The Great Glen Way: Map, Baggage Transfer, Accommodation, and more!

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The Great Glen Way: Map, Baggage Transfer, Accommodation, and more!
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The Great Glen Way is a long-distance route that starts in Fort William and ends in Inverness, and follows the major natural faultline of the Great Glen which divides Scotland from coast to coast. This extraordinary trail is 79 mi / 127 km long and offers its visitors breathtaking landscapes including lochs, hills, and forests. If you are looking for a gentle walk in Scotland, the Great Glen Way is an excellent option. In this blog post, we will provide you with all the information that you need to complete the Great Glen Way, including a map, the route and stages, accommodation, baggage transfer, camping, and more!

The Great Glen Way starts at the foot of the impressive Ben Nevis and takes you along the coasts of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and the forests above Loch Ness. This route will also guide you through some historical milestones of this turbulent region, past castles, forts, and scenes of some of Scotland’s bloodiest battles. Despite running at lower levels, you can also choose to follow the higher level option of the Great Glen Way between Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit. This higher section offers more dramatic views for a little more effort.

Did you know that we can book all overnight accommodation for the Great Glen Way for you? Check out all our options here.

Distance - How long is the Great Glen Way?

The Great Glen Way runs from south to north, from Fort William to Inverness. The route is 79 miles/127 kilometers long and is traditionally divided into 6 stages:

  • Stage 1, Fort William to Gairlochy: 10.5 mi / 17 km
  • Stage 2, Gairlochy to Laggan Locks: 12.8 mi / 20.7 km
  • Stage 3, Laggan Locks to Fort Augustus: 12.1 mi / 19.5 km
  • Stage 4, Fort Augustus to Invermoriston: 9.2 mi / 14.8 km (High Route: 10.5 mi / 16.9 km)
  • Stage 5, Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit: 14.3 mi / 23 km (High Route: 13.6 mi / 21.9 km)
  • Stage 6, Drumnadrochit to Inverness: 19.88 mi / 32 km

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Best season to walk the Great Glen Way

Contrary to other treks in Europe, like the Alta via 2 in the Dolomites and the Salzburger Almenweg in Austria, where you can only trek during the summer months, you can walk the Great Glen Way all year round. When it comes to the best season to walk the Great Glen Way, the truth is that the weather is pretty much the same, no matter when you go. You can see this as an advantage or a disadvantage. In the Highlands, the weather is always bad. You may even experience all four seasons in one day... and it will certainly rain.

Officially, the best time is during the Summer months, during July and August. During Summer the average temperature rises a little and days are longer. However, during those two months is mosquito season and it can be quite annoying. A more appropriate time would be during Spring, that is from May to June when temperatures are pretty much the same as during Summer, it rains a bit less, and most importantly: there are no mosquitoes.

Best season to walk the Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way Map

The Komoot app is a very useful tool when it comes to planning your trekking adventures. Below you will find a map detailing the 6 stages of the Great Glen Way, starting from Fort William and ending in Inverness:

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Great Glen Way with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Great Glen Fay from Fort William to Inverness - Route and Stages

The Great Glen Way is divided into 6 stages and is 79 mi / 127 km long. The traditional way of walking this route is starting in Fort William and making your way northeast to Inverness. You can do the trek in 6 days or, if you want a more challenging trek, you can combine some of the stages to make a shorter itinerary. Here is the classic 6-day itinerary for the Great Glen Way:

Day
1

Arrival in Fort William

Today you will have to make your way to Fort William. In Fort William, you will spend the night at a hotel preparing for your Great Glen Way adventure.

The Garrison (Fort William)

Info
The Garrison (Fort William)
Day
2

Fort William to Gairlochy

Duration: 05:49 h
Distance: 22.5 km
Ascent: 150 m
Descent: 100 m

Today you will start your Great Glen Way adventure at the Old Fort in Fort William. This first section of the trek is level and smooth. From Fort William you will first skirt the shores of Loch Linnhe and you will then join the Caledonian Canal at Corpach. While trekking along the canal you will come across Neptune's Staircase, the longest flight of locks on the canal. You will also see remnants of the original construction of the canal, like viaducts, original buildings and the hand-operated swing bridge. Follow the Canal towpath to Gairlochy.

It is important to note that Gairlochy has limited accommodation options and no shops. An alternative option is spending the night in Spean Bridge, 4.5 miles away.

Inverour Guest House (Spean Bridge / Gairlochy)

Info
Inverour Guest House (Spean Bridge / Gairlochy)
Day
3

Gairlochy to Laggan Locks

Duration: 07:04 h
Distance: 26.7 km
Ascent: 250 m
Descent: 260 m
Today you will walk along Loch Lochy, one of the 3 major Lochs in the Great Glen. The trail today guides you through small roads and forest tracks. At first, from the Pepperpot Lighthouse, the road follows the southwestern end of the loch. you will walk by the shore for a couple of miles and then you will join the trail near the settlement of Achnacarry. In Clunes, the path leaves the road and follows forest tracks up until the end of the loch. One last short trek takes you to the canal lock gates at South Laggan, where this stage of the Great Glen Way ends.

Great Glen Hostel (Laggan Locks)

Info
Great Glen Hostel (Laggan Locks)
Day
4

Laggan Locks to Invermoriston

Duration: 09:22 h
Distance: 29.1 km
Ascent: 360 m
Descent: 300 m

Today you will walk along the smallest of the Great Glen's lochs, Loch Oich. Today's stage begins on Laggan Avenue, from which you will follow the Caledonian Canal for a short stretch. You will then trek the length of Loch Oich on a section of NCN 78, which is the national cycle route between Oban and Inverness. During your trek, look out for the remains of Invergarry Castle on the opposite shore. Cross the A82 trunk road at Aberchalder Swing Bridge and continue trekking along the canal towpath to Fort Augustus.

After Fort Augustus, the Great Glen Way trail starts to ascend and you have to make a choice: you can either follow the low route through the forest or make a steep climb to reach the high route, which climbs above the tree line and offers great views of the Great Glen.

Leave Fort Augustus and follow the forest trail to the information panel about the high route. On the high route, you will first have to make a steep ascent to get above the tree line. This ascent is about 1 kilometer long. The high route follows a series of ups and downs until the last, steep descent to Invermoriston. The low route, on the contrary, is more level and also offers nice views of Loch Ness. Both routes take you to Invermoriston, where you can find a small village shop, accommodation, cafes, and restaurants.

Craik Na Dav B&B (Invermoriston)

Info
Craik Na Dav B&B (Invermoriston)
Day
5

Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Duration: 07:40 h
Distance: 22.3 km
Ascent: 500 m
Descent: 590 m

Today you will also have to choose the route you will follow. After leaving Invermoriston you will come to another information panel explaining the 2 options. The high route will take you to the highest point of the GGW, at 420m, where you will enjoy breathtaking views of Glen Moriston and Loch Ness. If you change your mind or if you want to experience both options, halfway along the high route there is a shortcut to the low route.

The low route follows an undulating path along the forest. Look out for the Stone Cave, built in the 19th Century as a shelter for a local washerwoman who used to walk this route to the Invermoriston Arms. After a significant climb out of Altsigh the route joins a smaller footpath that takes you to the road at Grotaig. Follow the road down towards Drumnadrochit.

Loch Ness Inn (Drumnadrochit)

Info
Loch Ness Inn (Drumnadrochit)
Day
6

Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Duration: 08:17 h
Distance: 30.4 km
Ascent: 480 m
Descent: 490 m
This is the longest stretch of the Great Glen Way. If you want, you can split it in two and spend the night at Abriachan. Today you will first walk for one mile along the busy A 82 road. You will then follow a winding path through the forest up to Craig Nay and then you will follow the trail to Abriachan. Continue trekking along the road and then onto a forest track. Beyond the forest, you will enjoy a great view of the city of Inverness. Follow the trail downhill through the Ness Islands and along the River Ness to Inverness Castle, the ending point of the Great Glen Way.

Glen Mhor Hotel (Inverness)

Info
Glen Mhor Hotel (Inverness)
Day
7

Departure

After breakfast, our services and your Great Glen Way adventure will be over. Have a safe trip back home!
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Great Glen Way Accommodation

On the Great Glen Way you can either spend the night at a cozy hotel in a small town or camping in one of the several camping sites along the way. The accommodation options, however, can be a bit limited at times. The thing with the Great Glen Way is that the stages guide you through small towns, where sometimes there are only 1, 2, or maybe 3 accommodation options. The Great Glen Way is one of the most popular treks in Scotland and it welcomes thousands of trekkers every year. Arranging the stages and booking the accommodation should not be taken lightly, since the hotels get fully booked months in advance.

Great Glen Way: Camping

Unlike other treks in Europe, like the Alta Via 1 in Italy, where wild camping is not allowed, it is possible to go wild camping during the Great Glen Way, but only if practiced responsibly under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. If you want to find out about the code and the rules that you should follow while wild camping, you can do so here. When it comes to camping, there are also plenty of camping sites along the Great Glen Way where you can find a good place to place your tent and you will also have some basic facilities at your disposal.

How do I get to the trailhead?

The Great Glen Way starts in Fort William and ends in Inverness. The trail is traditionally walked from south to north, although it can be done in the opposite direction.

Starting point

The WHW starts in Fort William. There are direct trains and buses from Glasgow to Fort William. The bus ride takes about 3 hours, while the train is a bit slower and takes almost 4 hours. You can also take a trian or bus from Edinburgh. The ride from Edinburgh to Fort William takes about 5 hours.

Ending point

The trek ends in Inverness. From Inverness you can either take a 2-hour bus drive back to Fort William or travel directly to Glasgow or Edinburgh. The bus and train rides to Glasgow and Edinburgh are direct and take about 4 hours

Baggage Transfer on the Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a very popular trek and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Thanks to its popularity, a big touristic industry has grown around it and there are plenty of services which will make your walk easier and lighter. One of these services is that of baggage transfer. There are several agencies that offer baggage transfers during the Great Glen Way and most of them offer their service for the full trek for about GBP 50,-. The Baggage transfer companies pick up your bags every morning from your hotel and make sure that they are waiting for you at your next stop when you arrive. That way, you can enjoy the trek without any extra weight on your shoulders. Quite convenient, isn't it?

Great Glen Way Cycle

The Great Glen Way is a great route for those who prefer riding a bike to walking. The trails on this route are wide and suitable for bikes. Just as for trekkers, you can choose to do the higher or the lower trail, but of course, the higher route has more difference in altitude, which should be taken into account when planning your trip.

If you are cycling the Great Glen Way, the itinerary will be shorter and it is usually done in 3 days, with overnights stops in the villages of Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit. A 3-day itinerary gives you enough time to stop along the way and visit the different highlights on the route. If you want to take it easier and explore a bit more, you can also choose a 4-day itinerary with overnight stops in Laggan Locks, Invermoriston, and Drumnadrochit.

Once you finish your cycling tour on the Great Glen Way, you will probably have to make your way back from Inverness to Fort William. In that case, you can take a train back to Fort William. ScotRail allows bikes in their wagons and it removes the stress of finding a way to carry your bike back to the starting point of the trek.

Great Glen Way Cycle

West Highland Way and Great Glen Way combined

The Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way are two of the most famous long-distance walking trails in Scotland. If one is not enough, you can very easily combine the two. The West Highland Way happens to end in Fort William, the starting point of the Great Glen Way, which makes them the perfect match for a longer adventure!

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your accommodation and luggage transport, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Great Glen Way, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

Packing List for the Great Glen Way

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Is the Great Glen Way in Scotland safe?

Yes, the Great Glen Way is totally safe. The trails are quite straight forward and there is very little difference in altitude. The biggest challenge during the Great Glen Way is the weather. It is well known that the climate in Scotland isn't the best and chances are that it will rain during your Great Glen Way trek. The key is knowing that it will happen and being prepared for when it does, so make sure to carry a waterproof jacket and an extra pair of socks with you.

When it comes to the direction, the most popular option is walking the route from south to north and ending at Inverness. The signs, however, point in both directions so you can also do it from north to south. The signs are clearly marked with the Great Glen Way logo. The path is perfectly laid out and very well signposted. The Great Glen Way trail is very clear, there is no possibility of getting lost.

Scottish Emergency Number: 999

112 connects to the same services as 999 and works in exactly the same way. Neither number has priority over the other, so you may use either number to reach the emergency services.

Is the Great Glen Way in Scotland safe?

Safety tips for the Great Glen Way

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The Great Glen Way is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the Great Glen Way. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of Great Glen Way and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Great Glen Way.

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where Can I Book the Great Glen Way?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Great Glen Way and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations, organizing luggage transportation and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Great Glen Way not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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