Journeys worth taking

The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way

Scotland

The Great Glen Way - Self Guided

Lodging

Hotels and Inns

Nights

7

Trip Details

Self Guided

Price

$1,450 USD per person

Transport

Trekking with Baggage Transfers

Pygmy miles

1,500

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

The Great Glenn Way is a magnificent long distance hiking trail that touches the beautiful lochs, moors and glens between Fort Williams and Inverness. You will hike 79 miles across northern Scotland, staying at cozy inns and enjoying the hospitality of their hosts. The trail passes by three large bodies of water: Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness. 

Hiking the Great Glen Way in 6 stages is a perfect introduction to long distance hiking. If you speed up the itinerary, it can challenge some hardened walkers, especially the final day into Inverness. 

This tour features the most comfortable lodging available on the trek, handpicked by our team to meet your needs. We've also included baggage transfers and a transfer from the Inverness airport to Fort William on your first evening. Breakfast is included on each day, and every location has either an onsite restaurant or one in very close walking distance. 

 

Itinerary options

Adjusting the hike to your budget and preferences

The Great Glen Way of Scotland

$1,450 USD per person
  • 7 NTS / 6 STAGES
  • EASIER HIKING
  • HIKE ALONG THE GREAT GLEN
  • BAGGAGE TRANSFERS

The West Highland Way

$2,050 USD per person
  • 10 NTS / 9 STAGES
  • MORE CHALLENGING HIKING
  • HIKE FROM LOWLANDS TO HIGHLANDS
  • BAGGAGE TRANSFERS

Great Self Guided Hikes of Scotland

$ 2,500 USD per person
  • 13 NTS / 12 STAGES
  • MOST CHALLENING
  • HIKE HIGHLANDS AND GREAT GLEN
  • BAGGAGE TRANSFERS
A sculpture of wood and stone found on the high route to Drumadrochit

Activities

Trekking

Hike 79 miles along beautiful lochs and through the moors and glens between Fort Williams and Inverness.

Place

The Great Glen between Fort Williams and Inverness slices through the north of Scotland allowing transport from the east to the west through a series of canals and lochs. Unsurprisingly, the Great Glen follows a geographical fault bisecting the country, with the Grampian Mountains to the southeast and the Northwest Highlands to the northwest. A "glen" is a Scottish term for a narrow valley, while a "loch" is a long lake, often with access to the sea. The most famous loch is surely Loch Ness, where stories of a large sea monster have garnered international attention since 1933, when the Inverness Courier described a "beast" and a "whale-like fish". The loch itself however, is beautiful in its own right. It is the largest body of water in Scotland by volume, plunging to 889 feet at its deepest with a surface area of 22 square miles. The area is enjoyed by locals and international tourists a like with hiking, fishing, boating and biking being its main outdoor attractions. 

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

The trail starts in Fort Williams and travels to Garilochy via a leisured walk along a canal. The next day you'll head to Invegarry via Loch Lochy, the third deepest loch in Scotland. Continuing your hike along Loch Lochy, you will soon reach Fort Augusts, the charming gateway to Loch Ness. Next up is a walk along the storied Loch Ness until you reach Invermoriston. Make sure to take the high route which gives stunning views of the Loch below. The next section, from Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit takes an equally stunning vista a top Loch Ness, with views stretching to the adjoining highlands to the east of the loch. Your final day is challenging, however the arrival at Inverness Castle is a fitting way to end your trek. 

Day-1

Fort William to Gairlochy - 17 km / 10 m.5 mi

Today, you will start out on your adventure through the Great Glen. In the shadow of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Great Britain, you will head north out of Fort William. The day sees little elevation change and you hug the side of the Caledonian Canal. Quickly, you will find yourself close to Inverlochy Castle, well worth a quick detour underneath the railway line. You will then continue out of the surrounding towns of Fort William, passing Caol and Banavie. If you need a quick bite or refreshment, Banavie is the last location until you reach Gairlochy. Enjoy the engineering marvel of the canal and you will reach Gairlochy in approximately 4.5 hours from Fort William.

Day-2

Gairlochy to Invegarry 26.5 km / 16.5 mi

Today will be longer than yesterday. The scenery is also more varied as you will walk the entire length of Loch Lochy. You will be walking along forested paths and minor roads. It is an undulating path until you reach Laggan Locks, which can be done within 4.5 hours. Here, there is a small cafe (Eagle Bar), although you may not realize it, as it is inside of a converted Dutch barge. From here, you will divert along a side road to reach the trail to Innvergary. In another 2 hours, you will reach the comfortable and historic hotel in Innvegary.

Day-3

Invergarry to Fort Augustus 13.5 km / 8.25 mi

A short day, you'll start with a forested climb out of Invergarry, making use of a path away from the main road. You'll reach the modern swing bridge in a round 3 miles, however we recommend that you travel further to the older Bridge of Oich to cross over the river Garry. From there, you will rejoin the main Great Glen Way and travel along a level track near the Caledonian Canal. Once you reach Fort Augustus, you will be lead to the mouth of Loch Ness via a cascading series of locks.

Day-4

Fort Augustus to Invermorriston 12 km / 7.5 mi

Today, you have the option of taking a low route that hugs the lock, or rise higher to get a spectacular panoramic of the loch and the surrounding highlands. We recommend the latter. Today and tomorrow, have some of the finest views of the tour. Once you reach the high point of the trek, you'll be able to look back and see the only island of Loch Ness, Cherry Island. In actuality, it is an ancient man made island, what the Scots refer to as a crannog. The depth of Lochness extends to 230 m below sea level (755 ft) and the volume of water exceeds that of all lakes and reservoirs in England and Wales. It is truly a massive lake, and from this high vantage point, you can certainly appreciate its scale. Although you do have quite a bit of elevation gain, you'll reach Invermorriston within four or five hours.

Day-5

Invermorriston to Drumnadrochit 22.5 km / 14 mi

Another day of beauty awaits, although at the beginning of the trek, much of the loch will be obscured behind hills. Taking the high route, you'll climb high up to 470 meters. On a clear day, you may be able to glimpse Ben Nevis, from whence you came days earlier. In a about an hour, you will reach a wooden, circular sculpture made of branches. The location is picturesque, so take out your camera to enjoy the panorama. You'll continue along the Caledonian Pine Forrest catching views of the Cluanie Mountains to the west. In another two hours, you'll reach a small stone wall only a few feet tall, which marks another good look out point along the trail. Continue down to Drumnadrochit for a well deserved meal and perhaps a wee dram.

Day-6

Drumnadrochit to Inverness 30.5 km / 19 mi

The distance says it all - this will be a long day. There is no sensible accommodation between Drumnadrochit and Inverness, although some people prefer to cut this section into two by using a taxi to and from the halfway point. The beginning half is the more peaceful of the two. You'll hike through the Abriachan forrest and on slow days, you may not see anyone else. Take time to enjoy the solitude. After around 4 or 5 hours, you will reach roughly the halfway point at an "Eco Camp" at the end of the forest. The owners live at a house in the woods and serve tea, biscuits, soups and other snacks to wary hikers, albeit for a somewhat inflated price. Still, it's worth a jaunt into the realm just to meet the eccentric owners. You'll then continue on alternating road and forest paths until you reach the city limits. Here, you will weave through green spaces as you approach your final destination at Inverness Castle. Congratulations, you've conquered the Great Glen Way!

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
1450pygmy miles

Base Miles

One mile for every dollar you spend with us.

790pygmy miles

Hike Miles

10 Miles for every one mile hiked with us.

Total Pygmy Miles

2240pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Ashburn House

Fort William

A four star bed and breakfast, this family run establishment has stylish rooms with ensuite facilities. Breakfast is lavish and the hosts spoil you!

Tirindrish House

Spean Bridge

A charming B&B overlooking the mountains of the highlands. It is set on 12 acres of garden, yet in walking distance to downtown Spean Bridge. Pick and drop off from Gairlochy trailhead included.

Invergarry Hotel

Invergarry

An award winning historic hotel, Invegarry is a four star hotel along the banks of the Garry River, in the middle of the highlands. Generous sized rooms and a fantastic brasserie can be found at the hotel. The brasserie is no slouch either, having accolades from Visit Scotland Taste Our Best Scheme, AA Pub Guide and also a member of The Scotch Beef Club.

Bracarina House

Invermoriston

A family run B&B, the hospitality and knowledge of your hosts Heather and Robert are second to none. The spacious rooms have been recently renovated and the breakfast is hearty and plentiful. A perfect location for hikers to rest and recuperate for the next day's journey.

Lochness Inn

Drumnadrochit

Built in 1838, although you will hardly notice it with the contemporary finishes, Lochness Inn is a favorite among hiker's on the Great Glen Way. The restaurant and bar serve highland fare and local whiskeys. The location is directly at the beginning of town, so you need not search far for this Great Glen gem.

Kingsmill Hotel

Inverness

Cap off your adventure in style. The Kingsmill Hotel is a luxury hotel, with everything you need to pamper yourself. A spa, bar with extensive spirit collection and a gastronomic restaurant are all here for your indulgence. You've earned it.

Practical info

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

The hiking season generally runs from the beginning of April to the middle of October. From November to March, snow is possible, which makes navigation more challenging. Furthermore, some of the guest houses close down during the winter. Midges, annoying biting flies are worst during the summer months, especially after heavy rains.

How

Self guided

Self-guided does not mean you are alone. We help you coordinate and plan your trip beforehand. Once you are on your way, we provide 24 hour customer service in case there are any issues on the trek.

 

Service categories

Pygmy Itineraries

The Pygmy Itinerary consists of:

  • Your customized Travel Handbook which includes maps, elevation gains and references to transport and alternative routes.
  • A virtual briefing before you depart.
  • Customer support throughout your trek via text and phone.
  • Access to a premium Gaia GPS app.
  • GPX file of the main road.
  • A Before You Go Email Series to answer the most frequently asked questions.
  • Customization and consultation of your itinerary. Booking of your reservations and handling logistics related to your trek.

 

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Low

Mental Strength

Level : Low

Physical Conditioning

Level : Medium

The price of 1,450 USD per person is for a seven night tour, however we customize the tour to fit your budget and preferences. 

Included in the base itinerary: 

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Baggage transfers to keep you trekking light. 
  • Breakfast at all locations. 
  • Public transport explanation
  • Personalized App containing all documents and schedule.
  • Personalized itinerary with customization
  • Customer service: smoothing out the headaches 24/
  • Private transport from Inverness to Fort William

Optional Add-ons

  • Travel insurance
  • Rest days and free days in Fort William, Fort Augustus or Inverness
  • Extension to the West Highland Way
  • Transport back to Glasgow from Inverness

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Public transport and taxi fees if used in situ

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.