Start from Milngavie, walk by Loch Lomond following the West Highland Way and then following the Great Glen Way reach Inverness. This moderate walking itinerary takes 17 days to complete (14 walking days), covering 171 miles (275 km).

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 Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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Day 1: Arrive Milngavie

Today you arrive in the town of Milganvie. Milganvie is easily reachable from Glasgow by public transport (20-30 minutes).

Day 2: Walk Milganvie to Drymen

The walk starts at the obelisk in the Milngavie town centre and follows the Allander Water through patches of woodland, before heading into Mugdock Country Park and Craigallian Loch. The route towards Drymen follows a quaint, hedge lined country lane, before leaving the West Highland Way down into the village of Drymen. 

Walking for the day: 13 miles (21 km), approx. 6 hours, highest point: 140 m

Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan

Back on the West Highland Way, the route soon enters the Garadhban Forest, where there are two options for walkers; the first being an easier walk into Milton of Buchanan, where the road is followed into Balmaha, sitting on the banks of the loch.  The second option is a more strenuous, but ultimately much more rewarding route, as the climb up Conic Hill gives rise to fabulous views over Loch Lomond. Then walk along the east side of Loch Lomond, flirting with the water’s edge along much of the way. This is a lovely, low level and relaxed stage as it meanders through pebble beaches.

Walking for the day: 15 miles (24 km), approx. 7 hours, highest point: 315 m

Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnan

From Rowardennan, the path heads into thick woodland. There are two options here; the easier being the wide forest track which follows the contours up and down the hill; or the more time consuming, narrow path which skirts over rocks and exposed tree roots along the banks of the loch. The rocky and uneven path continues along the loch, hugging the water’s edge amidst the fabulous and ancient oak forest.  The loch becomes noticeably narrower as the path approaches Inverarnan.

Walking for the day: 13.5 miles (22 km), approx. 6-7 hours

Day 5: Inverarnan to Tyndrum

Soon after leaving Inverarnan, the path runs alongside the picturesque, fast flowing River Falloch before a long stretch on an old military road. The route here closely follows the west highland railway and eventually passes underneath the tracks as the path nears a coniferous forest. The route continues through the forest, with the path winding and undulating through the contours. The path then crosses through the road and the River Fillin. The views of the surrounding mountains are wonderful. A well maintained path follows the River Cononish before reaching Tyndrum.

Walking for the day: 12 miles (19 km), approx. 5-6 hours

Day 6: Tyndrum to Inveroran

From Tyndrum, the route closely follows the railway and the road, although continues to maintain its own unique qualities.  By this stage, you are firmly in the Scottish Highlands and the view will be spectacular from here, all the way to Fort William.  The path uses an old military road throughout this stage (and continues right across Rannoch Moor).  This is also the most exposed section of the route so far with little protection from the elements. The path climbs out of Bridge of Orchy through a coniferous forest, eventually providing lovely views across to Loch Tulla.

Walking for the day: 9 miles (14.5 km), approx. 4-5 hours

Day 7: Inveroran to Kings House

The path starts from the Inveroran Hotel, before the long stretch across the edge of the wild and eerily remote Rannoch Moor, passes the Glencoe Ski Centre and into the fabulous mountain range of Glencoe and the isolated Kings House Hotel (reopened after a major refurbishment).

Walking for the day: 10 miles (16 km), approx. 5-6 hours

Day 8: Kings House to Kinlochleven

This stage of the West Highland Way includes the infamous Devil’s Staircase, the steepest climb of the route, reaching the highest point of the entire mile journey (made easier by the zig zag path up the hill). The views from the top are spectacular. The track away from the staircase towards Kinlochleven signals an escape from the Glencoe Mountains and offers a long descent along excellent tracks all the way into the town.

Walking for the day: 9 miles (14.5 km), approx. 4.5-5.5 hours

Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William

The climb out of Kinlochleven is a steep ascent through a beautiful little forest.  The view from the top provides fabulous view down to Loch Leven and the village.  The old military road then passes through a wide valley on the edge of Mamore mountain range, known as Lairigmor, before turning towards Glen Nevis through forested areas. The path gradually descends as the way approaches Fort William, with a final stretch along the road into Fort William centre.

Walking for the day: 15 miles (25 km), approx. 6-7 hours

Day 10: Rest Day Fort William

Relax and explore the surroundings of Fort William.

Day 11: 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

Day 12: 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

Day 13: 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

Day 14: 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

Day 15: 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

Day 16: Drumnadrochit to Inverness

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

Day 17: 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 Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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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 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 Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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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 Milngavie – Public transport, by train, bus or taxi, from Glasgow city centre
  • 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 Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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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 miles (19 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 (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 Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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  • Pre-booked accommodation as per the itinerary on 16 nights in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
  • Full breakfast each morning
  • Door-to-door luggage transfers on all walking days
  • Return transfers from the trail to accommodations where needed as per itinerary
  • 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 Milngavie / 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”

Gallery for Ultimate Scotland: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

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