The Great Glen Way
Fort William to Inverness in 5 Days Walking Code: GG6
We offer 3 itineraries covering the whole route. The 5 day option involves 2 lengthy 18 mile days. The 6 day option takes things a little easier with just 1 day of 18 miles. Our 7 day option is far more gentle with the longest distance being 14 miles and there a couple of relaxed 7 and 8 mile days also.
Due to essential forest harvesting work the main path along Loch Oich will be unavailable to the public for the remainder of the year and throughout 2024. You will need to use the alternate Invergarry link path during this time, adding almost 2.5 miles, and resulting in more up & downs than the south side path. The Invergarry link is detailed in the guidebook and signs will be in place to instruct you on where to go.
Of all our Great Glen Way itineraries this is the one for the more serious walker, covering the entire Great Glen in just 5 days. If you are a fit, regular walker who wants to concentrate on completing the Great Glen, then this is the walk for you.
|Day 1||Travel to Fort William for your first nights accommodation|
|Day 2||Fort William to Gairlochy then transfer to Spean Bridge||10||16|
|Day 3||Transfer back to Gairlochy then walk to South Laggan||13||21|
|Day 4||South Laggan to Invermoriston||18||29|
|Day 5||Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit||14||23|
|Day 6||Drumnadrochit to Inverness||18||29|
|Day 7||Depart from Inverness after breakfast|
Fort William to Gairlochy: Underneath Ben Nevis on the Caledonian Canal
The route starts in Fort William, on the shores of Loch Linnhe and in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Views of the mountain and its fearsome North Face cliffs can be seen over much of this section, weather permitting. The route leaves the shores of Loch Linnhe, heading inland past Neptune’s Staircase, a series of locks near the strait of the Caledonian canal. From here the route takes the riverside path and canal towpath to highland villages of Gairlochy, at the foot of Loch Lochy.
Gairlochy to South Laggan: The shores of Loch Lochy
This 13 mile section follows the northern bank of Loch Lochy for its entire length. It is characterised by fairly easy walking on forestry tracks, footpaths and minor roads. There are spectacular views over Loch Lochy to the high mountains beyond.
South Laggan to Invermoriston: Loch Oich and Fort Augustus
The canal towpath and old railway track bed take the route along the tree clad shores of Loch Oich, a nature reserve resplendent with native woodlands and wild flowers. There are views across the Loch to the ruins of Invergarry Castle, once the seat of the famous MacDonnells clan. Fort Augustus, established by General Wade in 1729, is soon reached. St Benedicts Abbey and cruises on Loch Ness provide diversions here.
Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
After a steep climb out of Invermoriston with fine views of Loch Ness, you will walk on steep undulating forest tracks until Grotaig. From here the trail changes to moorland and farmland with views over the Great Glen and onwards to Drumnadrochit, known locally as “Drum.” You could take a rest day here to visit the impressive Urquhart Castle and cruise on the mighty Loch Ness.
Drumnadrochit to Inverness
Today will be the most challenging day of all your walks. It is a long and varied day walking on exposed high moorland, farmland and woodland, finishing on the rural paths of Ness Islands before viewing the impressive setting of Inverness Castle, where this walk finishes.
The Great Glen Way is a very appealing walk on good terrain. It is easier than the West Highland Way as it is less strenuous, but it still requires good planning and preparation. No problem for regular walkers!
Terrain: The route generally follows the Caledonian Canal, loch shores, and well made forest trails on the lower slopes.
What’s it like underfoot? Pretty good. Well maintained canal towpaths and forest tracks. Shorter sections can be rougher or muddy, so good footwear is essential.
How Much Up & Down? Amazingly little considering the size of the surrounding mountains! Some short steep ascents and a longer climb of 300m to Blackfold on the final day.
Signposting: Generally good, but use you map and guidebook as well.
Navigation: Pretty straightforward. You may encounter hill fog on the moorland around Blackfold, but the route is well defined.
Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Good clothing and waterproofs essential!
|Accommodation||Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.|
|Guidebook||A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.|
|Information of Services Along the Route||A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.|
|Maps||A waterproof 1:40000 map from Harvey Maps covering the whole route.|
|Personal Itinerary||A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.|
|Emergency Telephone Support||If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.|
|12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors||We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.|
|Luggage Transport||We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.|
| Packed Lunches
||Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.|
|Off Road Parking||If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).|
|Arrangement of return transport||We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!|
What’s not Included
|Evening Meals||Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.|
|Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish||Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.|
|Travel Insurance||Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.|
Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.
We use a variety of accommodation, including small country house hotels, guest houses in market towns, bed and breakfasts in farm houses, country cottages and Victorian town houses. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. For example, over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, on a working farm, and in a Georgian hotel.
We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.
We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than 2 for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.
General travel information on the Great Glen Way area will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available.
Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.
If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for information.
Getting to Fort William:
By Air: The nearest international airport is Glasgow (GLA). There is a regular shuttle bus into Glasgow city centre (approx 25 mins). From Glasgow city centre there plenty of direct trains to Fort William. You can travel by train straight from the airport if you wish; it just makes your journey time slightly longer.
By Public Transport: Fort William has a railway station. Most services will pass through Glasgow (GLA).
By Road: From Glasgow in Scotland, Fort William is 108 miles north – approximately 2.5 hours by car. For Glasgow travel on the M6 north then the A74(M). For the most direct route to Fort William from Glasgow, follow this sequence of roads: A81, A804, M8, M898, A898, A82.
Returning from Inverness:
By Public Transport: To return to Fort William there is a Scottish Citylink bus service number 919 from Inverness. Inverness has a railway station for onward travel by train.
By Road: When traveling back into England or Wales, head for either Edinburgh (157 miles) or Glasgow (171 miles) depending on the direction of your final destination.
Fort William is the capital of the West Highlands, situated at the head of Loch Linnhe. It’s not the prettiest of towns, but there are a good number of shops, and some good outdoor stores to browse around or buy new gear. A lot of people take an extra day here to climb Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain (1344m / 4409ft). It’s a long day, and the weather can be harsh, so make sure you are fit and prepared!