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Great Glen Way 20

Great Glen Way

Overview

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 Caledonian Canal’s general course. 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.

Click to view map

Itinerary

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 | 10.5 mi / 17 km

The walk starts by the banks of Loch Linnhe and follows the shoreline to the Caledonian Canal locks. 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 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
  • Accommodation: Coire Glas Guest House or similar

Day 3: Gairlochy to South Laggan | 12 mi / 19 km

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 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
  • Accommodation: Forest Lodge Guesthouse or similar

Day 4: South Laggan to Fort Augustus | 11 mi / 18 km

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
  • Accommodation: Lorien House B&B or similar

Day 5: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston | 7.5 mi / 12 km

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 a 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
  • Accommodation: Craik Na Dav B&B or similar

Day 6: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit | 14 mi / 22.5 km

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
  • Accommodation: Kilmore Farmhouse B&B or similar

Day 7: Drumnadrochit to Inverness OR Blackfold to Drumnadrochit | 19 mi / 30.5 km

Option 1: The trail leaves Drumnadrochit by following the main road for a short distance before heading onto a wooded hillside. This is the Great Glen Way’s final significant climb, with 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
  • Accommodation: Premier Inn River Ness or similar

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
  • Accommodation: Kilmore Farmhouse B&B or similar

(Day 8): Optional extra day (if you choose Option 2 for Day 7): Blackfold to Inverness | 8 mi / 13 km

Morning transfer from Drumnadrochit to Blackfold. Walk Blackfold to Inverness with an overnight in Inverness.

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.

What to expect

Accommodation

Nice 3-star 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.

Click here to view our default hotels for this trip

*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.

Difficulty & terrain

Although daily elevation gains are not very big, 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). The route is well signposted throughout; however, walkers must be vigilant as there are paths and junctions along the way that deviates from the main route. As well as the Guidebook, your package includes a 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 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 1st April till 30th September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens). Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here 😊

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Glasgow.

By train or bus
  • Glasgow: There are excellent air, train and bus services, allowing easy access anywhere in the UK and overseas.
  • 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.
  • Inverness: The main routes out of Inverness are by bus and train to Glasgow & Edinburgh, while you can also fly from Inverness Airport.
  • A great website useful specifically for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland.

Inclusions

Included

  • 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

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the route or in Glasgow

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Average rating:  5 stars  from 2 reviews

Nick J5 stars

I walked the Great Glen Way in June 2021 and would recommend this route as a great introduction to long distance walking in the Highlands. Overall the way is well signposted and the route is easy to follow. The first three days walking are largely flat and easy going along a mix of scenic canal and loch side paths. There are some bits along the A82 the which are not so pleasant but are relatively brief. Past Fort Augustus, you have the option of high or low routes. Take the high route option as this is more varied and interesting and gets you up into the forest and onto the edge of the moorland. It is more undulating but not too strenuous. The last day into Inverness was the longest distance with a few miles on minor roads which is less interesting. Late June appeared to be peak pink Rhododendron season and you will see them everywhere.
The accommodations were mainly excellent with great breakfasts and reliable lifts to and from the trail if and when required. When it comes to dinner it is definitely worth researching options of where to eat and booking ahead. The baggage transfer service was without issues with luggage being collected and delivered promptly and consistently.
My tip for those with accommodation in Spean Bridge – about three miles from the GGW - would be walk along a slightly busy B road to the Commando Memorial. Once there you have the option to walk into Spean via the disused railway track. This provides the opportunity to visit the historic remains of Spean High Bridge and a pleasant woodland walk.

Michel B5 stars

This was an amazing tourist destination and one we thoroughly enjoyed....despite rain! The accommodations were prepared for wet walkers arriving. All the tours, travel arrangements by car were wonderful. Thank you Natural Adventure Company for organizing and making this happen for us. I was always pleasantly surprised when the drivers would be at our accommodation on time or before and were always so pleasant and professional. Considering the diversity of the travel, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Scotland and what could go wrong the vacation went very smoothly. Scotland: Our favourite. Great hospitality from the taxi drivers to the folks on the trains. Accommodations very nice.  Great Glen Way an interesting long walk. Thank you again.  Appreciate your attention to the detail to make this go as well as it did.

Submit your review

Rating

     

Average rating:  5 stars  from 2 reviews

Nick J5 stars

I walked the Great Glen Way in June 2021 and would recommend this route as a great introduction to long distance walking in the Highlands. Overall the way is well signposted and the route is easy to follow. The first three days walking are largely flat and easy going along a mix of scenic canal and loch side paths. There are some bits along the A82 the which are not so pleasant but are relatively brief. Past Fort Augustus, you have the option of high or low routes. Take the high route option as this is more varied and interesting and gets you up into the forest and onto the edge of the moorland. It is more undulating but not too strenuous. The last day into Inverness was the longest distance with a few miles on minor roads which is less interesting. Late June appeared to be peak pink Rhododendron season and you will see them everywhere.
The accommodations were mainly excellent with great breakfasts and reliable lifts to and from the trail if and when required. When it comes to dinner it is definitely worth researching options of where to eat and booking ahead. The baggage transfer service was without issues with luggage being collected and delivered promptly and consistently.
My tip for those with accommodation in Spean Bridge – about three miles from the GGW - would be walk along a slightly busy B road to the Commando Memorial. Once there you have the option to walk into Spean via the disused railway track. This provides the opportunity to visit the historic remains of Spean High Bridge and a pleasant woodland walk.

Michel B5 stars

This was an amazing tourist destination and one we thoroughly enjoyed....despite rain! The accommodations were prepared for wet walkers arriving. All the tours, travel arrangements by car were wonderful. Thank you Natural Adventure Company for organizing and making this happen for us. I was always pleasantly surprised when the drivers would be at our accommodation on time or before and were always so pleasant and professional. Considering the diversity of the travel, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Scotland and what could go wrong the vacation went very smoothly. Scotland: Our favourite. Great hospitality from the taxi drivers to the folks on the trains. Accommodations very nice.  Great Glen Way an interesting long walk. Thank you again.  Appreciate your attention to the detail to make this go as well as it did.