Book with confidence for 2021

Affric Kintail Way
Self-guided trekking holiday

Key information Summer 2021

Start: Drumnadrochit near Inverness
End: Morvich in Kintail
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sept 2021
Length: 4 days' trekking
Typical walk: 18km, 415m ascent
Total distance: 71km, or 44 miles
Highest altitude: 345m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

Walk the length of Scotland’s most beautiful glen, from ancient Caledonian Pinewoods around Loch Affric to the towering mountains of Kintail on the West Coast. Step back in history as you follow ancient drover routes, pass historical settlements and find a warm welcome and comradeship at the remote Glen Affric Youth Hostel.

Considered as one of Scotland’s finest long-distance walks, the Glen Affric Kintail Way is still somewhat of an insider tip. Officially opened in 2015, the 4-stage trek crosses from Drumnadrochit, on the shores of famous Loch Ness, to Kintail where it ends near Loch Duich on the seashore. The 44 miles in between are packed with some of the most stunning and remote scenery the Highlands have to offer. Leave the busy roads behind and walk on gentle forest tracks and ancient drovers’ paths as you pass native woodlands, steep mountainsides, cascading waterfalls and fascinating wildlife – keep your eyes for ospreys, otters and red deer!

Enjoy Scottish hospitality in B&Bs and inns along the way, as well as your stay at Glen Affric Youth Hostel. The friendly eco-hostel is only accessible on foot or by mountain bike and is the closest you’ll get to an alpine hut in Scotland! We plan it all for you and give you our detailed routecards, maps and lots of local information. All you have to do is walk!

Walk at your own pace on a self-guided trip, or please email us for details of walking with a leader.

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different Scottish trip? Why not try one of these:
Great Glen Way - 6 stages, 7 nights
West Highland Way - 7 stages, 8 nights
Hebridean Way - 12 stages, 13 nights
Make the trip shorter
As accommodation options along the Affric Kintail Way are fairly limited, it is difficult to make individual stages longer. If you only have 4 nights to hand, it might be an idea to skip the first stage and start your walk directly in Cannich. You would then still walk the entirety of Glen Affric, but save one night.

Make the trip longer
Due to the limited accommodation options along the Affric Kintail Way, the length of the individual stages is difficult to adapt. It is however possible to add additional stages to your holiday. For a spectacular Coast to Coast trek, why not start in Inverness and walk to Drumnadrochit before starting with our Stage 1? Or add on one of our Mountain Days (see below). Please ask us for details.

Additional Mountain Days
Although not included in your Alpine Exploratory walking holiday, you might be keen to bag some of Scotland’s famous Munros or simply adding a mountain day to enjoy views down the Glen. In that case, we would recommend staying an extra day in either Glen Affric Youth Hostel or Morvich for one of the following hikes. Please ask us for more information.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs.
Affric Kintail Way (Self-guided)
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
3 stages
(4 nights)

Please ask us
GBP 420
Singles 160
GBP 640
Singles 210
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask us
GBP 490
Singles 185
Main Trip
GBP 720
Singles 240
5 stages
(6 nights)
Please ask us
GBP 560
Singles 210
GBP 800
Singles 270
Private guided
4 stages
(5 nights)
Group of 4 or more
Please ask us
GBP 990
Singles 210
Please ask us
4 stages
(5 nights)
Group of 1, 2 or 3
Please ask us
Baggage transfer
All stops (except hostel)
Please ask us
Baggage transfer
Please ask us

Where we stay
Our standard schedule of accommodation uses a mix of comfortable and welcoming inns and B&Bs for 4 nights of your trip. Breakfast is included during these stays and we book ensuite rooms whenever possible. As there is no accommodation at the end of Stage 3, we will transfer you back to Cannich for a second night. The highlight of the trip is your stay at Glen Affric Youth Hostel on your fourth night. The friendly eco-hostel is only accessible on foot or by mountain bike and is the closest you’ll get to an alpine hut in Scotland! Because of its remote location, provisions are limited and guests are asked to bring their own sleeping bags, torch, as well as food and drink for dinner, breakfast and lunch the following day. We would usually secure dormitory places, but can try for private rooms if you prefer.

We book accommodation as close to the route as possible but sometimes it might be necessary to transfer by bus or taxi to and from your next B&B or hotel. Your info pack contains full details of your accommodation including contact details and directions.

For a touch of luxury whilst you trek, our ‘Comfy’ option would upgrade your accommodation on 4 nights. For example, in Drumnadrochit you'd stay in a hotel rather than a B&B. We'd also swap your accommodation in Cannich for a hotel just off-route in Tomich, and upgrade your accommodation in Morvich at the end of your walk. We will do our best to secure a private room at Glen Affric Youth Hostel. If you'd like more information, please do just ask!

If you are interested in a more basic option, we can opt for hostels and bunkhouses on 3 nights of your trek. We would book the SYHA Glen Affric as per our standard itinerary, but you would also be able to stay at a hostel in Drumnadrochit and a hostel in Ratagan (which would add another 2 miles to your final walking day). Please ask if you would like more details.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.
Stage 3: Navigating at Dog Falls

Our approach to the Affric Kintail Way
The Affric Kintail Way is a relatively new walk, officially opened in 2015. Our trip gives a complete journey on foot from Drumnadrochit on the shores of Loch Ness, to Morvich in Kintail, near the west Highlands seaboard. You will be staying in comfy inns and B&Bs as close to the route as possible, with the highlight of the trip your night at Scotland’s remotest youth hostel in the heart of Glen Affric. Every year we recce and update our routecards to inform you of any changes over the winter.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2021 research on the Affric Kintail Way will be led by Pete Ellis in May

The Terrain
The Affric Kintail Way follows tracks and footpaths throughout, although they can be wet under foot or indistinct at times. The terrain is varied and comprises of hill tracks, narrow mountain paths, riverside trails as well as forest tracks, minor roads and tarmac as you approach villages. Some of the ascents and descents are steep and on rough ground but the paths are usually in good condition which makes the going as easy as possible. Please note that section of Stage 1 - from Corrimony to Cannich - is on public road, and extra care is required. A re-routing of this road section is planned, and will hopefully be usable in 2021. The trail is waymarked with the Affric Kintail Logo on finger posts, but it is advisable that at least one party member is competent to navigate with map and compass.

Is it for me?
The Affric Kintail Way makes a delightful trek for normal fit walkers who are happy to walk for between 5 to 7 hours per day along a long-distance trail. In only a few days, this walk showcases one of Scotland’s loneliest and most scenic glens, all while keeping the terrain relatively easy to walk and navigate. The Affric Kintail Way will suit walkers who value remoteness and authentic wilderness over cafes and souvenir shops along the road. This however also requires some planning ahead of where to buy food, as well as carrying your sleeping bag (or liner) and provisions for your night at the Glen Affric Youth Hostel.

The challenge of the Affric Kintail Way lies in the remoteness of the trail and the weather which might change significantly even over short sections of the trail. After leaving Cannich the terrain becomes increasingly remote; the upper reaches of Glen Affric being amongst the most isolated in the Highlands. On Stage 3 and 4 there are no refreshment stops and no options of shortening or skipping the stages in case of bad weather or injury. Some of the ascents and descents are steep and require sure-footedness in places, particularly in windy or rainy conditions.

How to get there

Travelling through Inverness

Your holiday starts in Drumnadrochit, Southwest of Inverness, and ends in the hamlet of Morvich, a mere 10km from Scotland’s famous Eilean Donan Castle. Drumnadrochit is easily reached by bus from Inverness or Fort William, both of which connect to Glasgow or Edinburgh by wonderfully scenic train rides. At the end of your trek, you can either get a bus or train back to Inverness, Fort William or Glasgow or onwards to the Isle of Skye. Why not take some time to either hire a car or continue by foot or public transport to discover Scotland’s Highlands and Islands? Please do ask us if you would like to know more about this.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast on 4 out of 5 mornings on our standard itinerary
  • Taxi transfer between Cannich and River Affric on Stage 2 and 3
  • Detailed Routecards AKW1-4 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • 1 topographical maps of the route
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Breakfast at Glen Affric Youth Hostel (please bring your own)
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

We can offer baggage service for all nights except the Glen Affric Youth Hostel. Please ask us for details if you are interested.

Booking form - Affric Kintail Way

Your holiday

Arrival day

First walking day

Departure day

Your party

Please add any more people in the Comments box below.
If you are adding to an existing booking, please give the main contact's details and just the new people. Thanks.

Number of people in your group

Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Contact details

Address and post/zip code (For the delivery of your pack)

Email address

Telephone (Mobile)

Telephone (Home)

Party's details

Medical conditions relevant to a walking holiday?
(Please tell us in confidence. Thank you.)

Vegetarians, special diets or allergies?

Room types?

Baggage transfer

Baggage transfer?

Differences from the normal trip

Differences if any (extra nights, comfy or hutty mix, fewer rest days, etc.)?

Party's walking experience

Please may we ask for details of everyone's experience?
Especially helpful are names of trails, national parks, peaks or regular hikes. Thank you.

Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Please add any more people in the Comments box below. Thanks.

Emergency contact

Please tell us about a friend or relative who we can contact in the event of emergency during your holiday.


Telephone number

Relationship to you

Comments or questions?

Please ask any questions or tell us anything else:

Optionally, to help us

Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!

If a friend recommended us may we ask who it was? We might send a thank you!

Check and submit

We will reply to your booking form with a confirmation email giving the details of your balance and deposit amounts.
We'll send you instructions to pay your deposit by card, bank transfer, or cheque.
Your deposit will be 20% of the cost of your trip with a minimum of GBP 200 per person.
Your balance is due 8 weeks before your trip and we'll email you with a reminder.

Terms and Conditions
By submitting this form you confirm that you have read and agreed to Alpine Exploratory's Terms and Conditions (PDF).
In particular, as the main contact you confirm that:
+ Everyone in the group has read and agreed to the T&Cs.
+ Everyone in the group has the fitness and experience for the trip.
Please ask us if you have any questions. Thank you.

Got questions about the Affric Kintail Way?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Hannah W, Hannah G, or Nicky will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

Affric Kintail Way enquiry form

Your name

Your email address

Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!

Your intended arrival date on the Affric Kintail Way? (This helps us give you an idea of availability and doesn't need to be exact)

How many people will you be?

Any questions or preferences?

If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!

Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
Australia 02 8319 2266
Canada 416-548-4819
Hong Kong 25 803 0282
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

  Approaching Glenlicht House on Stage 4    Photos from the Affric Kintail Way

Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.

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