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FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

A guide to walking the Great Glen Way

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Stretching 79 miles through some of Scotland’s most magnificent scenery, the long-distance walking trail, the Great Glen Way, offers a rewarding challenge. The route starts at the popular outdoors town of Fort William and heads to the finish point at the beautiful and historic Highlands city of Inverness. If you look at the map, you may be surprised to see that The Great Glen Way is a coast-to-coast route. It also follows a natural fault line, along the famous geographical dividing line of the Great Glen.

Easier walking in the Scottish Highlands

If you’re keen to walk in the Highlands but would prefer to stick to lower levels – and enjoy looking up at the majestic mountain tops around you – then the Great Glen Way makes the perfect choice. You’ll love hiking the length of the fabulous lochs of Loch Linnhe and Loch Oich. You’ll delight in the atmospheric forests that look down (but not from too high!) on infamous Loch Ness. You’ll stroll the flat and beautiful towpath of the Caledonian Canal. And that is all just for starters. If you have more days for your holiday, or you fancy joining two of Scotland’s great trails together, there’s the option to first walk the West Highland Way and then the Great Glen Way.

How many days to walk the Great Glen Way?

If you’ve been inspired to walk the fantastic Highlands trail, the next question is: How many days should I plan to walk? This will depend on fitness levels and experience, but you will also need guidance on where to stop overnight. Of course, you could decide to walk 10 miles each day but this might not always bring you to a suitable accommodation for the night. Another option might be to carry your own luggage and camping stuff, giving you full flexibility of walking distances. However, we find that many walkers these days enjoy the comforts of having their luggage transferred for them and warm and welcoming B&Bs or hotels to rest up at each night.

A seven-day Great Glen Way walking holiday

Many walkers choose to take a week to hike the Great Glen Way. While some days are shorter, around eight miles, the walking never extends to more than 15 miles. The suggested stages take you to convenient overnight stops where our accommodation has been vetted to make sure it is of a good standard.

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy 12 miles/19km   4 - 5 hours

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan 15 miles/ 24km  5 – 6 hours

Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus 10 miles/16km  4 - 4.5 hours

Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston 8 miles/12km  4 to 5 hours

Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit 14 miles/ 22km  7 to 8 hours

Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Loch Laide 9 miles/14km  3 - 4 hours

Stage 7: Loch Laide to Inverness 11 miles/17km  5 – 6 hours

Two six-day Great Glen Way options

The six-day route is the same as the seven-day, except the last two stages are added together to give one long day. By this point, most walkers will be fit and strong enough to manage the full distance although this does depend on the weather and general stamina. While 19 miles might seem like a long way to walk this section is fairly flat and easy going.

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy 12 miles/19km   4 - 5 hours

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan 15 miles/ 24km   5 – 6 hours

Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus  10 miles/16km   4 - 4.5 hours

Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston 8 miles/12km   4 to 5 hours

Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit 14 miles/ 22km  7 to 8 hours

Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness 19 miles/31km  8 to 9.5 hours

A five-day Great Glen Way walking holiday

Walkers should be prepared for a couple of longer days but it could be the ideal option if you have a week off work and you are travelling for a day each end to reach the Scottish Highlands.  Adding together stage 3 and 4, or stages 4 and 5 makes good sense.

Five-day walking option one

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy 12 miles/19km   4 - 5 hours

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan 15 miles/ 24km  5 – 6 hours

Stage 3: Laggan to Invermoriston 18 miles/28   7.5 to 9.5 hours

Stage 4: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit 14 miles/ 22km   7 to 8 hours

Stage 5: Drumnadrochit to Inverness 19 miles/31km     8 to 9.5 hours

Five-day walking option two

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy 12 miles/19km   4 - 5 hours

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan 15 miles/ 24km   5 – 6 hours

Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus 10 miles/16km   4 - 4.5 hours

Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Drumnadrochit 21 miles/34km   8 to 10 hours

Stage 5: Drumnadrochit to Inverness 19 miles/31km    8 to 9.5 hours

Four day Great Glen Way walking holiday

This is for fit and experienced walkers. Or perhaps you want to run this long-distance walking route. Many more runners are taking up endurance challenges and the GGW would be a great choice. Take note of these distances though because although this is a lower-level and flattish route you will still need to be fit enough to take on 11 to 27 miles each day. The time on your feet each day will depend on fitness and whether you choose to run or walk (briskly!).

Stage 1: Fort William to Laggan   27 miles/ 43.5km

Stage 2: Laggan to Invermoriston    18 miles/29km

Stage 3: Invermoriston to Loch Laide    23 miles/37km

Stage 4: Loch Laide to Inverness 11 miles/17km

All these options are suggestions. If you would like to walk or run the Great Glen Way on holiday and you have ideas of your own please do call Macs Adventure to discuss or Contact Us here. We know this route very well and we can offer personal advice to suit your aspirations.