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Great Glen Way - Intensive

Bookatrekking.com Trips - 7 days

    Regular days with
  • More than 20 km per day
  • 250 - 500m ascent per day
  • T2 Trails / no difficulty markings
Overview
Route
What's Included
Accommodation
Packing List
FAQ
Safety
COVID-19
How to Book

Overview

> Faster version of the Great Glen Way
> Complete the Great Glen Way in 5 days
> Accommodation in Fort William and Inverness included

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 mile/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 Highland Way is an excellent option. 

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.

This is a faster version of the Great Glen Way for those who are trainned and experience trekkers and can walk longer distances. On this 7-day tour, you will complete all the stages on the Great Glen Way, from Fort William to Inverness in 5 days. Stages 3 and 4, however, have been merged into 1 longer stage. We will arrange the accommodation and luggage transfer for you, and we will provide you with a detailed itinerary for your Great Glen Way adventure. This trek also includes the accommodation in Fort William and Inverness before and after the trek.

Why book with us?


You can do the Great Glen Way fully independent and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary including all the accommodation together can be a complicated undertaking. Bookatrekking.com has warm contacts with the hotels on the Great Glen Way and we can take the load of having to book the accommodation yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your Great Glen Way memories stressfree and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it.  

Route

What's the plan?

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 3-star hotel preparing for your Great Glen Way adventure.

Day 2 , Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy

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. 

Distance: 10.5 miles/17 km 
Walking time: 4,5 hours

Day 3, Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan Locks

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.

Distance: 12.8 miles/20.7 km 
Walking time: 5 hours

Day 4, Stage 3: Laggan Locks to Invermoriston

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.

Distance: 21.3 miles/34,3 km (22.6 miles/36.4 km via High Route) 
Walking time: 8,5 hours (9 hours via High Route)

Day 5, Stage 4: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Today you will also have to make a choice regarding 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.  

Distance: 14.3 miles/23 km (13.6 miles/21.9 km via high route) 
Walking time: 6 hours (6,5 hours via high route) 

Day 6, Stage 5: Drumnadrochit to Inverness

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.

Distance: 19.88 miles/ 32 km
Walking time: 9 hours

Day 7: Departure

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

What's Included

Included:

 Booking the hotels
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead. 

√ Accommodation
We will arrange your accommodation on the Great Glen Way in hotels. The accommodation will be in shared rooms when possible, although most hotels on the route offer private rooms.

Accommodation in Fort William and Inverness
We will arrange the accommodation before and after your Great Glen trek. Before the trek, you will spend the night at a hotel in Fort William, and at the end of the trek, you will spend one last night at a hotel in Inverness. 

√ Breakfast
Breakfast is, if possible, included in this trek and it will be provided every morning at the hotel before you continue with your Great Glen Way adventure.

√ Baggage Transfer
This trek includes the transfer of your luggage throughout the entire trek. Your bags will be picked up every morning from the hotel lobby and will be driven to your next stop. Baggage transfers allow you to travel lighter during the day and enjoy the walk in a more relaxed manner.

Excluded:

× Airfare and Visa
You have to make your way to Fort William. The total amount is exclusive of flights to Scotland. 

× Transfers
Once in Scotland, you will have to make your way to the trailhead in Fort William. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there and back to the starting point after the trek, but the bus/train tickets are not included. 

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

× Lunch and Dinner
Breakfast is, if possible, included in the price of the trek. You can get lunch and dinner at the shops, hotels, and restaurants along the way.

× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.

Accommodation

Accommodation

During the trek, we will arrange your accommodation in cozy hotels along the way. 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. Here are the hotels we usually work with on the Great Glen Way:

Day 1, Fort William
We will book your first night, before starting the Great Glen Way, in Fort William, where you will be able to relax and prepare for your adventure.

Day 2, Gairlochy (Spean Bridge): Old Pines Hotel and Restaurant
The Old Pines Hotel and Restaurant is a small hotel and restaurant set in seven acres of ancient Scots pine trees just north of Spean Bridge, near Fort William, in the Highlands of Scotland with an excellent view of the Ben Nevis Range.



Day 3, Laggan Locks: Great Glen Hostel
The Great Glen Hostel is a hostel in South Laggan, a little hamlet at the heart of Scotland's Great Glen, 20 miles north of Fort William and 10 miles south of Loch Ness. The hostel provides comfortable budget self-catering accommodation with all the facilities you need for your adventures in the Highlands. 



Day 4, Invermoriston: Craik Na Dav B&B
Sisters Lindsey and Manda welcome you to their home overlooking the village of Invermoriston and just a short walk from Loch Ness. Their family-run Guest House is the perfect home away from home when exploring the historic and spectacular Scottish Highlands.



Day 5, Drumnadrochit: 1 Loch Ness Hostel
The hostel is in the busy little village of Drumnadrochit, situated on the shores of Loch Ness a few minutes from Urquart Castle where Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster is occasionally sighted.



Day 6, Inverness
We will book your last night, after completing your Great Glen Way adventure, at a hotel in Inverness, where you will be able to relax and rest after your journey.

Packing List

Packing List

On the Great Glen Way, being prepared for the changing weather is paramount. Scotland has a very diverse climate and you may experience all four seasons in one day! With this in mind, it’s essential to pack clothing, footwear, and accessories suitable for changing weather conditions. 

Try to base your clothing on the "three-layer" principle. This consists of a base layer, which will absorb the moisture from your skin; a middle layer, which should provide some warmth; and a waterproof outer layer to protect you from the rain and the wind. Here are our recommendations for your Great Glen Way walk:

- Trousers, waterproof, lightweight, and quick-drying
- Shirts for base layer
- Warm jacket or pullover for middle layer
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm hat and gloves
- Trekking boots, worn in
- Good quality socks
- Extra footwear for the night
- Map
- Waste bags
- Whistle to summon assistance in case of accidents
- Water bottle containing enough water to take you to your next stop
- Torch (preferably a head-torch) with spare bulb and batteries
- Emergency food and snacks (high energy snacks such as chocolate, dried fruit, energy bars etc.)
- Hiking poles 
- First aid kit

FAQ

Best Season

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.

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 Great Glen Way 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.

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 differences 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.

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!

If you want to find out more, you can find plenty of information on our blog post about the Great Glen Way.

Safety

Safety

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 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

COVID-19

COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had its grip on us, and the accommodations in the UK have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, most of the measurements are not taken into consideration anymore, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some restrictions that are worth mentioning:

- Don't go on your hiking trip if you have symptoms.
- Not all the accommodations are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Keep your distance and hygiene.
- Use disinfectants and hand sanitizers.

Stay informed about the current rules per country. Make sure you know before you leave which measures you need to take during your stay. The best thing to do is to check the websites of the government.

How to Book

How to Book?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:

 There is availability 
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.

X There is no availability 
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.

Cancellation Policy
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.

Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via support@bookatrekking.com. We are happy to help you.

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