The Great Glen Way stretches for 117km from coast to coast across the Highlands, linking the main centres of Fort William and the regional capital of Inverness. The route follows the major natural faultline of the Great Glen which divides Scotland from coast to coast. Most of the route keeps to lower levels and offers a good introduction to the Highlands and to long distance walking; since 2014 there has also been a higher level option between Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit which offers more dramatic views at the cost of a little more effort. The Way runs along the complete lengths of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the forests above Loch Ness, as well as along the towpath of the Caledonian Canal, an engineering marvel built by Thomas Telford that links these lochs and creates a through route from the western seaboard to the Moray Firth.
Starting at the end of the West Highland Way, the Great Glen Way provides a natural continuation of a longer journey through the Highlands. It is also possible to link the route with the unofficial East Highland Way.
|Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy||17km||4 - 4.5 hours|
|Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan||19km||4.5 - 5 hours|
|Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus||17km||4 - 4.5 hours|
|Stage 3 alternative: Invergarry Link||21km||4.5 - 5 hours|
|4: Low Route - Fort Augustus to Invermoriston||12km||3 - 3.5 hours|
|4: High Route - Fort Augustus to Invermoriston||12km||4 - 4.5 hours|
|5: Low Route - Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit||23.5km||5.5 - 7 hours|
|5: High Route - Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit||22km||6 - 7.5 hours|
|Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness||29km||7 - 9 hours|
Well-waymarked and following clear paths and tracks, the Great Glen Way provides straightforward walking throughout. The section through the forests above Loch Ness does have some steep climbs. For most walkers the final stage is the main challenge, due to the distance from Drumnadrochit and Inverness.
Click to find organised Great Glen Way walking holiday packages and baggage transfer providers.
Fort William has a wide range of both bed and breakfast accommodation, hotels, and independent hostels. There is a good range of shops including outdoor gear and a large supermarket. The nearest campsite is at Glen Nevis.
Laggan Locks has only the Great Glen Hostel. There is a shop at the Well of the Seven Heads, just over a kilometre offroute on the A82 up the north side of Loch Oich. Invergarry (passed on the link route variation only) has a range of bed and breakfasts together with 2 hotels, and the Saddle Mountain Hostel.
The ends of the route are easily reached by public transport. Both Fort William and Inverness have good long distance bus connections as well as railway stations.
There is a Citylink bus service that runs along the length of the Great Glen, linking the ends of the route. This passes the start/end points of each of the stages, with the exception of Gairlochy. Gairlochy has no public transport and is around 4km from the bus routes along the A82.
Full timetables for the routes can be found on Traveline Scotland.