Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays

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Great Glen Way Self Guided Walking Holiday


  • Following a classic walking trail through highland scenery; Fort William to Inverness.
  • Discovering the Caledonian Canal with its very impressive series of locks.
  • Visiting Urquhart Castle and its superb setting on Loch Ness; watch out for the monster!
  • The Great Glen Way offers some of the finest views of impressive Ben Nevis.
  • A real sense of achievement of having completed the Great Glen Way.

The Great Glen Way is a 79-mile walk through Scotland’s most famous Glen; crossing on foot from Fort William, via the famed shores of Loch Ness, to Inverness. The Great Glen Way takes you through beautiful forests, past peaceful working canals and alongside brooding lochs. Macs Adventure offers a variety of durations for the walk, dependent on how much time you have and how far you'd like to hike each day.

You start your adventure in Fort William, at the base of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. You then follow the Caledonian Canal via Neptune’s Staircase to Gairlochy, before continuing up Loch Lochy to South Laggan, and on to Fort Augustus via Loch Oich and Kytra Lock. The Great Glen Way then follows the western shore of Loch Ness passing the highland towns of Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit until you reach the historic town of Inverness. Nessie hunters can even take a cruise on Britain's largest loch (by volume of water), whilst Urquhart Castle is another must-see, with its commanding view of Loch Ness, as is Inverness Castle at the walk’s end.

Section 1:Fort William to Gairlochy, 10.5 miles, 17 km / 4 - 5 hours

Fort William is a bustling town and very popular among climbers and walkers as it sits at the base of Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest peak. Follow the river Lochy with short detours possible to Old Inverlochy Castle or Ben Nevis Distillery. After briefly following the banks of Loch Linnie, you reach Corpach where the Caledonian Canal meets the Atlantic (make sure you dip your feet!).

Follow the towpath northeast to Banavie and Neptune’s Staircase, a series of locks which raise the canal 80 feet in just 400. Continue along the canal towpath as it winds its way through stunning countryside above the River Lochy. Your overnight stop in Gairlochy* appears all too soon.

*There is very limited accommodation in Gairlochy and you may be staying in Spean Bridge, a pleasant 3-mile walk further up the valley (we will inform you if this is the case).

Section 2: Gairlochy to Laggan, 12 miles, 19 km / 5 - 6 hours

From Gairlochy you follow the shore of Loch Lochy on forest tracks through land owned by the Cameron clan. Achnacarry was also home to one of the toughest commando training camps, and the nearby museum highlights the remarkable conditions they endured. After Clunes, the road continues on fire tracks above Loch Lochy all the way to South Laggan and the locks.

There is a wonderful pub and seafood restaurant on a moored barge at Laggan Locks called the Eagle Inn; great for an afternoon pint or a fantastic evening meal. Your accommodation is generally a mile or so from the locks.

Section 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus, 10.5 miles, 17 km / 4 - 5 hours

Your day starts at Laggan Bridge, which is the highpoint of the Caledonian Canal at 106ft above sea level. Initially, you follow the eastern shore of Loch Oich, one of Scotland’s most beautiful and pristine natural woodlands, which is teeming with bird and wildlife. Once you reach the end of Loch Oich, at Oich Bridge, you follow the canal for a few miles along to Fort Augustus. This is a lovely section of canal, and Kytra Lock is one of the highlights of the entire walk.

Fort Augustus is a busy little town and is centred on a series of locks which are always a hive of activity. It is a great spot to spend a relaxed afternoon or evening.

Section 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston, 8 miles, 13 km / 4 - 5 hours

At Fort Augustus you leave the canal and begin our journey on the banks of Loch Ness. This section has some steep climbs and is mainly on fire roads and some good tracks. You have great views of Loch Ness throughout so make sure you keep those eyes peeled for the monster - you might be lucky. Invermoriston is your overnight stop and a very pretty little village.

Section 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit, 14.5 miles, 23 km / 7 - 8 hours

As you leave Invermoriston the path climbs steeply until you are high above Loch Ness, it then descends again to the loch side after three miles and climbs again, so you should expect a tougher day of walking today. Most of the section is spent on woodland paths and tracks on the steep sides of the Glen. A great day's walk ends in Drumnadrochit, famous for its proximity to Urquhart Castle and the popular Loch Ness Monster Experience. You should have enough time to explore at least one of these attractions.

Section 6: Drumnadrochit to Loch Laide, 7 miles, 11 km / 3 - 4 hours

From Drumnadrochit you endure a section on the busy A82 before climbing steadily through woodland and forestry. Eventually, the climbing comes to an end and you wave goodbye to Loch Ness. If you are splitting the walk to Inverness into two sections you will have a return transfer organised (detailed below) as there is no overnight accommodation at Loch Laide.

Transfer Info: If you are walking the trail over seven days or longer then we have arranged a morning transfer from Drumnadrochit to Loch Laide (you will walk this section in reverse from Loch Laide to Drumnadrochit). You will be transferred back to Loch Laide the following morning to continue your walk to Inverness.

Section 7: Loch Laide to Inverness, 12.5 miles, 20 km / 5 - 6 hours

Initially you follow a minor road for a few miles and then at Blackfold you branch off through the forest before beginning your descent down towards Inverness and the Moray Firth. A mile before the end of the Great Glen Way you once again meet the Caledonian Canal and it is possible to walk all the way to the end if you wish.

The way turns right instead and follows the River Ness into the centre of Inverness and Inverness Castle, which marks the end of your wonderful journey across Scotland. If you have walked all the way from Drumnadrochit you will be very pleased to reach the end of the day's walk!

The High Route

In Summer 2014, through a £1 million project, the Forestry Commission Scotland created over 10 miles (16km) of waymarked Great Glen ‘High Route’ above Loch Ness. These new options take you above the treeline and offer fantastic views, with some challenging gradients and a new summit at 422m (1385ft) on Creag Dhearg.


Overnight in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses, specifically chosen to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers and traditional hospitality.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

The Great Glen Way is available and well suited to solo walkers as the route is popular and well marked. Single rooms are available but a single supplement is payable.


A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your guide book will have details.




Guisachan House - Fort William

Guisachan House - Fort William

A warm welcome awaits you at Guisachan House, a family run private hotel offering bed and breakfast in Fort William. Situated in an elevated position only 10 minutes walk from Fort William town centre, railway station, bus stance, and tourist information centre.







Dalcomera B&B - Gairlochy

Overlooking Ben Nevis and the River Lochy Dalcomera makes for the perfect first nights stop on the Great Glen Way.







Distant Hills - Spean Bridge

Distant Hills - Spean Bridge

Peter and Lesley McIntosh extend a warm welcome to you from their family run guest house. Distant Hills is a family run guest house, set in extensive grounds and located at the edge of a quiet Highland village.







Glen Albyn Lodge - Laggan

Glen Albyn Lodge is traditional on the outside and modern and eco-friendly on the inside. Dennis and Helen provide legendary hospitality and home cooking at their highly rated B&B.






The Bank House - Fort Augustus

The Bank House - Fort Augustus

The Bank House B&B sits in a beautiful position overlooking the Caledonian Canal in the centre of Fort Augustus. You are assured a warm welcome at this lovely property and you are also within walking distance of Pubs, Restaurants and shops.







Bracarina House - Invermoriston

Located in the centre of Invermoriston and a stones throw from the pub Bracarina is a beautiful guesthouse with little extras such as a sauna to revive tired legs.







Craik na Dav - Invermoriston

Sisters Lindsey and Manda would like to offer you a very warm welcome to their home in Invermoriston. A footspa and foot massager are available and they offer homemade cake with tea / coffee / herbal tea / fruit tea on arrival.







Tramps - Drumnadrochit

Tramps is run by Mary Beedham who is reknowned for her outstanding hospitality. A wonderful host and an ever helpful host make for an outstanding stay.







Acorn House - Inverness

Acorn House - Inverness

The ambiance throughout Acorn House is one of comfort and relaxation - you will discover a warmth and friendliness unrivaled in Inverness. Dugie and Fiona will look after you well in this award winning Guesthouse.





You can start your walk on the Great Glen Way on any day between March and October, subject to availability. The Great Glen Way is very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as you are able to.

Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded easy to moderate overall, with the 7 and 8 day tours graded moderate, due to a couple of longer days. Daily walking distances very between 8 - 20
miles. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain
will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. There are ascents
and descents involved, so a good level of fitness will be required. For fitter walkers the High Route will appeal, which affords particularly spectacular views from the Great Glen Way.


The route is well way marked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so you will easily manage to find your way.

Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be collected from your accommodation each day and moved onto your overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 18kg per person.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to/from Fort William

By Air: Inverness and Glasgow Airports are the most convenient. From Inverness Airport catch the bus (2 hours) or arrange a private transfer to Fort William. From Glasgow Airport take the shuttle bus into Glasgow city centre and then the train (4 hours) or bus (3 hours) to Fort William.

By Train: Between 3 and 4 trains run daily from Glasgow to Fort William and the journey takes around 4 hours. Widely regarded as one of the world’s great rail journeys this is a great way to start your trip. Visit Scotrail's website for timetables and tickets.

By Bus: Scottish Citylink operates up to 8 departures per day from Glasgow to Fortwilliam (3 hours) and up to 8 buses per day from Inverness (2 hours) to Fort William. Visit Scottish Citylink's website for timetables and tickets.

By Car: Fort William is 100 miles (approx. 3 hours) north of Glasgow on the A82. Parking (not secure) is available in Fort William. You can sometimes leave your car at the properties we use in Fort William, but please request this at the time of booking.

Private Transfers: We can arrange private transfers from Glasgow, Inverness or Edinburgh to the start/end of your walk; just ask us for a quote. This is often the smoothest way to begin or conclude your adventure.

Journey Planning: If travelling by public transport the website has an excellent journey planner.

Getting from Inverness

Inverness has excellent transport links by road, rail and air to destinations throughout Scotland and the UK. Use the websites listed above for timetables and tickets.


  • Hand picked bed and breakfast accommodation in en-suite rooms wherever possible.
  • Door to door baggage transfer.
  • A detailed info pack, guidebook and map for the group leader.
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office


  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.


  • Single room supplement.
  • Hotel and castle accommodation upgrade.
  • Extra nights before, during or after your walk.
  • Private transfer from Inverness to Fort William.

We are often asked the following questions and hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us or perhaps visit our walking forum for more advice from our clients and team.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Great Glen is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website, and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

The Great Glen Way is a relatively easy walking trail, and if you are a regular walker or lead an active lifestyle, you will enjoy the trail. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness, regular walking supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least six months before your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved on to your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 18kg per person.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked the way in every summer month, we believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

How do we get to and from the trail?

Fort William is the gateway to the Highlands and is serviced by local train and bus services! With these services, you can connect easily to the start of the Great Glen Way trail with direct trains running from Glasgow city centre to Fort William (approx.. 4 hours). Getting back from Inverness is also easy, and there are again train and bus services onwards to Glasgow and Edinburgh city centres. Please check our local journey planner Traveline Scotland for more information.

What are the midges like?

Midges are small biting insects (much like North American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, the sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside. As long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets, and several sections of the way are closed to dogs as they are permissive paths through farmland.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

An epic walk


Great way to see the Great Glen Way. Would recommend the High Route, especially the first day between Fort Augustus and Invermoriston. The second day is more challenging, as it says ~ three hours' steep ascent of Creag Dhearg and quite a bit further to walk with steep descents, less viewpoints as the mature forest often obstructs the view but still a good experience. At all times a well maintained path with good signage and interesting information panels. The only issue was at the ruins of Lochloy Castle, where it was not clear which way to go at the bridge. The app/map has also not caught up with the new Westlink in Inverness but the signage is clear. There is a lot of canal & forestry. Be prepared for each day's walk to be longer than currently listed; we did between 10 and 16 miles a day instead of between 8 and 15. Prepare for the 9 days and 8 nights tour by doing regular 15 mile walks, rather than 8-10 mile walks. I would have liked to stop more often to look around but as we were novice long distance walkers and a bit slow we had to make the times for book-in. Opt for a lift from Laggan locks, get the taxi from Gairlochy, don't do the extra walk to Spean Bridge because you will already have done a full day. Ditto there is not enough energy left to walk far in the evening, so research location for your evening meals ahead and book a table, e.g. the Drumnadrochit B&B is not within easy walking distance of the restaurants when you've been on your feet all day but the Loch Ness Inn is. Book all packed lunches at least a week ahead, or ask if there is a shop. Buy a key for the canal toilets. All accommodations were fabulous and had a relaxed atmosphere and helpful, accommodating owners. I especially rate Forest Lodge & Woodlands as ready to 'go the extra mile' for us. Luggage can get thrown around a bit in the back of the minibus, so take an old case. The app is really helpful, team it with the map and you will know exactly where you are at any given point.

Lindsey the Walker



A Caledonian Odyssey


Miles quoted usually are lower by two to three miles of door to door mileage Would suggest you do break day in middle if new to long distance ( we didn't)

Funny Walker

Leicester/ Highlands


Sun scorched on the Great Glen Way!


We let Mac Adventure take the stress of the B&Bs we needed to book. Our steps were mapped by sign posts and a very handy book. So all we needed was to relax and enjoy the walk. Not to mention the warm welcomes and the time to talk! At Mac's other routes we are sure to take another look.

Lovely Lorna

Dorking, Surrey


Loved Every Minute!!


My husband and I loved out Great Glen Way Trek this past May, 2018. The accommodations were very good......every B&B was comfortable, clean and enjoyable. Our luggage was delivered to each location without a hitch which we were very happy about. The actual hike was beautiful. We had originally wanted to hike The West Highlands but it was fully booked as we didn't start looking into this destination until late March. But our disappointment in not getting to hike the West Highland Way was very quickly gone as soon a step we started to hike The Great Glen Way. It really was beautiful and we were very fortunate to have had great weather. I would highly recommend Macs Adventures. They were extremely helpful and provided us with all the needed information to make this trek so enjoyable and memorable.


Ottawa Canada


Fabulous walking holiday


We were lucky to have sunny weather combined with a pleasant cool northeasterly breeze. The scenery is fabulous. The route is well maintained and waymarked and easy to follow. Walking canalside is easy and ascending to the higher routes is also relatively easy, walking lochside by Loch Lochy is more tiring and even more so is the length of the final day. Accommodation and restaurant staff were all very welcoming, fellow walkers met en route were great company.


Essex, England


Great fun on the Great Glen


First time doing a walking tour and loved it. Great to have luggage moved for us, so could travel lightly each day. Hosts were for the most part extremely friendly and helpful with tips about routes and things to see in the area. Walking by the canal quickly becomes routine, but the high routes were fabulous.


Calgary, AB


Had a wonderful time


So good to have all the organising done for us and to know that if anything goes wrong, you are there to help. Allows us to really enjoy the walking and know that, at the end of the day, we can relax, with our bags moved on for us. So good not to have to carry a great weight! Also appreciated the organisation prior to our holiday - you kept us well informed about everything and built up a sense of excitement about the trip. Thank you.

Mama Wilson



Great from start to finish


Macs Adventure' communications and documentation were great - timely, detailed and insightful. The accommodation was fine, guides and maps gave all the information we needed and luggage pickup and drop off worked like a dream. All of this made our trip a great, hassle free experience. We were also very fortunate in having fantastic weather for the whole of our walk - but I can't credit Macs Adventure for organising that! Would definitely use them again if I felt the urge for another trekking adventure.




I would book with Macsadventure again


It was great to have my luggage carried, a job which my husband did until his eyesight began to fail.

Fran the Fit



Great walk in the Great Glen


The description of the walk was realistic about the challenge in posed. All accommodation was great apart from a few niggles (Glen Albyn Lodge in Invergarry forgot we had requested a three course dinner and only offered two; but they remembered my birthday! The Ardross and Glencairn Guest House in Inverness was pretty impersonal compared with B&B accommodation, perhaps inevitably)




Great Glen Way

4.5 144


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