🦠 Our Covid-19 information page

Great Glen Way
Self-guided trekking holiday


Key information Summer 2020

Start: Fort William in the Highlands
End: Inverness in Scotland
Length: 6 days' trekking
Typical walk: 19km, 230m ascent
Total distance:112.5km or 70.5 miles
Highest altitude: 382m
Grade: Blue 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

Hike along Scotland’s Great Glen, a natural faultline nearly splitting Scotland in two from coast to coast. The route follows the Caledonian Canal through stunning glens, ancient pine forests and past the picturesque Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness.

The Great Glen Way offers a super introduction to hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Beginning in Fort William, adventure capital of Scotland, with impressive views of Loch Linnhe and Ben Nevis, the walks starts gently, keeping to low level paths and canal towpaths. The route continues along the shores of 3 picturesque lochs; Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the iconic Loch Ness. The difficulty builds towards the end of the trip and sections of higher terrain offer superb views down to the sparkling lochs below; a highlight of the trip! Finish by walking through scenic riverside gardens and into the bustling town centre of Inverness, capital of the Highlands.

Our self-guided holidays can be started on any day within our season and you are welcome to hike at your own pace and in your own way. Experience the best highland hospitality in our mix of comfy hotels and friendly B&Bs and add on baggage transfers to reduce your load. A climb of Ben Nevis or a day trip to Skye make super additions to the trip.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style of trip? Why not try one of these:
Guided Great Glen Way - walk the trail with one of our guides
Options
Make the trip shorter
For walker’s up for a more challenging hike of the Great Glen Way a 4 or 5 stage schedule is possible. For 5 stages combine walk from Laggan directly to Invermoriston, giving a 26km day with 230m ascent and descent. To shorten the route further still to a 4-stage trip, walk from Fort William to Laggan in 1 day. This is a long start to the trip, with 35km, 210m ascent and 160m descent.

Make the trip longer
The 6-stage Great Glen Way suits many trekkers but the last stage is quite long, 29km to Inverness. 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, or even - at a push - 4 stages.

An Extra Night in Fort William
Add an extra night in Fort William at the start to climb Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain! At 1,344m this is ascent is harder than the Great Glen Way but is a fitting addition to the trek. (Please note we can book extra accommodaitonto for your ascent but we don't provide a routecard and the hike would be under your own steam.)

Take a Visit to Skye
At Invermoriston, take a rest day and catch the coach to Skye. We can advise on possibilities. 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.


Eilean Donan Castle on the road to Skye
Prices
Great Glen Way (Self-guided)
3 May to 18 October 2020
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 650
Singles 175
70 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 870
Singles 210
70 per dog
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 720
Singles 200
80 per dog
GBP 870
Singles 240
80 per dog
Specialised schedules
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask
GBP 510
Singles 125
50 per dog
GBP 630
Singles 150
50 per dog
5 stages
(6 nights)
Please ask
GBP 580
Singles 150
60 per dog
GBP 710
Singles 180
60 per dog
Options
Baggage transfer
All stops
GBP 70 per bag
Baggage transfer
Direct
GBP 40 per bag


Accommodation
Where we stay
Your accommodation along the Great Glen Way is a good mix of guesthouses and B&Bs, with the occasional characterful inn and comfy small hotels. We love to book our clients into places with warm welcomes and excellent standards. We’ll book a private room every night and an ensuite room where there is availability. In the small village of Gairlochy we book accommodation down the road in Spean Bridge. Your host will pick you up from Gairlochy and drop you back the following morning.

Comfy
The accommodation on the Great Glen Way offers lots of options for choosing comfier option. For our normal ‘comfy’ option we upgrade your accommodation on 5 nights. Dinner is included at the guesthouse-restaurant in Spean Bridge and in Fort William, Fort Augustus, Invermoriston and Inverness we use comfier hotels. This is a great way to complete the Great Glen Way in style, but if you would prefer something with even more luxury, please contact us for more options.

Hutty
Please contact us for details of hiking the Great Glen Way using more basic accommodation. We can book hostels in Fort William, Laggan, Drumnadrochit and Inverness.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the additional cost of booking a single room on every night, rather than 2 people sharing a room.

Bring your dog
For clients walking with a dog we will book dog-friendly accommodation along the route. There is sadly no dog friendly accommodation in Laggan so we book 2 nights in Fort Augustus and use a taxi to take you from Laggan to Fort Augustus and back the following morning. We will book and pay for the taxis. For a Comfy trip the options for upgrading dog-friendly accommodation is a little more limited, though we can upgrade your accommodation in Fort William and for both nights in Fort Augustus. If you’d like to book a comfy dog-friendly trip please email us to ask for more details.

Route
Canal Towpaths on the Great Glen Way

Our approach to the Great Glen Way
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. Then follows 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.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2020 research on the Great Glen Way will be led by Rachel Law in May


The Terrain
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.

Is it for me?
The Great Glen Way will suit most walkers used to multi-day treks, walking perhaps 5-7 hours a day over the course of 6 days. The emphasis is on steady completion of miles, not so much on difficult terrain. The Great Glen Way offers fine views over the more remote Scottish landscapes but doesn’t go out into the wilder terrain. Navigations is among the more straightforward of any of our routes, with signposts at key junctions, making it a good first long-distance walk.

Difficulty
The Great Glen Way is not technically difficult, with no climbing, via ferrata, ladders or any other hazards other than walking. The walking, can be muddy, rocky or rooty especially through any temporary diversions, but it is always purely walking, and is more moderate than our other trips.

   For an even more detailed read, please see our Great Glen Way Walking Guide
How to get there

View from Edinburgh Castle, a good start or end point for the Great Glen Way


Your holiday starts in the West Highland resort of Fort William and ends in Inverness, the largest town in the Highlands. Both Fort William and Inverness have good bus and rail connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh. To save an overnight, sleeper trains link both Fort William and Inverness with London and the North West of England. If flying we suggest Glasgow at the start and Inverness at the end.

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.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Detailed Routecards GGW1-6 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 3 topographical maps needed
  • 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
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Our baggage option on the Hebridean Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception and it will arrive at your next accommodation. Baggage transfers are GBP 70 for drops to all your accommodation, or GBP 40 for direst transfers from Fort WIlliam to Inverness.

Booking form for the Great Glen Way
2020 and 2021

Your dates

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?


Dogs?


Please could we ask your dogs' type (breed or size?) Thanks


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.

Name


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


Payment
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 Great Glen Way?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Hannah, Steph, Hannah, 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.


Great Glen 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 Great Glen 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
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
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.

  Hiking above Loch Ness    Photos from the Great Glen 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.

About us