- Traverse Scotland from coast to coast on a rewarding journey through deep glens and past dramatic mountain ranges.
- Take in the sweeping views across Loch Ness, perhaps catching a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster!
- Enjoy moderate hiking on good trails as you hike from village to village through this spectacular geological fault line.
- 7 nights’ accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis in Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts, Small Hotels and Inns on the route, based on two people sharing a twin or double room
- Luggage transfer for 1 bag per person for the duration of the trip, meaning you will only have to carry a day rucksack
- Route notes which include a map and full directions to your accommodation.
- The services of the Wilderness Scotland Team prior to & during your trip.
Blue Graded Self Guided Holidays 4-6
Self guided Blue graded walking holidays are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. Walking at a good pace you can expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. You will be following a trail but should understand how to follow a hiking map with at least basic navigation skills. Daily distances will vary – typically up to 20km but may be longer occasionally, or often on the more challenging trips in the grade. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.
Trail conditions will vary from well laid and maintained sections of gravel track to rough and rocky sections including muddy and wet areas. Short sections may be on tarmac.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
At each stage of your trek we will arrange accommodation for you to stay that night. The accommodations range from small guesthouses, Highland inns, small hotels and bed and breakfast establishments which will be of a 3 or 4 star standard. Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to a number of factors – charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing Highland hospitality. We do not use accommodations we have not personally visited.
If you choose the upgraded accommodation option we will reserve the best available accommodation option in each location for you. However, in some areas, accommodation is very limited so the choice is restricted. Where this is the case we will book the best quality room available for you. If you wish to choose upgraded accommodation please call us to book – this is not available online.
Accommodation will be reserved on a Bed & Breakfast basis – lunches and evening meals are not included. Local shops sell sandwiches and snacks for the day ahead. Many guest houses will also be able to provide a packed lunch for you if you ask them the night before. In the evenings, meals can be taken in local restaurants, hotels or bars.
The Great Glen Way traverses Scotland from west to east, following the Great Glen fault line which almost splits Scotland in two.
Hiking past some of our most beautiful lochs, including Loch Ness, at 117km the Great Glen Way route is one of Scotland’s finest long distance trails.
The trail begins in Fort William beneath the slopes of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You will then trek north-east through spectacular scenery and past lochs Lochy, Oich and, of course, Loch Ness. The hike becomes more challenging in its second half as the path takes to the hillsides above the loch, but by then you are well warmed up to the hike. You finish the route in the capital of the Highlands, Inverness.
Trip Itinerary – Great Glen Way
Day 1 – Arrival in Fort William
Today you’ll make your own way to Fort William where you’ll spend the night at your first guesthouse of the trip. Tomorrow morning the hike begins!
Day 2 – Past Ben Nevis to Gairlochy
The route starts in Fort William and takes you close to Inverlochy Castle, built in the 1200s, then continues to the start of the Caledonian Canal. From here the journey along Scotland’s longest glen and greatest geological fault begins. Following the canal towpath, you travel up Neptune’s Staircase, a ladder of eight locks which give some of the best views of Ben Nevis, and continue along to Gairloch.
Distance: 17km/10.5 miles Ascent: 40m
Day 3 – Gairlochy to South Laggan
The second day’s walk sticks fairly closely to the west shore of Loch Lochy. It follows mainly quiet, forest tracks with high mountains rising up on both sides of the loch, offering fine views. By the time you reach your accommodation, you will have hiked the length of Loch Lochy.
Distance: 19km/11.5 miles Ascent: 85m
Day 4 – South Laggan to Fort Augustus
You hike along the east shore of Loch Oich, joining the famous Caledonian Canal at the north end of the Loch. This is one of the easier days on the trail so take your time and enjoy the scenery. After leaving Loch Oich behind, you follow the canal to Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness, which stretches into the distance in front of you.
Distance: 17km/10.5 miles Ascent: 10m
Day 5 – Fort Augustus to Invermoriston
Today you will walk along the west side of the world famous Loch Ness. There are two route options – a high and lower level route. Both are the same overall length but the higher one obviously adds more ascent. It also provides some of the best views of the trip above the forest and the loch, gazing for mile on mile. The higher route is therefore usually preferred, but if you want an easier day you can stay lower down.
Distance: 12km/7.5 miles Ascent: 120m (low level option) / 480m (high level option)
Day 6 – Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
Today you again have the choice of a high or low level route, however this only affects the first part of the day. Either way, there is still a fair amount of ascent today. The high level option climbs a hill beside Drumnadrochit, offering superb views again before descending gradually through forest to rejoin the original route. The low option skirts past this hill through forestry. After the paths rejoin you will pass the tiny hamlet of Bunloit – this marks half way along Loch Ness. From here there is a section along a quiet road before a steep trail descends to Drumnadrochit and day’s end.
Distance: 23km/14.5 miles Ascent: 500m (low level option) / 740m (high level option)
Day 7 – Drumnadrochit to Inverness
The final day is a long trek but with straightforward walking on decent trails and a short section of quiet road. After about 4km the route leaves Loch Ness and heads inland, climbing up onto open hillside where you are rewarded with more views down Loch Ness and the Great Glen. You descend gradually through forest as you walk north and meet the River Ness at the edge of Inverness. The last few miles follow the river bank, finishing in the city centre with views across the river to Inverness Castle.
On reaching Inverness, you will have traversed Scotland from coast to coast along its most natural route, the Great Glen Way. On arrival in Inverness, settle into your accommodation then decide whether you need an early night, or if it is time to celebrate your success!
Distance: 29km/18 miles Ascent: 480m
Day 7 can be split into 2 shorter days with an extra night’s accommodation in Drumnadrochit.
Day 8 – Depart Inverness
After breakfast this morning you can start your journey homeward, though if you have time or wish to add an extra night to your itinerary you may enjoy a look around Inverness before departing. On the way home you’ll have time to look back and reflect on a memorable hike across Scotland.
PLEASE NOTE: Total daily distances are given for each stage but will vary slightly as you also need to walk to your accommodation each day which will usually add a short distance.
Extra Nights and Accommodation Upgrades
You also have the option to choose the following upgrades and extra nights:
- Upgraded accommodation package – we will reserve the best rooms available along the route – £1165 per person
- Split Day 7 and walk the route over 8 days. The additional charge is £65 per person, £90 per person if using upgraded accommodation
- Upgraded package plus luxury nights at 5 star Inverlochy Castle and Rocpool Reserve – £1465 per person
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.
Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.
by Jeffrey Holmes 10/07/2018
Communication was great and planning was very smooth.
by Jason Young 08/07/2018
Very prompt and complete information provided
Bed and breakfasts were generally very nice, though location of some were a bit off the path (especially in Gairlochy)
by Melanie Climenhage 02/07/2018
Generally, you responded promptly to our emails and questions. Your list of stuff to bring and wear was invaluable. We followed it to a tee and were always comfortable and dry on our walk across the Great Glen Way. Excellent PDFs for preparation . I would have liked to have received our final package through the post. As I would have liked to have read the booklet about our pathways, etc to familiarize myself a bit more with the hike. Rather due to time constraints, we booked the trip a bit late, we received it at the first B and B in Fort William. It was in our room when we arrived and was very useful to have and read along the way.
I really wanted to see Scotland and it’s landscape and villages. This hike provides this opportunity as we walked into a village each day where our B and B was. We walked along canal paths, up and down forest paths and roads and saw Loch Lochy, Oich and Ness. Birds filled the air with song. We saw some deer. We wondered where the squirrels were as they are everywhere in Ontario Canada. The people said there were squirrels in Scotland and we saw a road sign that said Slow Squirrels, but we didn’t see one.
Accommodation and Food
We thought each B and B was excellent. Each was unique in its own way. Norry from Fort William had lived in Canada for 19 years. Collin from Spean Bridge had immaculate rooms and outstanding breakfast. Laurie from Laggan was standing at the door when we rounded the corner to her B and B. It was like coming home. The Rose Cottage in Fort Augustus had new owners and they were attentive and helpful in every way. Rose Cottage is a beautiful accommodation and is situated right at the trail entry for the Day 4 walk. Matthew and Anne in invermoriston also have a lovely B and B. They provided a lovely breakfast and a restful and quiet accommodation. Laura at Drommnadochit played her harp for us and had guests sitting around a common table at breakfast which promotes interesting conversation with people from other countries. Carol in Inverness was welcoming and helpful in regard to area locations such as reataurants and car rentals. Her B and B is lovely.
I thought the route notes were useful. I like that the notes provided detail of what to look for. I like that it was book form so I can read it anytime and share it with others.
The Bottom Line
I really enjoyed this trip. I think it was a more arduous hike than I had first thought. But if I can finish the hike anyone can. I felt the day walking into drummnidochit from Invermoriston was way too much and long. We walked for about 8 hours that day. Then when we arrived we had to walk another mile or so to our B and B. I wonder if overall the Great Glen Way is a 4 out of 8 hike or perhaps harder such as a 5 out of 8. I also think that in the book notes that this day should be described in fuller detail. You mention the cafe where u can get a drink briefly. By this time we had walked for hours. Probably 6. That Cafe was such a welcoming resting point. Emphasize that more. Also, even though you provide the mileage for the trip, hikers walk further as they must find their bed and breakfast. When we arrived in Drummnadichit, we walked and walked to find Our B and B. Finally along came two joggers and they helped us locate it.
by Melaina Oak 28/06/2018
The route notes were really easy to follow. I appreciated that the notes pointed out options such as reversing parts of the trail so as to have the transfer at the start of the day rather than the end.