Great Glen Way - 8 Days & 7 Nights8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 235 reviews
- A classic trail through highland scenery from Fort William to Inverness
- Discover the Caledonian Canal with its very impressive series of locks
- Visit Urquhart Castle and its superb setting on Loch Ness; look-out for Nessie!
- Impressive views of Ben Nevis en route - the UK's highest mountain
- Offering a sense of accomplishment on completion of this long-distance trail
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
This trip is suitable for:
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 14 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Long-Distance Trails
- Accessible by Rail
Activity Level & 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 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 than the traditional route, with some challenging gradients and a new summit at 422m (1385ft) on Creag Dhearg.
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.
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.
- Hand-picked accommodation in B&B's, guest houses and small hotels
- Breakfast at each accommodation
- Baggage transfers
- Information pack and access to maps and GPX tracks on the Macs Adventure smartphone app
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- Travel to the start / from the finish of the walk
- Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
- Travel insurance (required)
- Personal equipment
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Extra nights before, during or after your walk
- Single/Solo Supplement
When To Go
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.
Getting to the Start
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 www.travelinescotland.com has an excellent journey planner.
Getting from the End
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.
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.
At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person. It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Fort William and overnight
Lying in the shadow of Ben Nevis at the head of Loch Linnhe sits Scotland’s outdoor capital - Fort William.
Glasgow and Inverness are the closest airports to Fort William and regular trains and buses connect to Fort William.
Dora welcomes you with open arms to her beautiful guest house - Myrtle Bank. Overlooking Loch Linnie and just a short stroll from the town centre Myrtle Bank is a wonderful place to relax at the end of the West Highland Way.
Ardblair is in a stunning location overlooking Loch Linnhe and the attention to detail throughout the house is what gives this Fort William B&B its edge. All rooms are en-suite and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable night’s stay. There is WiFi access in all the rooms.
Located in a prime residential area overlooking Loch Linnhe, the guest house is only 5 minutes walk from the shops and restaurants in Fort William town centre. You are assured a warm welcome at this splendid property and all rooms are en-suite with central heating, flat screen televisions and tea/coffee making facilities. There is free WiFi.
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).
Riverside Lodge Gardens is situated in a lovely location and offers quality and spacious 4 Star accommodation. All rooms are located on the ground floor, with new spacious en-suite facilities, together with comfortable seating areas.
Distant Hills has a peaceful setting amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the Highlands with uninterrupted mountain views. They have seven individually designed comfortable rooms with en-suite shower rooms. Rooms are furnished in contemporary quality furniture with 24 hour individually controlled heating. There is also a drying room and WIFI access.
Old Pines is a very special place to stay. Experience the beauty of their picturesque location, cosy yet luxurious rooms and the indulgence of organic, home-cooked food. On arrival, you will be greeted with fresh tea and home-made scones then you can settle into your luxury room to unwind.
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.
Forest Lodge is ideally located in the heart of the Great Glen. Managed by Lorraine and Laura you are guaranteed a warm welcome in this tranquil spot. They have comfortable en-suite rooms equipped with tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryer, clock/radios and toiletries.
Glengarry Castle Hotel is a comfortable country house hotel located on the shores of Loch Oich, between Loch Ness and Loch Lochy. All 26 bedrooms are individually furnished and have private bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi is available in all bedrooms, Library and Lounge.
Dating from 1885 and based at the seat of the Ancient Clan MacDonnell, the Hotel is steeped in history and character. This Famous Coaching Inn is a beautiful Highland retreat nestled in the village of Invergarry by the banks of River Garry. All rooms are en-suite and have telephone, TV, Wi-Fi, coffee & tea facilities.
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.
This house was built in 1760 in the grounds of the 2nd fort, and has undergone a number of alterations over the years. Most recently they have added the new breakfast room which provides stunning views of the Caledonian Canal, Meall Dubh peak and the centre of Fort Augustus.
The Bank House sits on an elevated site overlooking the Caledonian Canal in the centre of Fort Augustus. They are within walking distance of pubs, restaurants and shops. They have three en-suite rooms that are named after Castles and come with tea and coffee making facilities, a hair dryer and a colour TV.
Oaklands Bed and Breakfast provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking.The bed and breakfast offers a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer, free toiletries and shower.
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.
Heather and Robert would like to extend you, a warm welcome to their Bed and Breakfast, Bracarina House. Where you can expect a hearty breakfast, homemade scones for your walk. Bracarina House is set in the middle of the beautiful village of Invermoriston and is a stone’s throw from the pub.
Sisters Lindsey and Manda would like to offer you a very warm welcome to their home in Invermoriston. All rooms are en-suite and have all the amenities you require for a great overnight stay.
Darroch View is situated near to the world-famous Loch Ness and in the heart of Invermoriston. All their rooms are en-suite, as well having satellite T.V., free wireless internet connection (WIFI), tea/coffee making facility, hairdryer, alarm clock & complimentary toiletries. Downstairs the dining room has a wonderful view of mountains and the beautiful village of Invermoriston.
As you leave Invermoriston the path climbs steeply until you are high above Loch Ness, it then descends again to the Lochside after three miles and climbs again, so yes, 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 Loch Ness Monster experiences. You should have enough time to explore at least one of these attractions.
Situated just a little outside the village centre of Drumnadrochit the shores of Loch Ness, this peaceful haven gives you all the relaxation you need after day out on the Great Glen. All rooms are well appointed and the house is surrounded by well-kept gardens, with a relaxing lounge and bright and airy breakfast room. All rooms include complimentary upgraded Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities.
Greenlea is a charming cottage situated on the Village Green in Drumnadrochit. Built in 1810, it was the first house on the green and as a listed building it maintains many traditional features. All rooms are equipped with TV, tea & coffee facilities, hairdryer and Wi-Fi access.
This B&B is a tastefully converted old church and a warm highland welcome is ensured from Fiona Urquhart. Each room is furnished to a high standard and are all light and airy. Wi-Fi is available throughout the house. Laundry facilities are not available but drying facilities are on offer for no extra charge.
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.
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!
Ballifeary Guest House is an impressive Victorian Villa with many original features. It has a large private car park for guests use and a secured shed for those with bikes. It is ideally located only a matter of yards from Eden Court theatre and a short walk from the River Ness where many restaurants, the Cathedral and Castle can be found. The rooms have been recently refurbished to a high standard offering every comfort you would expect.
Glencairn and Ardross Guest House is a family run guesthouse. The building is an elegant detached listed Victorian building situated in a quiet street close to the scenic River Ness. Room are comfortable and tastefully furnished and have all the amenities you require.
Built in 1842, your accommodation is a well-appointed Victorian villa with stunning views over the River Ness and Cavell Gardens. All rooms have TV, hospitality tray, hairdryers and free wireless Internet. They also have available on request bathrobes, slippers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, iron and ironing board and DVD player.
After breakfast your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
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