(Great Glen Way) Sunset over Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
GREAT GLEN WAY (SELF-GUIDED)   6 stages . 7 nights . Scottish Highlands   Booking

Great Glen Way
Self-guided trekking holiday


+ Link two centres in the Scottish Highlands
+ Easy terrain and gentle ascents
+ Expert research and planning for your ideal trek

Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 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 an outdoors town on the West Coast with Scotland's city in the Highlands.

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 but a fitting finish to the trek. After days in the countryside, find yourself walking through riverside gardens into a bustling town centre.

This holiday covers the whole route from Fort William to Inverness, missing out nothing. We can also move your baggage between stops, as an extra, to reduce your load. Logistics on the Great Glen Way are quite manageable and you are never too far from civilisation.

Your accommodation along the Great Glen Way is a good mix of guesthouses and B&Bs, with a characterful inn and a comfy small hotel. We love to book our clients into places with warm welcomes and excellent standards.


Map


Map showing the route of UK Exploratory's Great Glen Way self-guided walking holiday

Prices


Alpine Exploratory
GGWsg Great Glen Way (Self-guided)
13 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
per person
Hutty Classic Comfy
Popular schedules
7 stages
(8 nights)

Please ask 650
Singles 200
80 per dog
720
Singles 240
80 per dog
6 stages
(7 nights)

Please ask 590
Singles 175
70 per dog
650
Singles 210
70 per dog
Specialised schedules
5 stages
(6 nights)

Please ask 530
Singles 150
60 per dog
580
Singles 180
60 per dog
4 stages
(5 nights)

Please ask 470
Singles 125
50 per dog
510
Singles 150
50 per dog
Options
Baggage transfer 70

Itinerary

Here is our normal schedule of 6 stages:


Arrival day: Arrive in Fort William
Your trip starts on arriving at your guesthouse in Fort William. Enjoy the high street with its shopping. The town has a good choice of restaurants.
Guesthouse in Fort William

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy
Blue2 grade, 17.5km with 50m ascent, 30m descent
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.
B&B in Gairlochy

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan
Blue3 grade, 18.5km with 290m ascent, 290m descent
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.
B&B in Laggan

Stage 3: Gairlochy to Fort Augustus
Blue2 grade, 17.5km with 60m ascent, 70m descent
This is a stage of two halves. Loch Oich, the smallest of the three lochs 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 in Fort Augustus

Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston
Blue2 grade, 11km with 210m ascent, 190m descent
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.
B&B in Invermoriston

Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
Blue3 grade, 21.5km with 680m ascent, 710m descent
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.
Inn in Drumnadrochit

Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness
Blue3 grade, 29.5km with 550m ascent, 560m descent
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.
Hotel in Inverness

Departure day: Depart from Inverness
After a last breakfast take the bus or train from Inverness to Glasgow or Edinburgh. You are wonderfully placed to explore the North West Highlands and we'd love to advise. Congratulations on the Great Glen Way!


Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.


Baggage transfer

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.


Options

We can adjust your GGW in various ways, as follows:

Faster treks
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.

Combine with the West Highland Way
Fort William is the end of the WHW and the start of the GGW, though the termini are at opposite ends of town! It's popular to combine the two routes, thus trekking from outside Glasgow all the way to Inverness. We'd suggest one day, perhaps more, using Fort William as a base. The train to Mallaig is a highlight and the walk up Ben Nevis can be made from town.

Take a rest day to visit 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.


The route

Our approach to the GGW
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.

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.


How to get there

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.


Fly to
Glasgow (GLA)
Or fly to Edinburgh (EDI) or Inverness (INV)


Transfer by
4h train or 3h bus


Fort William
Trek 6 days on the
Great Glen Way
Inverness


Transfer by
25m bus


Fly from
Inverness (INV)
Or fly from Edinburgh (EDI) or Glasgow (GLA)


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.


Happy clients

"Everything worked well. Fabulous scenery and of course the brilliant weather helped.

"Everyone was great with the dog. Certainly use this company again."

E, H & B
(Great Glen Way)

Key information Summer 2019

Trip name: Great Glen Way
Guided or self-guided? Self-guided
Trip code: GGWsg
Route: GGW Great Glen Way
(See our background page on the GGW)
(Prefer the West Highland Way?)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups
Length: 6 days' trekking
Start: Fort William in Scotland
End: Inverness in Scotland
Typical walk: 19km, 230m ascent
(Last day 29km, 550m ascent)
Total distance: 112.5km or 70.5 miles
Highest altitude: 382m
Grade: Blue3 (Walking grades)



Prices Summer 2019

Our classic mix of accommodation, per person:

GGWsg 7 stages
GBP 650 (singles 200, dog 80)
Book
Great Glen Way (self-guided)

GGWsg 6 stages
GBP 590 (singles 175, dog 70)
Book
Great Glen Way (self-guided)

GGWsg 5 stages
GBP 530 (singles 150, dog 60)
Book
Great Glen Way (self-guided)

GGWsg 4 stages
GBP 470 (singles 125, dog 50)
Book
Great Glen Way (self-guided)



Research Summer 2019

Ollie Boyd at Alpine ExploratoryAlpine Exploratory's 2019 research on the Great Glen Way will be led by:
Ollie Boyd in April

Recces 2019

A typical forest path on the Great Glen Way, here above Loch Ness
GGW forest path (Photo gallery)


Alpine Exploratory's service

Accommodation
7 nights, staying in:
B&Bs and guesthouses (5)
Small hotel (1)
Inn (1)

Included
Accommodation and itinerary
Breakfasts
Expert and unlimited advice
Routecards GGW1-6 of the Exploratory system
Maps and local information

Season for self-guided treks
13 May to 15 September 2019
3 May to 18 September 2020
Trek on your ideal dates

A Highland cow beside the Caledonian Canal near Fort Augustus
A Highland cow (Photo gallery)



Find out more

About our walking holidays Our FAQs page covering equipment, weather, insurance and more about how our trips work

Walking guides Our GGW background page

Contact us or use this form:


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Alpine Exploratory
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