TRANSCOTLAND Self-guided Walking Holidays

Great Glen Way 2014

Fort Augustus locks on the Caledonian Canal This long distance walk runs from Fort William to Inverness through Glen Mor ("the Great Glen"), a geological fault line which runs south-west to north-east across Scotland. The 73 mile route is generally easier than the West Highland Way, as it mostly follows the course of the Caledonian Canal, and the shores of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness. Walking is typically on low-lying canal tow-paths, forest tracks and paths, but there are sections where the route climbs high above the shoreline, giving great views over Loch Ness. The average daily walking distance is about 12 miles, but there are one or two longer days depending on how many days you take to walk the route. We offer two versions, as summarised below:

Route Start Finish No. of
nights
Description Price per person
GGW A Fort William Inverness 7 One long day (19 miles) 465
GGW B Fort William Inverness 6 Two long days (19 miles) 435

Version A:

Ben Nevis beyond Fort WilliamDay 1. Arrive in Fort William, the capital of the Western Highlands. The town is a popular base for walkers and climbers as it sits at the foot of Ben Nevis (1344m), the highest mountain in Scotland. Depending on your time of arrival, you could visit the West Highland Museum, or take a boat trip to Seal Island in Loch Linnhe.

Corpach Locks where the Caledonian Canal startsDay 2. Soon after leaving the town centre, the path turns west along the shore of Loch Eil to the Caledonian Canal's sea locks at Corpach. Here you turn north-east, soon passing 'Neptune's Staircase', the series of locks which lift the canal 80 feet above sea-level. After continuing along the canal path through Cameron country, you can take a small diversion to visit the ruins of Torcastle overlooking the River Lochy. This section of the Great Glen Way ends at the tiny village of Gairlochy* (10 miles).

Loch LochyDay 3. After re-joining the Great Glen Way at Gairlochy, the path follows the west shore of Loch Lochy, where you have the option to take a small diversion to visit the Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry. The Way continues along the forested shore of Loch Lochy until you reach the small settlement of South Laggan (12 miles).

Loch Ness from Fort AugustusDay 4. From South Laggan, you follow the canal path the short distance to Laggan Swing Bridge. The path then follows the wooded shoreline of Loch Oich, the narrowest and possibly most attractive of all the Great Glen lochs. On reaching the north end of Loch Oich, the path stays close to the banks of the canal and River Oich down to Fort Augustus at the south end of Loch Ness (11 miles). Fort Augustus is a small but busy village, as is best known for it's Benedictine Abbey. You can also take a cruise on Loch Ness from Fort Augustus.

The old bridge at InvermoristonDay 5. The day starts with a climb out of Fort Augustus, which soon gives good views back down to the Benedictine Abbey and Loch Ness. The path continues through semi-natural woodland above Loch Ness before dropping down to the small village of Invermoriston (8 miles).

Castle Urquhart by Loch NessDay 6. After a steep climb out of Invermoriston, the path continues in the forests above Loch Ness, giving wonderful views across and down the famous loch. The path then joins a very quiet road before the final descent to Drumnadrochit (14 miles). The village is famous for it's close proximity to 13th Century Castle Urquhart, and it's more recent Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centres.

The River NessDay 7. The morning starts with a steady climb onto the open moorland above Drumnadrochit. The path then turns away from Loch Ness, passing through farmland and forest as it takes you north towards the Beauly Firth. After descending to cross the Caledonian Canal at Tomnahourich, the final mile takes you by the banks of the River Ness to the centre of Inverness, capital of the Highlands (19 miles**). If you prefer, you can finish the walk by following the Caledonian Canal to the sea lock at Clachnaharry, and then enjoy a real ale at the local pub.


map showing route of Great Glen Way Version B: This is the same as Version A, except that you miss out the overnight stop in Fort Augustus. This means you walk the 19 miles from South Laggan to Invermoriston in one day.


NOTES:
*Due to the limited accommodation in Gairlochy, we may book you accommodation in the nearby village of Spean Bridge. This adds 3 miles to the day's walk but also gives you the option to visit the memorial to the many thousands of WW2 Commandos who trained in the Lochaber hills. If you do stay in Spean Bridge, transport is arranged back to Gairlochy the next morning.

**If walking 19 miles on the last day is too much, we can arrange for you to walk this section in two days. This means you spend two nights in Drumnadrochit, and that transport is arranged so that you walk only 12 miles from Drumnadrochit to Blackfold, and then the last 7 miles into Inverness on the final day. Add 60 per person for this option.

Prices are based on two people sharing (in carefully selected B&B's and guest houses along the route). We will book ensuite rooms where possible (usually on all the nights). If you prefer to stay in hotels, these can be usually be booked in all the villages, the supplement is usually about 150-175 per person in total, depending on the rooms available.

Baggage transfer Due to space constraints, note that only one piece of luggage per person can be transferred. (18kg maximum)

Extra nights It is possible to have extra nights in any of the villages; an extra night in Fort William is essential if you wish to climb Ben Nevis. Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and Inverness are also good places for extra nights as there are a variety of attractions in each place. Extra nights cost from 40 per person per night.

The Great Glen Cycle Route - if you are interested in cycling though the Great Glen, the Great Glen Cycle Route is an official long distance bike route which mostly follows the same route as the Great Glen Way, from Fort William to Inverness. Some sections are hilly and rough and the route is best suited for experienced cyclists and mountain bikers. We can arrange this trip in 4 or 5 night itineraries - if you prefer a longer itinerary, we recomend you take a detour from Drumnadrochit to Cannich and spend at least two nights there to allow days to explore the many forest trails in Glen Affric. If you don't want the hassle of taking your own bike to Scotland, good quality mountain bikes can be hired in Fort William. We arrange your baggage transfer each day, maps and route guidance, and your hire bike to be returned to Fort William after the trip. If you are interested in other cross country mountain biking, extra days are also recomended in Fort William, where you can explore the many trails in the Leanachan Forest, and around Glen Nevis. Contact us for more information and prices.

Travel information:

Start: Fort William is 90 miles north of Glasgow and can be reached by bus (3 hours, about 20) or train (4 hours, about 28). We can arrange transfers from Inverness airport to Fort William for 150 (for up to 4 people). We can also arrange transfers to Fort William from Glasgow airport (about 160 to 180) or Edinburgh airport (about 200 to 220).

Finish: From Inverness, there are frequent buses and trains south to Edinburgh and Glasgow (journey takes about 4 hours, costs about 20-30). Alternatively, it is possible to fly south from Inverness airport (daily flights to Glasgow, Edinburgh, London Gatwick and Luton). From Luton there are Easyjet connections to many European cities including Amsterdam, Geneva and Zurich.

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