Given that the Great Glen Way and West Highland Way are two of Scotland’s finest walking trails this holiday, which combines both into one pretty package, has to be the ultimate Caledonian combo. Walk for 14 days (a 17 day holiday) through the Highlands and lowlands covering a mammoth 275km of pure Scottish joy, from Loch Lomond to Loch Ness. The Scottish guesthouses you stay at along the way are experts at greeting walkers. They prepare hearty breakfasts and packed lunches and send you on your way to the likes of Invergarry Castle or up Conic Hill, across Lairigmor or Rannoch Moor, as well as the country’s finest lochs.
- Caledonian Canal
- Inverness Castle
- Loch Ness
- Great Glen Way
- West Highland Way
- Invergarry Castle
- Devil’s Staircase
- Allander Water
- Loch Lomond
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrive Milngavie
Today you arrive in the town of Milngavie. Milngavie is easily reached from Glasgow by public transport (20-30min).
- Accommodation: Hotel Premier Inn, 3-star or similar in Milngavie
Day 2: Walk Milngavie to Drymen | 21km
The walk starts at the obelisk in the Milngavie town centre and follows Allander Water through patches of woodland, before heading into Mugdock Country Park and to Craigallian Loch. The route towards Drymen follows a hedge-lined country lane, before leaving the West Highland Way down into the village of Drymen.
- Walking for the day: 21km, 6h, highest point: 140m
- Accommodation: Braeside B&B or similar in Drymen
Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan | 24km
Back on the West Highland Way, the route soon enters Garadhban Forest, where there are two options for walkers; the first being an easier walk into Milton of Buchanan, where the road takes you to Balmaha, 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 proffers fabulous views over Loch Lomond. Then walk along the east side of Loch Lomond, much of the route close to the shore. This is a low level and relaxed stage as it meanders along pebble beaches.
- Walking for the day: 24km, 7h, highest point: 315m
- Accommodation: Rowardennan Hotel, 3-star or similar in Rowardennan
Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnan | 22km
From Rowardennan, the path heads into thick woodland. There are two options here; the easier being the wide forest track which follows 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. This path continues along the loch, hugging the water’s edge through ancient oak forest. The loch becomes noticeably narrower as the path approaches Inverarnan.
- Walking for the day: 22km, 6-7h, highest point: 131m
- Accommodation: The Drovers Inn & Lodge or similar in Inverarnan
Day 5: Inverarnan to Tyndrum | 19km
Soon after leaving Inverarnan, the path runs alongside the fast-flowing River Falloch before a long stretch of 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 the road and River Fillin, with spectacular mountain views. A well-maintained path follows the River Cononish before reaching Tyndrum.
- Walking for the day: 19km, 5-6h, highest point: 335m
- Accommodation: Tigh Na Fraoch B&B or similar in Tyndrum
Day 6: Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy | 14.5km
From Tyndrum, the route closely follows the railway and the road, although it continues to maintain its own unique qualities. By this stage, you are firmly in the Scottish Highlands, and the view are very special from here all the way to Fort William. The path uses an old military road on 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 to Loch Tulla.
- Walking for the day: 14.5km, 4-5h, highest point: 330m
- Accommodation: Bridge of Orchy Hotel or similar in Bridge of Orchy
Day 7: Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe | 16km
The path starts from the Inveroran Hotel, before the long stretch across the edge of Rannoch Moor, passing Glencoe Ski Centre and into Glencoe Mountain range.
- Walking for the day: 16km, 5-6h, highest point: 450m
- Accommodation: Tom Eachainn B&B or similar in Glencoe
Day 8: Glencoe to Kinlochleven | 14.5km
This stage of the West Highland Way includes the infamous Devil’s Staircase, the steepest climb of the route, made easier by the zig-zag path up the hill. The views from the top are definitely worth it. Descend towards Kinlochleven along excellent tracks all the way into town.
- Walking for the day: 14.5km, 4h 30mins-5h 30mins, highest point: 550m
- Accommodation: Tigh Na Cheo Guesthouse or similar in Kinlochleven
Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William | 25km
The climb out of Kinlochleven is a steep ascent through a small forest. The view from the top provides a 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 to Fort William, with a final stretch along the road into Fort William town centre.
- Walking for the day: 25km, 6-7h, highest point: 330m
- Accommodation: Guisachan House B&B or similar in Fort William
Day 10: Rest day Fort William
Relax and explore the surroundings of Fort William.
- Accommodation: Guisachan Guest House or similar in Fort William
Day 11: Fort William to Gairlochy | 17km
The walk starts by the banks of Loch Linnhe and follows the shoreline to the Caledonian Canal locks. Take in the iconic Neptune’s Staircase along this section, built in 1803 by Thomas Telford, it is the longest staircase lock in Britain. The trail then changes course and joins the canal as it heads towards the Great Glen. As there is limited accommodation in Gairlochy, your accommodation is likely to be in Spean Bridge, a further 4.5km from Gairlochy. A pick-up service is provided by your accommodation.
- Walking for the day: 17km, 4-5h ↑40m
- Accommodation: Coire Glas Guest House or similar in Gairlochy
Day 12: Gairlochy to South Laggan | 19km
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: 26.5km, 6-7h ↑480m
- Accommodation: Forest Lodge Guesthouse or similar in South Laggan
Day 13: South Laggan to Fort Augustus | 18km
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.
- Walking for the day: 13.5km, 3-4h ↑100m
- Accommodation: Lorien House B&B or similar in Fort Augustus
Day 14: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston | 12km
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: 12km, 4-5 h,↑560 m
- Accommodation: Craik Na Dav B&B or similar in Invermoriston
Day 15: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit | 22km
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: 22km, 7-8h, ↑710m
- Accommodation: Kilmore Farmhouse B&B or similar in Drumnadrochit
Day 16: Drumnadrochit to Inverness | 30.5km
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, with excellent views across the Highlands on the way. The walk to Inverness Castle follows the latter section of the Caledonian Canal into the city centre. Overnight in Inverness.
- Walking for the day: 30.5km, 8-9h ↑500m
- Accommodation: Premier Inn River Ness or similar in Inverness
Day 17: Departure
Departure by bus or train to Glasgow (3-4h) 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 on this tour includes a mix of small, locally-owned 3-star hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses, with double or twin rooms. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click here to view our default hotels for this tour
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Difficulty and terrain
Although daily elevation gains are not very big, you should be prepared to walk on average 19km or 5-7h 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). 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. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through 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. For detailed info, see our blog on the Best time to go to Scotland.
Click to view travel options and route planner
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.You can also take the Caledonian Sleeper train between London and Fort William/Inverness.
- 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.
- Pre-booked accommodation as per the itinerary in B&Bs, small hotels and guesthouses
- Full breakfast each morning
- Door-to-door luggage transfers on all walking days – 1 piece per person up to 20kg
- Return transfers from the trail to accommodations where needed as per itinerary
- Access to your digital pre-departure information (your accommodation list, GPS map of the route, baggage transfer information, itineraries, route information of cafes, restaurants, local bus timetables, etc.)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- 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 and supplements
- Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a room of their own
- 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