Schraner - Self Guided Great Glen Way

Marie Anna, Tamara, Margrit, Kurt Jakob, Franziska and Edwin

Thursday 23rd May – Monday 3rd June 2024

Number of Travellers: 6
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights

Overview

The Great Glen Way traverses Scotland from west to east, following the Great Glen fault line which almost splits Scotland in two.

Hiking past some of our most beautiful lochs, including Loch Ness, at 117km the Great Glen Way route is one of Scotland’s finest long-distance trails.

The trail begins in Fort William beneath the slopes of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You will then trek north-east through spectacular scenery and past lochs Lochy, Oich and, of course, Loch Ness. The hike becomes more challenging in its second half as the path takes to the hillsides above the loch, but by then you are well warmed up to the hike. You finish the route in the capital of the Highlands, Inverness.

Highlights

  • Traverse Scotland from coast to coast on a rewarding journey through deep glens and past dramatic mountain ranges.
  • Take in the sweeping views across Loch Ness, perhaps catching a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.
  • Enjoy moderate hiking on good trails as you hike from village to village through this spectacular geological fault line.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Thursday 23rd May - Arrive in Fort William

Today you’ll make your own way to Fort William where you’ll spend the night at your first guesthouse of the trip. Tomorrow morning the hike begins!

Overnight: Fort William | Nevis Bank Inn
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Directions Read More +

The easiest directions are from the train station which is adjacent to the bus station. Turn left outside the train station on to the main road. Cross the road at the pedestrian crossing, turn left and continue all of the way along Belford Road passing by the hospital and the Lochaber Leisure Centre until you reach the Nevis Bank Hotel clearly signposted on the right hand side of the road. Alternatively, it is a short, and inexpensive, taxi journey from the train and bus stations.

Day 1 - Fort William Read More +

Fort William sits on Loch Linnhe with the majestic Ben Nevis, at 1344m Britain’s highest mountain, as its backdrop. The town takes its name from the fort that William Prince of Orange built in 1690. Fort William was successfully held by government troops during the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745. However, the surrounding area saw great turmoil. Today, such a bloody past is difficult to imagine and the town is the main centre for visitors to the Western Highlands.

Day 2 - Friday 24th May - Fort William to Gairlochy/ Spean Bridge

The route starts in Fort William and takes you close to Inverlochy Castle, built in the 1200s, then continues to the start of the Caledonian Canal. From here the journey along Scotland’s longest glen and greatest geological fault begins. Following the canal towpath, you travel up Neptune’s Staircase, a ladder of eight locks which give some of the best views of Ben Nevis, and continue along to Gairlochy.

Overnight: Spean Bridge, | Distant Hills
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 17 km / 11 miles

Day 2 - Directions Read More +

Distant Hills is situated in the village of Spean Bridge which is 3 miles/4.75 km from the official stage end, ie Gairlochy locks. Since this is a relatively easy section of the route, you may wish to actually continue your walk into Spean Bridge itself. Alternatively, a transfer service is available from Distant Hills. If a transfer is required (after 1600 hrs) then on your arrival at Gairlochy locks, please telephone Distant Hills and they will be pleased to send transport to transfer you from Gairlochy to Spean Bridge. If you decide to walk into Spean Bridge then your walk along the canal will take you to the canal locks at Gairlochy. Do not continue along the canal but instead turn right and take the small tarmac road (B8004) which winds initially downhill. Simply continue on this road for approximately 2 miles/3.25 km until you reach the Commando War Memorial which sits at the junction of the B8004 and the main A82 roads. At this point, you can either walk down the main A82 road for one mile/1.6 km into Spean Bridge (there is a good pavement) or take the new off-road track which also leads down into Spean Bridge but is longer, ie 2 miles/3.2 km but highly recommended (see the attached map). Once into the village, you will reach a road branching off to the left (sign-posted Roy Bridge). Turn left and walk along the road for 550 yards/500 metres until you reach Distant Hills on the right hand side. The next morning, your patrons will be pleased to transfer you back to Gairlochy locks to continue your walk.

Day 2 - Gairlochy/ Spean Bridge Read More +

Spean Bridge is best known for its historical links with the Allied Commando Training during the Second World War. Thousands of troops came to Spean Bridge to train for war in the surrounding mountains and lochs, based at Achnacarry Castle. A mile north of Spean Bridge on a prominent hillside by the A82 is the world famous Commando Memorial, erected to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served their countries.

Day 3 - Saturday 25th May - Gairlochy/ Spean Bridge to South Laggan & Invergarry

The second day’s walk sticks fairly closely to the west shore of Loch Lochy. It follows mainly quiet, forest tracks with high mountains rising up on both sides of the loch, offering fine views. By the time you reach your accommodation, you will have hiked the length of Loch Lochy.

Overnight: Invergarry, | Glengarry Castle Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 21 km / 13 miles

Day 3 - Directions Read More +

As you approach Invergarry you will reach the end of Loch Laggan. At this point you need to leave the main Great Glen Way route and take the Invergarry Link which breaks away to the left onto the old Great Glen Way Cycle Route. Follow this route for approximately 3.75 miles/6 km and you will start to descend into the hamlet of Invergarry. As you enter Invergarry the Way joins the main A82 road and before the bridge there is a farm track. There is some signage but not visible from the A82, a small blue sign on the left side of the track. Follow the farm track to the Glengarry Castle gatehouse (at this point the River Garry will always be on your left), pass through the gate and carry on for about 200 yards/182 metres until you reach the hotel on your right. Do not walk under the arch. The following morning you will have to retrace your steps back to where you came off the track and then continue north on the Invergarry Link to Bridge of Oich and then back on to the Great Glen Way route into Fort Augustus.

Day 3 - South Laggan and Invergarry Read More +

You will be walking through land owned by the Cameron’s of Lochiel. Nearby is Clunes where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid in a cave for two weeks after his escape from Culloden. South Laggan saw the Clan Battle of the Shirts in 1544 (Gaelic: Blar na Léine, also the Battle of Kinloch-Lochy). The Clan Donald and their allies Clan Cameron fought the Clan Fraser and men from Clan Grant. Legend has it that the day was so hot that both sides threw off their plaids, fighting in their shirts. However, Blar na Léine is merely a corruption of Blar na Leana, ‘the Field of the Swampy Meadow.’

Day 4 - Sunday 26th May - Invergarry to Fort Augustus

You hike along the east shore of Loch Oich, joining the famous Caledonian Canal at the north end of the Loch. This is one of the easier days on the trail so take your time and enjoy the scenery. After leaving Loch Oich behind, you follow the canal to Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness, which stretches into the distance in front of you.

Overnight: Fort Augustus | Inch Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 15 km / 10 miles

Day 4 - Directions Read More +

The Great Glen Way passes through Fort Augustus and for your accommodation follow the way markers through the village to the northern edge. At what used to be the Three Bridges B&B (the bridges are still there!) the Way turns left and up through a wood. Leave the Way at this point and continue straight ahead over the bridge and turn left. Follow this lane for a short distance uphill and to your right until you reach the Inch Hotel.

Day 4 - Fort Augustus Read More +

Fort Augustus is named after King George II’s younger son, Prince William Augustus the Duke of Cumberland, also known as ‘Butcher Cumberland’ as he suppressed and destroyed the highlanders and their clan system. In the aftermath of the final ‘clan’ defeat at Culloden in 1746 Augustus made his headquarters in the fort named after him 25 years earlier. Very little remains of the original fort, parts of which were incorporated into the Benedictine Abbey built in 1876. The monks left in 1998 when they were unable to sustain their community and the abbey. The original Gaelic name of the village was Cille Chumein (the church of Chumein).

Running through the village is the River Oich and the impressive Caledonian Canal and lock system built by Thomas Telford in the early 1800’s. Next to the locks is the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre which gives an insight into the history of the canal. Also in the village is the Clansman Centre where you can learn about clan life 500 years ago.

Day 5 - Monday 27th May - Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Today you will walk along the west side of the world famous Loch Ness. There are two route options – a high and lower level route. Both are the same overall length but the higher one obviously adds more ascent. It also provides some of the best views of the trip above the forest and the loch, stretching on for miles and miles. The higher route is therefore usually preferred, but if you want an easier day you can stay lower down.

Overnight: Invermoriston | Glenmoriston Arms Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 15 km / 10 miles

Day 5 - Directions Read More +

The Great Glen Way will take you down onto the main A82 road. Turn left and simply follow the main road until you reach the Glenmoriston Arms on the left hand side of the road at the junction where the A887 road to Skye joins the A82.

Day 5 - Invermoriston Read More +

Invermoriston dates back to circa 1600 and in the 1640’s a sawmill was in operation processing the surrounding forests for export by boat. The military roads were built along the Great Glen in the 1700’s and passed to the east side of Loch Ness, leaving Invermoriston heavily dependent on water transport. The first roads were built by Thomas Telford in 1813 along the west side of Loch Ness and towards Glen Shiel. This small village is steeped in Jacobite romance, like the legendary Seven Men of Moriston and rebel hero Roderick MacKenzie, killed in 1745 by English Soldiers who mistook him for Bonny Prince Charlie.

The village’s most popular attraction is the old Telford Bridge which crosses the spectacular River Moriston falls. This bridge was part of the main road between Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus. A new bridge was built in the 1930’s and still carries a stream of traffic today.

Day 6 - Tuesday 28th May - Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Today you again have the choice of a high or low level route, however, this only affects the first part of the day. Either way, there is still a fair amount of ascent today. The high level option climbs a hill beside Drumnadrochit, offering superb views again before descending gradually through forest to rejoin the original route. The low option skirts past this hill through forestry. After the paths rejoin you will pass the tiny hamlet of Bunloit – this marks halfway along Loch Ness. From here there is a section along a quiet road before a steep trail descends to Drumnadrochit and day’s end.

Overnight: Drumnadrochit | Loch Ness Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 23 km / 14 miles

Day 6 - Directions Read More +

The latter stages of the route towards Drumnadrochit will take you down the hill past Clunebeg Lodge and onto the main A82 road. Turn left and walk along the road over the bridge and then take the first left after crossing the bridge, ie the last turning on the left before the Esso garage. You will see the Loch Ness Inn clearly signposted thereafter on the left hand side of the road.

Day 6 - Drumnadrochit Read More +

Drumnadrochit lies on the West shore of Loch Ness at the head of Glen Urquhart and is the main centre for Monster watching! The first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was made by Saint Columba in the sixth century and millions of people have visited the Loch since then with the same ambition. There are two exhibitions in the village devoted to Nessie. The centre of Drumnadrochit is very attractive with a village green and a splendid miniature model of Urquhart Castle made from hedges and plants. The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, just south of the town on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen. The castle’s history and that of the noble families, Durward, Macdonald and Grant, is told in the exhibition in the visitor centre.

Day 7 - Wednesday 29th May - Drumnadrochit to Blackfold

Since there is no accommodation at Blackfold, you will be spending two nights in Drumnadrochit with arranged transfers.

Due to the increasing numbers of Blackfold transfers, our transport provider George of Loch Ness Hub Limited is kindly asking clients if they would consider being taken up to Blackfold in the morning and then walking back to Drumnadrochit at a leisurely pace with no deadline (and it is all downhill with braw views). If this is acceptable then you will be uplifted from your accommodation at approximately 0930 hrs and taken up to Blackfold. Unless George hears otherwise then he will assume that this arrangement is acceptable.

However, if this is not suitable then Loch Ness Hub Limited will rendezvous with you at 1600 hrs at Blackfold (but this requires to be booked in advance with at least 24 hrs notice – telephone 01463 832566 or mobile 07711 429616). Directions are then as follows. Approximately 12.25 miles/19.75 km into this stage, you will be walking along a path through thinned out Caledonian Pine. Just before you enter denser woodland you will reach a junction of paths. At this point turn right off the Way and walk down to a minor road and the steadings at Blackfold. This is your rendezvous point with Loch Ness Hub Limited who will take you back to Drumnadrochit for your second overnight stay.

On the morning of your walk to Inverness, Loch Ness Hub Limited will uplift you from your accommodation at approximately 0930 hrs and transfer you back up to Blackfold.

Overnight: Drumnadrochit | Loch Ness Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 20 km / 13 miles

Day 7 - Drumnadrochit Read More +

Drumnadrochit lies on the West shore of Loch Ness at the head of Glen Urquhart and is the main centre for Monster watching! The first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was made by Saint Columba in the sixth century and millions of people have visited the Loch since then with the same ambition. There are two exhibitions in the village devoted to Nessie. The centre of Drumnadrochit is very attractive with a village green and a splendid miniature model of Urquhart Castle made from hedges and plants. The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, just south of the town on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen. The castle’s history and that of the noble families, Durward, Macdonald and Grant, is told in the exhibition in the visitor centre.

Day 8 - Thursday 30th May - Blackfold to Inverness

Loch Ness Hub Limited will uplift you from your accommodation this morning at approximately 0930 hrs and transfer you back up to Blackfold to continue your hike from yesterday.

The last few miles follow the river bank, finishing in the city centre with views across the river to Inverness Castle.

On reaching Inverness today, you will have traversed Scotland from coast to coast along its most natural route, the Great Glen. On arrival in Inverness, settle into your accommodation then decide whether you need an early night, or if it is time to celebrate your success!

Overnight: Inverness | Inverglen Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 12 km / 8 miles

Day 8 - Directions Read More +

From the end of the Way exit the Castle grounds via the gate, turn left and make your way down the hill until you reach a T-Junction taking you on to the High Street. Turn right and walk along the High Street, ignoring turns to the left and right, and the High Street then merges on to Eastgate. Continue along Eastgate and a short distance before you reach the traffic lights on Crown Road, turn right and continue along towards St Stephen’s Street until you reach a turning to the left for Crown Avenue. Walk along Crown Avenue until you reach a turning to the right for Crown Circus. Turn right on to Crown Circus and in a short distance you will arrive at Abertarff Road on your left. Walk up Abertarff Road until you reach Inverglen clearly signposted on the left hand side. Alternatively, you may wish to take a taxi for this short journey by car and taxis are widely available in Inverness City Centre.

Day 8 - Inverness Read More +

Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, became Scotland’s fifth city at the millennium. It lies at the north end of the Great Glen, where the River Ness flows into the Moray Firth. The origins of Inverness lie on its western edge at the now wooded crag of Craig Phadrig. A fortress atop this crag was a capital of the Pictish kings from as early as the 400’s AD. A settlement was established by sixth century AD with the first royal charter being granted in the thirteenth century. In 1727 Fort George was built in the town, a large fortress capable of housing 400 troops. Fort George surrendered to the Jacobites when they took Inverness in February 1746 before their eventual defeat at nearby Culloden in April that year. After the garrison had surrendered the Jacobites laid explosives and destroyed Fort George. The red stone Inverness Castle you see today was built in the 1830s to house courts and administrative buildings.

Day 9 - Friday 31st May - Free Day In Inverness

Today is a free day to explore Inverness at your own pace. Perhaps visit the historic Culloden Battlefield and nearby Clava Cairns, or enjoy a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, or maybe enjoy a boat trip on Loch Ness.

Overnight: Inverness | Inverglen Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Saturday 1st June - Free Day In Inverness

Today is a free day to explore Inverness at your own pace. Perhaps visit the historic Culloden Battlefield and nearby Clava Cairns, or enjoy a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, or maybe enjoy a boat trip on Loch Ness.

Overnight: Inverness | Inverglen Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11 - Sunday 2nd June - Free Day In Inverness

Today is a free day to explore Inverness at your own pace. Perhaps visit the historic Culloden Battlefield and nearby Clava Cairns, or enjoy a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, or maybe enjoy a boat trip on Loch Ness.

Overnight: Inverness | Inverglen Guest House
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 12 - Monday 3rd June - Depart Inverness

After breakfast this morning you can start your journey homeward. On the way home you’ll have time to look back and reflect on a memorable hike across Scotland.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • Accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis in Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts, Small Hotels and Inns on the route
  • Luggage transfer for 1 bag per person for the duration of the trip, meaning you will only have to carry a day rucksack. Strict weight limit of 18kg per bag.
  • Route notes which include a map and full directions to your accommodation.
  • The services of the Wilderness Scotland Team prior to & during your trip.
Notes Read More

LUGGAGE TRANSFER DETAILS

Your door to door luggage transfer service has been organised with Loch Ness Hub Limited. There is no need to contact the company as everything will be arranged for you. However, if you do need to contact them, they can be reached on 01463 832566 or [email protected] (Russell or Katie). Loch Ness Hub have advised that the email is monitored pretty much 24/7 so should be used for any out of hours communications.

Your bags (one per person) will be transported from and to the individual establishments where you are staying. Your bags should be available for collection each morning at around 0930 hrs. Please also note that each bag should weigh no more than strictly 18kg or an additional sum may be levied at the discretion of the carrier. Loch Ness Hub will provide luggage labels that will be attached to your bags once they are collected from your accommodation after your first overnight. Please clearly label your bags with your names for collection on the first morning.

INSURANCE FOR EXPENSIVE ITEMS

Loch Ness Travel has requested that high-value items such as expensive cameras/watches/binoculars and/or fragile electrical items are not carried within the suitcase/rucksack to be transported by Loch Ness Travel.
Although general insurance is in place to cover clothing/footwear etc., it does not cover the above mentioned items so clients should ensure that their own holiday/home insurance provides sufficient cover.

BED & BREAKFAST

Breakfast is included at all stages of your trip.

PACKED LUNCHES

These are not included but can be ordered from most establishments, provided that you order upon arrival. Alternatively, on most days there are cafes, shops or restaurants where you can buy lunch on route. Your accommodation host will be able to advise you on this.

EVENING MEALS

These are not included but are available locally at all stages. We recommend booking your dinner reservations in advance to ensure you get a table.

DIETARY/MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

Please advise the accommodation owners on arrival if you are vegetarian, vegan or have any other special dietary requirements.

ACCOMMODATION BOOKINGS

Since your accommodation has been booked on your behalf by Wilderness Scotland, it may be necessary to quote our name as a reference on arrival at your accommodation.

IMPORTANT – LATE ARRIVALS

Accommodation providers ask walkers to telephone them to advise if they intend to arrive any later than 1800 hrs. Walkers who do not arrive at their intended overnight stop will cause grave concern in respect of safety, so co‐ operation in this matter is greatly appreciated. Contact phone numbers for all of your accommodations are provided in this pack.

CANCELLATION

If you decide that you cannot continue your walk, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can contact the establishments concerned.

CREDIT CARDS

The majority of establishments will accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted but not Diners or American Express).

INSURANCE

Our aim is for you to have the best experience possible whilst in Scotland. We are aware that unforeseen circumstances can be quite challenging so our advice to all of our guests is to take out relevant insurance to help make things less of a challenge if the unforeseen happens.

If travelling from a European country outside the UK your insurance policy should include medical cover, curtailment, sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and personal accident cover. We also strongly recommend you have cover for other travel and personal effects.

If travelling from within the UK, we recommend you are insured for personal sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and any travel insurance you feel appropriate to your needs.

If travelling from further afield, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc it is best to research insurance locally to cover all your travel and medical needs.

WALKING ROUTE NOTES

All routes are undertaken entirely at your own risk. Ensure you are properly equipped with sufficient food, suitable footwear and wind and waterproof outdoor clothing. Take the relevant Map with you and familiarise yourself with the use of a compass and bring this with you at all times. Please leave brief details of your intended route and anticipated return time with your accommodation hosts. Please confirm with them that you have returned safely at the end of your day.

All route timings are calculated on the time we would expect a reasonably fit person to complete the route with minimal stops. Please allow longer if you intend to relax and enjoy the views to the full, or if you feel your fitness levels are lower.

These route notes are intended as helpful guidance only. You should be experienced in reading maps and using a compass prior to undertaking any walks in upland areas or remote coastal locations. You must use your judgment in order to decide whether the suggested daily route is within your capabilities, giving careful consideration to the wind and weather conditions on the day. You are solely responsible for your own safety and well‐being in wilderness areas and you must undertake all walks at your own risk.

While we will do everything we possibly can to assist you in the unfortunate event of any accident or mishap, Wilderness Scotland Ltd will accept no responsibility for any accident or injury sustained during the course of your self‐guided walking holiday.

FARM ANIMALS

A few sections of the Way will take you through farmland and occasionally near farm animals. Farm animals are normally docile creatures and usually only show interest in you if there is food on offer. Please don’t feed the animals. All animals are protective of their young so do not put yourself between a cow and its calf for example.

General rules for safe walking and to avoid distressing farm animals:
• Do not come between animals and their young
• Pass quickly, quietly, carefully and well away from animals
• Stay well away from any farm animal grouping or herd
• Watch the animals as you pass and be alert to any danger
• If you have a dog keep your dog on a leash
• Be prepared for cows to react to your presence especially if you have a dog
• If cows become agitated then calmly get yourself out of danger. If you have a dog let it go and call it to you when you are safe.

Every situation is different so please remember that you are on someone else’s land and if there are farm animals around it is a working environment.
Please refer to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for more information: https://www.nature.scot/sites/default/files/2018-05/Publication%202005%20- %20Scottish%20Outdoor%20Access%20Code.pdf

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you require any assistance or support prior to or during your trip then please contact our office on the details below:
Wilderness Scotland
Dalfaber Drive
Aviemore
PH22 1ST

E‐Mail: [email protected] Tel: +44(0)1479 420020.

The Wilderness Scotland out-of-office hours number is +44 (0)7766 794640.
Please only call this number for things that cannot wait until the office is open again.

Important Additional Information Read More
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.

Get in Touch


Accommodation

Nevis Bank Inn

Belford Road | Fort William | Inverness-shire |
PH33 6BY | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0) 1397 705 721
Web: nevisbankinn.co.uk

Distant Hills

Roy Bridge Road, | Spean Bridge, | Inverness-shire |
PH34 4EU | Phone: +44 (0) 1397 712452
Web: distanthillsspeanbridge.co.uk

Glengarry Castle Hotel

Invergarry, | Highland, |
PH35 4HW | Phone: +44 (0)1809 501254
Web: glengarry.net

Inch Hotel

Fort Augustus | Inverness-shire |
PH32 4BL | Phone: +44 (0)1456 450900
Web: inchhotel.com

Glenmoriston Arms Hotel

| Invermoriston | Inverness-shire |
IV63 7YA | Phone: +44(0)1320 351206
Web: glenmoristonarms.co.uk

Loch Ness Inn

Lewiston | Drumnadrochit | Inverness-shire |
IV63 6UW | Phone: +44 (0)1456 450 991
Web: staylochness.co.uk

Inverglen Guest House

7 Abertarff Road | Inverness |
IV2 3NW | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1463 716 350
Web: inverglenguesthouse.co.uk