Book with confidence for 2021
Affric Kintail Way
Affric Kintail Way
4 stages . 5 nights

Affric Kintail Way
Self-guided trekking holiday

Key information Summer 2021 and 2022

Start: Drumnadrochit near Inverness
End: Morvich in Kintail
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sept 2021 and 1 May to 16 Sept 2022
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

From GBP 490 per person

Walk the length of one of Scotland’s most beautiful glens. The Affric Kintail Way is a relatively short, an relatively new, trail from one side of Scotland to the other. Pass through ancient Caledonian pinewoods around Loch Affric to the towering mountains of Kintail on the West Coast. Follow ancient drover routes, pass historical settlements and find a warm welcome and comradeship at the remote Glen Affric Youth Hostel.

Now considered one of Scotland’s finest multi-day walks, the Affric Kintail Way is still somewhat of an insider tip. Officially opened in 2015, the 4-stage trek crosses from Drumnadrochit, by famous Loch Ness, to Kintail where it ends near Loch Duich on the water front. The 44 miles in between are packed with some of the most stunning and remote scenery the Highlands have to offer to those on a trail. At this level of remoteness we should keep our eyes open for ospreys, otters and red deer.

Enjoy Scottish hospitality in B&Bs and inns along the way, plus the highlight of the remote Glen Affric Youth Hostel. This friendly eco-hostel is only reached on foot or by mountain bike and is a goal of walkers and Munro-baggers.

As a trail of 4 days and 5 nights, we plan it all for you and give you our detailed routecards, maps and lots of local information. 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
Also due to the limited accommodation along the Affric Kintail Way, the length of the individual stages is difficult to adapt. It is however possible to add extra 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 add a mountain day to enjoy views down the Glen. In that case, we would recommend staying an extra night either at Glen Affric Youth Hostel or in Morvich at the end. Please ask us for more information on the usual approach to this Scottish hillwalking, which has unique challenges of navigation, terrain and weather. We would be glad to suggest various routes for you to consider. At the moment we do not offer routecards for these hillwalks but we are happy to give hints.

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 Sept 2021 and 1 May to 16 Sept 2022
Hutty Classic Comfy
3 stages
(4 nights)

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

Please ask
GBP 490
Singles 185
Main Trip
GBP 720
Singles 240
5 stages
(6 nights)

Please ask
GBP 560
Singles 210
GBP 800
Singles 270
Private guided
4 stages
(5 nights)
Group of 4 or more
Please ask
GBP 990
Singles 210
Please ask
4 stages
(5 nights)
Group of 1, 2 or 3
Please ask
Baggage transfer
All stops (not hostel)
Please ask
Baggage transfer
Please ask

Where we stay
Our standard schedule of accommodation is 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 about 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 while you trek, our ‘Comfy’ option upgrades 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. (The hostel is the one night that we can't change!) If you'd like more information, please 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, and 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 is made up 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 a 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 necessary for at least one party member to be 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. For a relatively short trip, we see grand scenery: 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 typical of those isolated and uninhabited Highland glens. On Stages 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 the village of Drumnadrochit, South West of Inverness, and ends in the hamlet of Morvich, 10km from Scotland’s famous Eilean Donan Castle. The simplest travel option to Drumnadrochit is the bus from Inverness, and Inverness itself has an airport (connections from London and throughout the UK) and trains to Edinburgh or Glasgow. From Morvich, take the bus back to Inverness, or down to Fort William, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

If you are able to travel further within Scotland, then Morvich is well-placed for Skye: simply take the bus in the other direction onto Skye. Once at Uig on Skye then the Hebrides are reachable by ferry. Please ask us if you would like to know more about Scotland and the onward possibilities.

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 offer our baggage transfer service for all nights except the Glen Affric Youth Hostel. Please ask us for details if you are interested. Alternatively please ask us about having your luggage sent direct from Drumnadrochit to Morvich ready for your onward travels in Scotland.
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

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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
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.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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  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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