Great Glen Way
Start: Fort William
Distance: 79 miles (127 km)
Time: 5-6 days
Surface: Forest Trails, Towpaths
Officially opened on April 30, 2002, by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Great Glen Way is an excellent introduction to long-distance walking. A low-level journey along towpaths and woodland tracks, it follows Scotland’s longest glen and rambles over its most significant geological fault line.
It can be walked in either direction, but most people choose to begin the Great Glen Way beneath the shadows of Ben Nevis in Fort William. From there you skirt the shoreline of Loch Linnhe before linking up with the Caledonian Canal, built in 1822 to connect nearby Corpach to Inverness via lochs Dochfour, Ness, Oich, and Lochy. Ahead is Gairlochy, where you leave the canal to walk the Great Glen Way through tranquil forest trails along the western shoreline of Loch Lochy. After crossing the A82 you have the choice of either traversing the eastern shore of Loch Oich along an old rail line or continuing along its western side on the 8.4-mile-long(13.5 km) Invergarry Link, a steeper climb with great views. You then rejoin the canal path to Fort Augustus and begin your first real climb through the crofting community of Grotaig, where you will get your first glimpse of Loch Ness.
Continue the Great Glen Way along a secondary road above the loch before descending through verdant woodlands to the River Coiltie and on to Drumnadrochit at the foot of Glen Urquhart. Either pause here or hurry through the heart of “Nessie Country” before climbing through farmlands that provide exceptional views of the loch and, on a clear day, Scotland’s east coast. Then comes Abriachan, another crofting community, and Craig Leach Forest, and finally the suburbs of Inverness, where canal and riverside paths take you to Inverness Castle on its cliff over the glisteningRiver Ness.