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Self Guided – The Great Glen Way

  • 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

Our Blue graded walking holidays involve climbing some of Scotland’s best mountains and ridges. The walks are conducted at a good pace and you may be out hiking for 8 or 9 hours a day. The terrain underfoot can be anything from stalker’s paths to rough or boggy ground, boulder fields and mountain tops.

The daily walks will occasionally involve a mountain ascent of over 3000ft / 900m high. To help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:

Can you comfortably hike for 10+ miles (16+km), climbing mountains and covering a variety of challenging underfoot conditions? How often do you do this?

Accommodation:

Our self-guided walking and hiking holidays feature a wide range of accommodation – very much depending on the remoteness of the region. This includes small hotels, guest houses and traditional B+Bs.

Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to a number of factors – charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing Highland hospitality. Establishments range from small guesthouses and bed and breakfasts to inns and country hotels. Many are small, owner-managed establishments where you can be assured of a highly personal service.

Wherever they are available, we will reserve en suite rooms for you. However, these may not be available in the high season, especially if you are booking your holiday at the last minute, so we cannot guarantee that all of your accommodation will be en-suite. We will, however, advise you wherever possible if this is the case.

Single Supplement:

Clients who request a single room will incur a single room supplement – please refer to the dossier for details.

Customer Kudos

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.

5 star 56

4 star 5

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Edna Colville 08/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Breath taking scenery
Physical challenge
Excellent B and B accommodations
Transfer of luggage was seamless
Itinerary details and instructions were great
Walking times listed for each day were quite accurate
The number of days walking was manageable.
Trip Comments
We had lovely conversations with our B and B hosts. Many of them have done the Great Glen Way or portions of it so their insights were invaluable. The scenery at the summit overlooking Loch Ness was breathtaking. We discussed whether or not to take the high road on both days and we are so glad that we did take the more challenging route.
Accommodation and Food
The B and B accommodations seemed to get nicer each evening. I think because we were walking a little later in the season we were often able to get into our rooms ahead of four o'clock which was nice. We both would have loved more fruit available at breakfast and by the last few days we were a but tired of the Scottish breakfast options. There was always the option of toast and eggs, Etc.
Your Guide
Self guided
The Bottom Line
The entire experience surpassed our expectations. It was well organized and the accommodations were great. We would suggest that more trail markers are along the trail. This woukd make it a bit easier to navigate and also a confirmation that you are indeed on the designated route. Sometimes it would be nice to have a distance marker as well,so you know how much farther your walk will be to your final destination each day. We do acknowledge that this may not be in your power.

by George Pickavet 26/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Enjoyed the US 800 number. My only concern is the way the final payment was worded that it was up to me to remember to send it. A reminder would be nice.
Trip Comments
The views and luggage support were perfect. The lodgings were all great, and only one host was terrible. The rest were all very accommodating in every way.
Accommodation and Food
You are doing excellent. Our only ill stay was in Fort Agustus. She was very rude and condescending. Our crime was we missed the front door and walked around the house. Maybe she was just having a bad day, but to be so rude is uncalled for.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
It's great to hear that you had an excellent trip overall and that everything ran smoothly. A shame to hear that one of the hosts was not so welcoming - we will follow up with them to see what happened.
Your Guide
Notes were excellent. We never were lost.
The Bottom Line
We had an excellent trip, and Wilderness Scotland was a key part of this. Thank you for making our trip awesome.

by Rachel Ben Shmuel 24/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

2Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I would have liked to been notified of when the final payment was due. Otherwise, great communication.
Trip Comments
First, the good parts: the places we stayed were all terrific. Clean, comfortable, nice hosts. Baggage transfer was very smooth.
I didn't like The Great Glen Way. The first two days were hard on the feet and unvarying. It improved after that. I would recommend to anyone to skip the first two days.

But I had described us as experienced walkers who wanted to walk through a remote and challenging area, and The Great Glen Way was suggested. I feel like I didn't do enough research, or would have seen that it wasn't a challenging walk, but it was a poor choice to offer us.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thank you for providing this feedback. We are very glad to hear that you enjoyed the accommodations and that the logistics of the trip ran as smoothly as planned.

I am sorry to hear you found this trip easier than hoped; it was recommended based on your asking for a route walking around 10-12 miles per day and a similar level of remoteness to England's Coast to Coast hike which passes mostly through rural countryside rather than wilderness areas. Of the routes we offer this trip best fit those criteria. In our trip dossier we do make available as much information about the route as possible to help inform your choice about which trip is best for you and we welcome any questions or discussion about the routes.

If you do choose to return to Scotland for another hike in future I would suggest the West Highland Way now we know you would like something more challenging and wilder.
Accommodation and Food
Great hosts, lovely places to stay.
Your Guide
Self guided. Notes were fine.
The Bottom Line

by Carol Boyd 19/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We liked the "personal touch" (e.g., a phone call before the trip).
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The B & Bs were wonderful; our host/hostess's could not have been more helpful. Rooms were lovely. It was perfect.
Your Guide
very helpful (one thing that would have made it better: it would have been good to have information about how far a walk it was from the GGW to our B & B.)
The Bottom Line
Fabulous!

by Conrad Stack 18/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Roger Palfree 16/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I always felt a responsive, concerned, personal conversation with Chantal, and later Julie, on any trip-related matter. It was only that before hearing that the bookings had all been lined up at last, the suspense was building and I felt a bit in the dark as to how it might be progressing.
Trip Comments
Too many to list. We took the high routes where there was a choice and enjoyed the changes of terrain and scenery. Meeting a few other hikers and walking a few miles with them, and bumping into some again another day or at the B&B. The fabled midges were encountered just a couple of times briefly, so the Smidge was seldom used. Weather was perfect: changeable! It was cool enough for hiking, cloudy enough for some dramatic skies to complement the land and water, with a few drops of rain once in a while so we felt justified being prepared for it, and sufficient sun to feel on top of the world. Transport service was great. We even had a busking piper piping us into Inverness Castle grounds. Perfect.
Accommodation and Food
B&Bs were excellent. We walked into Spean Bridge, but were kindly taken down to the locks in the morning. We were quite tickled to stay over at the Bank of Scotland in Fort Augustus. We were especially well treated at Kilmore Farmhouse where breakfast included home made bircher and packed lunch included home-baked treats. You have a good line up of B&Bs, or perhaps everyone along the way is marvellous to travellers.
Your Guide
Ours was a self-guided walk. We were especially delighted with the clear descriptions in the dossier and in the route information. I carried the map and Susan carried the route description. We paused for a reading from it periodically, so that we had read it all by the end of the trail. It was a valuable addition to the experience.
The Bottom Line
The Great Glen Way is clearly very well served by all communities along it. Very friendly, helpful, and apparently enjoying living in and sharing one of the the best places on earth for having just the right mix of civilization, amenities, nature and "wilderness" (not quite.like our Canadian wilderness, but more welcoming for the difference).

by Tinsley Webster 10/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
David Russell was our adventure consultant, and he was so very helpful. His emails and our phone conversations were always cordial and informative. We also worked with others on the Wilderness Scotland team in advance of our trip. The materials they sent--maps, detailed itineraries--arrived promptly and took all the guesswork out of our travel preparations. A high bar has been set: any vacation-planning company we work with in the future will either be Wilderness Scotland or have to live up to the standard set by Wilderness Scotland. Neither my husband nor I are great planners, but working with Wilderness Scotland meant we didn't have to be! Holidays should always be this effortless!
Trip Comments
After ten years of marriage, my husband and I had resigned ourselves to the fact that we don't travel well together. Normally, we get along swimmingly and are so in sync that we sometimes joke about having the same brain. But add an international flight, a few nights in a hotel, the odd tourist attraction, and we are reduced to miserable wretches. After careful analysis, we've decided the reason: we don't want the same things in a holiday. I like a slow pace, he runs at full throttle; I'm a cautious eater, he'd eat insects off of sticks--the differences abound. This year, we decided to give a shared holiday one final go. Both of us have always wanted to see Scotland, and since we love to hike, I thought it might be fun to try a walking holiday. Neither of us is much good at planning complicated trips, so I was delighted to discover Wilderness Scotland while Googling. Here's a company that arranges everything, from start to finish, and all we'd need to do is get ourselves to Scotland and be sure to pack everything on the handy list we were sent. (A list! It was a propitious start!)

The first night, we stayed in a castle. A *castle.* They gave us complimentary slippers and a million-course meal that was so delicious, I was compelled to abandon my general rule against eating duck. That first night we began a joyous ritual: taking photographs of ourselves in front of windows, atop hill summits, along the shores of lochs, always with the same expression--something between adoration and bafflement. As if we were saying, "Are you kidding me with all this green, Scotland?!" There's a series of shots that show us pointing to every waterfall we saw on the way from Gairlochy to Laggan, and it's clear that we're thinking, "How can there be *this* many waterfalls, Scotland?!" We have several snaps of shaggy Highland cows, surely the greatest animals that ever roamed, and we made up a song in their honor, set to the tune of the Ballad of Paladin. ("Shaggy cow, shaggy cow, where do you graze...")

We ranked our meals at each hotel and B&B and debated which offered the tastiest scones and tea. We ate so much, we worried we wouldn't be able to wear our hiking pants by the time we got to Inverness. We picnicked in our rain gear and outsmarted the midges. We outlined the novel we'll write one day, about a lock-keeper who solves Highland mysteries, and wondered why we never learned to play the bagpipes. We got blisters and didn't care because we were too busy hunting for the elusive pine marten.

This was more than a holiday; it was a revelation. My husband and I discovered that not only can we travel together, we can also have the best holiday of our lives together. I can't help but conclude that Scotland--its vistas, culture, hospitable hosts, feasts, even it's cows--has some kind of bewitching power that can turn the hearts of fractious travelers, so they want nothing more than to love everything and everyone. We were so filled with joy and bonhomie, that by the time we boarded the plane, we wished we were Scots and could stay forever. Since that's unlikely, we're grateful to have our photographs...and about 50 pounds-worth of Highland cow souvenirs...to keep us happy. Thank you, Wilderness Scotland.
Accommodation and Food
I gained five pounds. I was walking 10 miles a day, and I still gained five pounds. There really can't be any improvement on the food. And the produce...I didn't realize that I'd never truly tasted strawberries until I went to Scotland. Is there any way we could have meals shipped overseas to us from Old Pines? Does the Lovat Hotel in Fort Augustus have a scone-of-the-month club? Does Wilderness Scotland offer teleportation from the US to the Rocpool Restaurant in Inverness? I'm gaining weight just remembering all the glorious food.
Your Guide
We didn't have a guide--except the Rucksack Reader and printed instructions on our itinerary, which were both wonderful. Once we figured out that the blue signs denoted the Great Glen Way, we didn't even need instructions on the trail. The only day we wondered if we were on the right path was when we arrived in Fort Augustus. We couldn't quite figure out where the hotel was (The Lovat) from our printed instructions. But I attribute that to feeling famished more than anything else, and besides, it meant we got to sightsee in Fort Augustus. No complaints there. On the whole, the instructions were excellent.
The Bottom Line
We've already told everyone we know to plan their vacation with Wilderness Scotland. Our only disappointment is that we can't hire a Wilderness Scotland adventure consultant to plan our lives for us--we've never been as organized or prepared as we were for this holiday. And we've never experienced such a joyful holiday; we did nothing but walk through the most magnificent countryside, eat the most scrumptious meals, and stay at the most comfortable hotels. Every aspect of the trip was carefully, and thoughtfully arranged. No hitches, no guesswork, no worry. Just sheer delight. As for the Great Glen Way, if we could move into one of the cottages we saw along the way, and never have to worry about immigration laws or leaving our families behind, we would do it. Somewhere on the path overlooking Loch Ness, just outside of Fort Augustus, we decided that Scotland is unequivocally the most beautiful place in all the world. It's highly probable that we may never vacation anywhere else. What would be the point?

by Sue McDermott 29/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
David did a great job on the initial coordination. Chantal was prompt answering questions as the time came closer.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Great B&B choices!!
Your Guide
Route notes were great. We still managed to take some wrong turns but that was our fault...
The Bottom Line
Loved the trip! We are already planning the next one. We definitely would take a couple of extra days on any route planned.

by Joseph Rayball 29/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I think your company displays outstanding customer service skills. There were no issues for us to deal with and everything went smoothly. You provided a lot of information that was valuable to us on our trip.
Trip Comments
We liked The Westhighland Way and the Great Glen Way that we are now planning to return and enjoy your Spayside Way hike.
Accommodation and Food
Some hosts are fantastic hosts. They made us feel welcomed. The food was great because you can't have a bad meal when you are hiking all day. Each breakfast was presented a little differently and that was fun to experience.
Your Guide
Guide note distances did not seem to be accurate. We always added to the estimate because that is what we experienced. There were only two legs that we reached our destination in shorter time than anticipated. Adding street names to the directions to the B&Bs would be helpful.
The Bottom Line
Wilderness Scotland is an outstanding company that reflects the warm and friendly people of Scotland. We are looking forward to a future hiking trip and tailoring it to our itinerary and time frame.

by Elizabeth Bransky 15/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
David and Julie were great. We had changes as we added a hiker after original arrangements were made and they rose to the occasion. The BnBs were lovely with welcoming hosts all around.
Trip Comments
Very good. Some instructions were a little confusing and would have appreciated notes on mileage left to get to some accommodations. Overall all was good and we had a grand time. Slept well, ate well and very helpful hosts at BnBs.
Accommodation and Food
Very knowledgeable hosts and just lovely accommodations. Food was good all around.
Your Guide
As I stated previously. Some of the end of day notes were a little confusing. More detailed info regarding distances to accommodations were needed in some places. In Drumnadochit we didn't realize we needed to contact ride to and from Blackfold until night before but we got Mr Simpson and he did get things set up for us. Very nice gentleman and his wife picked us up at Blackfold. She was great.
The Bottom Line
We would absolutely recommend Wilderness Scotland to others. We had a great adventure through truly magnificent countryside. We will be carrying these memories with us forever.

Trip Details

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.

Since it opened in April 2003, the Great Glen Way has quickly gained popularity as hikers discover the beautiful scenery along the route. Being less busy and slightly easier than the West Highland Way, it also attracts hikers who prefer a more peaceful or less challenging experience.

The Way begins in Fort William, beneath the slopes of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You will then journey north-east through spectacular scenery and past Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and of course Loch Ness, before finishing in the capital of the Highlands, Inverness.

Additional Nights Accommodation: Some people prefer to split Day 7, which covers 29km, into two shorter days. Do let us know at the time of booking if you would like to do this. Taking this option would add £65 per person, or £100 with upgraded accommodation.

Upgraded Accommodation:

  • Upgraded accommodation plus a stay at 5 star Rocpool Reserve in Inverness for your final night: total cost £1090 per person
  • Upgraded accommodation plus a stay at 5 star Inverlochy Castle for your first night and Rocpool Reserve for the final night: total cost £1273 per person.

Trip Itinerary – Great Glen Way

Day 1 – Arrive 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.

Day 2 – Fort William – Gairlochy

The first day’s hike on the Great Glen Way takes you from Fort William, past the canal locks of Neptune’s Staircase and north along the canal to the tiny village of Gairlochy. The views are dominated by the mass of Ben Nevis which reveals its craggy north face from this aspect. (B)

Distance 17km

Day 3 – Gairlochy – South Laggan

The route follows the western shoreline of Loch Lochy as it continues north-east to the village of South Laggan. Loch Lochy is the first of the three main lochs you pass on the Great Glen Way. (B)

Distance 21km

Day 4 – South Laggan – Fort Augustus

The routes continues along the canal and past the swing bridge at Laggan to Loch Oich, the second of the three main lochs in the Great Glen. The trail follows the east bank of Loch Oich then joins the canal side at the north end of the loch and follows it to the pretty village of Fort Augustus. (B)

Distance 19km

Day 5 – Fort Augustus – Invermoriston

This short day take you past the halfway point of the Great Glen Way and gives the legs a chance to recover as you enjoy the first views of Loch Ness. The trail hikes along the north-west shore of Loch Ness to the village of Invermoriston. (B)

Distance 15km

Day 6 – Invermoriston – Drumnadrochit

The trail continues along the side of Loch Ness but rises high above the banks as it passes the settlement of Bunloit before dropping down to Drumnadrochit. This village is located close to Urquhart Castle and an early finish will ensure there is enough time to visit the castle, which is said to be a favourite spot for Nessie to reveal herself! (B)

Distance 23km

Day 7 – Drumnadrochit – Inverness

The final day climbs up from the banks of the loch then descends north-east towards Inverness and the sea beyond. The final few miles are along the banks of the River Ness before the trail finishes in the heart of the city, next to Inverness Castle. (B)

Distance 32km

On reaching Inverness, you will have trekked 117km (73 miles), traversing 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!

Day 8 – Inverness and depart

After a leisurely breakfast, you may have time to explore Inverness, perhaps visiting its castle, before departing. (B)

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Price from: £695

Duration: 7 night(s)

No. of Travellers:   Date:

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 4

62 review(s)

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
The entire experience surpassed our expectations. It was well organized and the accommodations were great. We would suggest that more trail markers are along the trail. This woukd make it a bit easier to navigate and also a confirmation that you are indeed on the designated route. Sometimes it would be nice to have a distance marker as well,so you know how much farther your walk will be to your final destination each day. We do acknowledge that this may not be in your power.

Edna Colville
08/10/2017

5

We had an excellent trip, and Wilderness Scotland was a key part of this. Thank you for making our trip awesome.

George Pickavet
26/09/2017

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 62 review(s) of Self Guided – The Great Glen Way

5 star 56

4 star 5

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

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