The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way

Trip Highlights

  • Walking in the Heart of Scotland
  • Hiking Through the Scottish Highlands
  • Canal and Loch-Side Footpaths
  • Views of Ben Nevis

Trip Summary

Opened in April 2002, this long distance walking trail travels right through the very heart of Scotland. From Fort William to Inverness you'll discover the highlights that make this area such a magnet for walkers. Pass by the foot of Ben Nevis (1344m), the highest mountain in the UK. Follow undulating forest tracks along the shores of Loch Ness and walk through a mixture of farmland, exposed high moorlands and woodland as you make your way to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness. Along the route you will also encounter the forts and castles scattered along the way that lay witness to Scotland's turbulent past, from the Iron Age to the Jacobite Rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie who was finally defeated at the Battle of Culloden.


Easy to moderate, walking approx 8 miles/ 13 km to 18miles/ 29km. 3.5-8 hours The route starts fairly flat but gets harder over the last 3 days with short steep hills and longer hills on the last day of walking. The last day of walking can be reduced by taking optional taxi transfer (included in the price) to a point about a third along the trail, missing out the steep climb.


Make your own way to Fort William. There are only traces left of the original fort built to keep the dreaded Highlanders at bay. Today the town is the “Chamonix” of Scotland with a proliferation of outdoor shops, cafes, bookshops and bars to entertain you if you arrive early. If you have an extra night here and you are an experienced hill walker, you could go and climb Ben Nevis, or you could take a boat trip to “Seal Island” to see the grey seals loitering around. Accommodation: We use a selection of bed & breakfast/guesthouses in Fort William all offering ensuite facilities.

Meals:  Nil

Today’s walk is very easy which will give you the opportunity to do several side trips. The first one being Old Inverlochy Castle, which is one of Scotland’s earliest stone castles, built in 1260. Continue on with your walk before taking a short diversion to Corpach sea loch, with its lock-keepers’ cottages and pepper-pot lighthouse. You then head up to the tow path of the Caledonian Canal following it past “Neptune’s staircase” (a flight of 8 locks) to the small village of Gairlochy. You will be staying at Spean Bridge, which is another 3.5 miles hilly walk as there is no accommodation on the route. Normally the guesthouse will be able to collect and transfer you for a fee by prior arrangement, if you prefer not to walk. Accommodation: Stay in B&B or guest house in highland village of Spean Bridge.

Meals:  B

A mainly easy walk today, but it does have some short steep ascents. You will be walking on a mixture of tarmac, forest paths and tracks, mostly shared with the Great Glen Cycle Route. Two miles after the start of your walk, you could take a side trip to Clan Cameron Museum and Cia-aig waterfall before rejoining the Way at Clunes (an extra couple of miles or so) but note that the museum is only open in the afternoons. From Clunes all the way to Kilfinnan, you walk on forest tracks, you will get splendid views of Loch Lochy with the mountains behind. Accommodation: Stay at a 3 star guesthouse tonight which is surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Meals:  B

An easy walk today. The terrain is a mixture of tarmac, railway track bed, old military road, then a canal towpath. You enter the Leiterfearn nature reserve, enjoying the wonderful ash, birch, elm and hazel woodland. If you have time you could walk up Meall a’Cholumain from Fort Augustus, which is a great viewpoint. Fort Augustus was largely built in 1729 as the hub of General Wade’s military road building programme to calm the highlanders after Culloden and there are 5 locks at the centre of town on the Caledonian Canal and several museums. There are some great restaurants here, you may even have enough time for a short cruise on Loch Ness. Accommodation: Tonight your guesthouse will be one of the many Victorian establishments.

Meals:  B

A harder day today with steeper ascents. You will climb through a forest of birch and pine, beside a stream and uphill to a forest track. You should get some dramatic views of Loch Ness at intervals through the woods. Walk through the village of Invermoriston with its little bridge built by Thomas Telford. The Invermoriston Hotel is a great place to eat and has several types of malt whisky. They also have great beer from The Skye Brewery. There are nice leafy walks down by the river. Note our route describes the low level option for this leg. Accommodation: The guesthouse was purpose built in 1995 to provide a family home and bed & breakfast accommodation. Each bedroom is well-furnished and has a spacious ensuite. You can relax in the evening by the open fire in the lounge, while the breakfast room enjoys great views of Sron Na Muic.

Meals:  B

A moderate day of walking with some steep sections. There is quite a bit of undulation today, but hopefully you’ll be used to the walking now! For strong walkers in good weather you could ascend Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh from where you may get views from Ben Nevis all the way to Inverness. You can take excursions to Urquhart Castle with commanding views over Lochness, with a stop at the café or an interpretational centre. You end up at Drumnadrochit, an attractive ‘Green Village’, which has a Loch Ness Monster visitor’s centre…or two! Note our route describes the low level option for this leg. Accommodation: We use a mixture of B&B's in the busy town of Drumnadrochit

Meals:  B

Today is normally a long day: 19 mile/30.5 km, which may be too much, especially if you want to see something of Inverness. So the tour is shortened by an optional taxi transfer taking you from the town to Loch Laide, famous for its very clean water. Descend then to Blackford and the Great Glen once again meets the Caledonian Canal before reaching Inverness, a beautiful city of past and modern, although mostly Victorian. If the taxi option is taken then this is a 21 km/14 mile walk. Accommodation: We use a number of different guesthouses in the city of Inverness.

Meals:  B

After breakfast depart from Inverness.You may wish to spend another day visiting the Neo Gothic St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Castle, the museum and art galleries at Scotland’s Northern Capital. We would recommend that you visit Fort George, the Clava Stones and the newly rebuilt Culloden centre, which are all nearby, and with the exception of the Clava Stones, on local bus routes.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 nights accommodation in small guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not to exceed 20kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • Taxi transfer on Day 7 to Loch Laide

What's Not Included

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Upcoming Travel Dates


We had a great time walking The Great Glen Way. Food was great, people were friendly and beautiful views. We would highly recommend this walk.

R. Witt, Colorado, USA, 09 Jul 2019

First walking holiday and already thinking about our next adventure with Sherpa. Excellent B&B's. All accommodations were fantastic. Staff at every location was friendly and helpful. Great service across the board.

J & R Rieth, Ohio, USA, 30 May 2019

Enjoyed seeing the locks in action in Fort Augustus; the High Route from Fort Augustus was beautiful; meeting people along the way, no midgies!, and sampling whiskies at the end of the day.

D Ewart, Vancouver, Canada, 22 Oct 2018

This was our first multi-day walk so we were a little apprehensive but we had a fantastic time and will definitely be doing more in the future.

J. Taylor, Bolton, UK, 24 Apr 2017

Thank you, we had a fabulous time, and an unforgetable experience. We will definitely return.

M. Campbell & S. Purcer, Washington, USA, 26 Sep 2016


Duration:8 Days
Starting Point:Fort William
Finishing Point:Inverness
Activities:Self-Guided Walking
Grade:introductory to moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:WGL
Prices From:GBP£740 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£270  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.