+ Gentle trekking in the Scottish Highlands
+ Groups led by Alpine Exploratory's leaders
+ Stride out on forest tracks beside three lochs
Latest news February 2019
Please ask us about a trip during our 2019 season. Thank you.
The Great Glen Way runs for 112.5km (70.5 miles) from Fort William to Inverness. It follows the length of the Great Glen, the obvious geological fault in the Scottish Highlands, linking the outdoors base on the West Coast with Scotland's Highland city.
The route sticks to good tracks and paths, often in forests and alongside the Caledonian Canal, but also running across open moorland. As long-distance paths go, the GGW is one of the easier ones. The terrain is simple and the ascent is moderate, so that the main challenge comes in the distance walked. The last stage to Inverness is the hardest of all, a fitting finish to the trek. After days in the countryside, find yourself walking through riverside gardens into bustling Inverness.
Our groups covers the whole route from Fort William to Inverness, missing out nothing. Our leaders show the way. Logistics on the Great Glen Way are quite manageable and you are never too far from civilisation.
GGWg Great Glen Way (Guided)
13 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
|Options on the scheduled guided trips|
Our main GGW
|Options on a private guided trip|
Our baggage service on the Great Glen Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception.
Where we stay
This holiday stays in a mix of pleasant guesthouses, hotels, bed & breakfasts or inns along the route. We place most value on a friendly welcome, comfortable standards and a good location within the village or town.
We book ensuite accommodation except where it is not available, for example in older buildings or more remote locations.
Your info pack contains full details of your accommodation including contact details and directions.
Combine with the West Highland Way
Fort William is the end of the WHW and the start of the GGW. It's popular to combine the two routes, thus trekking from outside Glasgow all the way to Inverness. Our guided WHW is designed to lead into this guided GGW with a day's rest in Fort William. (The train to Mallaig is a highlight and the walk up Ben Nevis can be made from town.) If you prefer, having done the GGW travel down to Glasgow to tackle the WHW self-guided.
See Skye and more of the Highlands
From Inverness take the coach to Skye. The West Coast of Scotland is quite different to the Great Glen: imagine sea lochs, beaches and small islands. Please ask us for our suggestions if you have time to see more of Scotland.
If you join us as a private group then we can adjust your Great Glen Way in various ways:
Number of stages
The 6-stage Great Glen Way suits many trekkers but the last stage to Inverness is quite long at 29km. Our 7-stage schedule lets us split this. On the other hand, stages can be combined earlier in the trek to make a 5-stage trek possible.
Some nights allow us to book either hostels or much smarter accommodation: please ask us about the possibilities.
Arrival day: Arrival in Fort William
Evening arrival in Fort William. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs in the town centre.
Guesthouse, Fort William
Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy
(17.5km or 11 miles)
A short first day gives chance to explore Fort William and settle into the walk. The route begins by heading West to Caol at the head of Loch Linnhe, before picking up the Caledonian Canal at Corpach. The miles pass easily to the small village of Gairlochy.
Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan
(19km or 12 miles)
Clunes Forest is the main event of this second stage. Terrain is again easy. A mix of lochside path and quiet road takes you to the hamlet of Clunes where the forest track begins. In the course of the day you walk the length of Loch Lochy, the first of three Great Glen lochs.
Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus
(14km or 9 miles)
This is a stage of two halves. Loch Oich, the smallest of the three in the Great Glen, is walked from end to end on a wooded path not far from the shore. Then at Aberchalder follow the Caledonian Canal, the link to Loch Ness at Fort Augustus. Fort Augustus is the largest village between Fort William and Inverness and is a useful and pleasant stop just before the half-way point in the trek.
Guesthouse, Fort Augustus
Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston
(12km or 7.5 miles)
Leave the Caledonian Canal behind, not to be seen again until Inverness, and instead take to the forests on this short day to Invermoriston. Loch Ness is in view below. Invermoriston is a pleasant little village at the foot of Glen Moriston. The Skye road comes in through the glen.
Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
(21km or 13 miles)
This penultimate stage is a good length and covers a mix of forested and open areas. Views above Loch Ness are superb. At Drumnadrochit a detour can be made to Urquart Castle in its fine position on the loch.
Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness
(29km or 18 miles)
A last stage and a grand finale, in terms of distance! The ascent is gentle and the ground underfoot is firm, so the miles to Inverness go quickly. Enjoy the changing landscape and the unfolding views to the North and West, before gaining a view over Inverness and dropping through parks and riverside walkways into the city centre. The route finishes at the city’s castle.
Small hotel, Inverness
Departure day: Departure
Morning departure from Inverness.
This itinerary is typical of our standard 6-day trek staying in a mix of guesthouse, inn, B&B and small hotel accommodation.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip starting. We will book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present you a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Your route follows the official Great Glen Way. Set off from Fort William and pick up the Caledonian Canal, followed as far as Gairlochy. Lanes and forest tracks run beside Loch Lochy to Laggan. Now on the other side of the glen, follow the shore of Loch Oich and pick up the canal again to Fort Augustus. Now three stages with large sections in forests follow, mostly above Loch Ness. Link the villages of Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit before the tough final stage to Inverness.
Each day your leader guides the group along the stage. On some days there is a choice of route; which route we take depends on what people prefer and on the local conditions.
The terrain is a mix of the following and more: Paths in woodland; Wide stony tracks; Paths through fields; Country lanes.
The Great Glen Way runs on good clear paths. For some long stretches of the route, the track underfoot is a double-track old military road or canalside track. At other times you might be walking along narrow forest paths. The route does not climb any mountains, its high point of 382m coming at the summit of a forest track on the last stage.
Compared to other long-distance paths in the UK, the Great Glen Way’s surface underfoot is consistently hard. This means that mud is minimal, but the downside is a pounding for the feet.
Some areas of the Great Glen are heavily forested; during forestry operations the Great Glen Way can be diverted, and in this case the diversion might encounter steeper, rockier ground and less obvious paths.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in Fort William and ends in Inverness. Travel to Fort William and from Inverness is not included in the holiday price - we leave it to you to make the arrangements that suit you best. Fort William and Inverness both have good bus and rail connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Also, sleeper trains link both Fort William and Inverness with London and the North West of England, allowing a day’s travel to be saved.
Your info pack contains full information on travel options. It is possible to leave a car at either your first or last night’s accommodation. If you would like to do this, please let us know.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Great Glen Way
Dates Summer 2019
Scheduled dates 2019
Season for private groups
13 May to 15 September 2019
Please join us on your ideal dates
2020 (Provisional, TBC 1 Oct 2019)
Departures: 10 May 2020
Season: 11 May to 13 September 2020
Research Summer 2019
Inverness from the GGW (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
Find out more
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Our booking form to get things started: