3 days, 127 km from coast to coast across the Highlands
About the route:
Great Glen Way is 127 km long route from coast to coast across the Highlands. It runs along all lengths of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, past Caledonian Canal and more than 100 small remarkable sights.
We decided to start our journey in Fort William, but opposite direction (from Inverness) is more popular. It was the middle of the holiday, we didn’t have bikes, but we found a great offer: rent bikes in Fort William – return them in Inverness. It will cost additional £20, but you’ll agree that it’s very handy.
Day 1: Fort William – Fort Augustus (53km). The longest, but the easiest part of the route. It is possible that it is a “training” day: canals, nature, small remarkable sights (like Neptune’s Staircase). There will be a difficult area across the “tropic” forest: huge roots and snags will occur on the way every now and then. In the destination point you can have a tasty dinner in the cafe at the end of the staircase. Also there is nice view on Loch Ness.
Day 2: Fort Augustus – Drumnadrochit (36km). The most difficult part of your journey. Lots of ascents, parts with bad road (for example, rubber asphalt where bike doesn’t ride even downhill). When you reach the destination point, you feel like a superman. There is en exhibition about Loch Ness monster (yes, you’re still be near Loch Ness).
Day 3: Drumnadrochit – Inverness (38km). After 2nd day 3rd one appears to be very short. There are still high and very high hills on the way, but they are nothing in compare with previous day difficulties. There is one thing which doesn’t change – incredible nature. Lakes are far aside, you ride across the fields and forests (there will be part with low fir trees – ouch!). If the weather is warm and rainy then you have a good chance to gather some mushrooms. (We still have them in stock.) It took only 6 hours for us to complete this part in spite of the long stops and huge delays to take photos.
Finally, we returned out bikes, bought new shoes and visited city centre.
- Even not prepared person (like myself) will be able to complete this journey in 3 days. But start earlier on the 2nd day, otherwise, you’ll have to sleep in the forest.
- You can complete this route by boot, boat or bike or even by car (the most boring option).
- Don’t worry about taking water with you: you’ll meet many narrow rivers with clear mountain water to replenish supplies. There are only few tea rooms – take food with you!
- On your way you’ll meet pedestrians, bikers, sheep and tractors. There are hungry swans in the canals – take some corn to feed them (don’t give white bread!).
- You can find more information about the route and accommodation offers in this guide. Or use Google as usually.
- It will be raining! Don’t forget raincoats, you can’t hide in the forest. (By the way, there will be a small cave on the route.)
- There will be no toilets! If to be honest, there will be several ones with super eco-litter. Great Glen way sponsors ask to avoid leaving any rubbish and it seems that people really do it because there are no signs of “people activity”.
- If you want to rent a bike – book it in advance. You will get some accessories with bike for free. Ask to give you (or buy) a map, trust me – you’ll need it!
Photos of Great Glen way