2
introductory to moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights in small guesthouses
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£985GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WGL

Trip highlights


  • Walking in the Heart of Scotland
  • Hiking Through the Scottish Highlands
  • Canal and Loch-Side Footpaths
  • Views of Ben Nevis

Opened in April 2002, this long distance walking trail travels right through the very heart of Scotland. From Fort William to Inverness you'll discover the highlights that make this area such a magnet for walkers. Pass by the foot of Ben Nevis (1344m), the highest mountain in the UK. Follow undulating forest tracks along the shores of Loch Ness and walk through a mixture of farmland, exposed high moorlands and woodland as you make your way to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness. Along the route you will also encounter the forts and castles scattered along the way that lay witness to Scotland's turbulent past, from the Iron Age to the Jacobite Rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie who was finally defeated at the Battle of Culloden.

Countries:

Scotland

Starting Point:

Fort William

Finishing Point:

Inverness


Make your own way to Fort William. There are only traces left of the original fort built to keep the dreaded Highlanders at bay. Today the town is the “Chamonix” of Scotland with a proliferation of outdoor shops, cafes, bookshops and bars to entertain you if you arrive early. If you have an extra night here and you are an experienced hill walker, you could go and climb Ben Nevis, or you could take a boat trip to “Seal Island” to see the grey seals loitering around. Accommodation: Our usual guesthouse is Guischan House situated in the centre of Fort William. However we use a selection of bed & breakfast/guesthouses in Fort William all offering ensuite facilities.

Meals:  Nil

Today’s walk is very easy which will give you the opportunity to do several side trips. The first one being Old Inverlochy Castle, which is one of Scotland’s earliest stone castles, built in 1260. Continue on with your walk before taking a short diversion to Corpach sea loch, with its lock-keepers’ cottages and pepper-pot lighthouse. You then head up to the tow path of the Caledonian Canal following it past “Neptune’s staircase” (a flight of 8 locks) to the small village of Gairlochy. You will be staying at Spean Bridge, which is another 3.5 miles hilly walk as there is no accommodation on the route. Normally the guesthouse will be able to collect and transfer you for a fee by prior arrangement, if you prefer not to walk. Accommodation: Distant Hills Guesthouse is a modern gueshouse and is set amongst beautiful mountain scenery.

Meals:  B

A mainly easy walk today, but it does have some short steep ascents. You will be walking on a mixture of tarmac, forest paths and tracks, mostly shared with the Great Glen Cycle Route. Two miles after the start of your walk, you could take a side trip to Clan Cameron Museum and Cia-aig waterfall before rejoining the Way at Clunes (an extra couple of miles or so) but note that the museum is only open in the afternoons. From Clunes all the way to Kilfinnan, you walk on forest tracks, you will get splendid views of Loch Lochy with the mountains behind. Accommodation: Forest Lodge Guesthouse is surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Meals:  B

Due to logging activity on the east side of Loch Oich until December 2024, The Great Glen Way follows the Invergarry Link from South Laggan. This way marked route has always existed as an option on the Great Glen Way. It takes you through the woodland on the West side of Loch Oich, rather ethan following the old railway line on the east side. Before you take the trail to Invergarry you can do a dog leg diversion to visit The Well of the Seven heads and learn about its grim history. There is a handy cafe nearby if you need to steady your nerves! Continuing on, the route has some great views down to the loch; before you descend to the small village of Invergarry and cross the River Garry. There is a small hotel here if you want a drink and also a service station for snacks. there is a another up and over before You rejoin the the route at the top of Loch Oich and following the Caledonian canal tow path to Fort Augustus. If you have time you could walk up Meall a’Cholumain from Fort Augustus, which is a great viewpoint. Fort Augustus was largely built in 1729 as the hub of General Wade’s military road building programme to calm the highlanders after Culloden and there are 5 locks at the centre of town on the Canal and museums. There are some great restaurants here, you may even have enough time for a short cruise on Loch Ness. Accommodation: Our usual accommodation is Thistle Dubh it is a small family run bed & breakfast. However we use a number of mainly Victorian age guesthouses & bed & breakfast establishments in this busy village.

Meals:  B

A harder day today with steeper ascents. You will climb through a forest of birch and pine, beside a stream and uphill to a forest track. You should get some dramatic views of Loch Ness at intervals through the woods. Walk through the village of Invermoriston with its little bridge built by Thomas Telford. The Invermoriston Hotel is a great place to eat and has several types of malt whisky. They also have great beer from The Skye Brewery. There are nice leafy walks down by the river. Note our route describes the low level option for this leg. Accommodation: Darroch View is a guesthouse that was purpose built in 1995 to provide a family home and bed & breakfast accommodation. Each bedroom is well-furnished and has a spacious ensuite. You can relax in the evening by the open fire in the lounge, while the breakfast room enjoys great views of Sron Na Muic.

Meals:  B

A moderate day of walking with some steep sections. There is quite a bit of undulation today, but hopefully you’ll be used to the walking now! For strong walkers in good weather you could ascend Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh from where you may get views from Ben Nevis all the way to Inverness. You can take excursions to Urquhart Castle with commanding views over Lochness, with a stop at the café or an interpretational centre. You end up at Drumnadrochit, an attractive ‘Green Village’, which has a Loch Ness Monster visitor’s centre…or two! Note our route describes the low level option for this leg. Accommodation: Glenkirk Bed & breakfast was once the village church and has been renovated and transformed into a bed & breakfast.

Meals:  B

Today is normally a long day: 19 mile/30.5 km, which may be too much, especially if you want to see something of Inverness. So the tour is shortened by an optional taxi transfer taking you from the town to Loch Laide, famous for its very clean water. Descend then to Blackford and the Great Glen once again meets the Caledonian Canal before reaching Inverness, a beautiful city of past and modern, although mostly Victorian. If the taxi option is taken then this is a 21 km/14 mile walk. Accommodation: The Coo's Guesthouse is a family run hotel located in a Victorian Villa that dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century.

Meals:  B

After breakfast depart from Inverness.You may wish to spend another day visiting the Neo Gothic St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Castle, the museum and art galleries at Scotland’s Northern Capital. We would recommend that you visit Fort George, the Clava Stones and the newly rebuilt Culloden centre, which are all nearby, and with the exception of the Clava Stones, on local bus routes.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 nights accommodation in small guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not to exceed 20kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • Taxi transfer on Day 7 to Loch Laide

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • Excess Luggage

Accommodation


Suitability

introductory to moderate

2

Easy to moderate, walking approx 8 miles/ 13 km to 18miles/ 29km. 3.5-8 hours The route starts fairly flat but gets harder over the last 3 days with short steep hills and longer hills on the last day of walking. The last day of walking can be reduced by taking optional taxi transfer (included in the price) to a point about a third along the trail, missing out the steep climb.


Departure dates

Daily from 31 Mar to 14 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
Please note that minor changes to your 2024 itinerary may apply.

Priceper person from

£985GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2024GBP£400
  • Single Supplement 2025GBP£440
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2024GBP£470
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2025GBP£520
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, in general terms the trails of the Great Glen Way are easier and the first couple of days are flatter than the West Highland Way. This gives you a bit of a warm up. The last day is about the same standard as the West Highland Way.

Some of the canal tow path sections are equally busy and you will share several sections of the trail with bicycles. A lot of the walkers will not be doing the whole Great Glen Way. On the whole there are fewer walkers and groups on the Great Glen Way.

You can cancel the transfer that we have arranged if you prefer to walk the full length to Inverness. You will just need to inform the pickup service the day before.

We usually say it is worthwhile to spend extra time in Fort Augustus for Lochness cruises. And/or in Inverness from where you can visit Culloden, Fort George and go on dolphin spotting boat trips.

Yes, you are essentially following the lochs and canals of the Great Highland Fault in Scotland from the sea at Loch Linnhe to the sea at the Moray Firth.


Trip reviews


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