What is the Great Glen Way?

The Great Glen Way (GGW) was opened in 2002 and is one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The 124km (79 miles) coast-to-coast trail begins in Fort William, finishes at Inverness and is waymarked with a thistle logo (often on a blue pole). For the most part this trail is an easy stroll along towpaths and forest trails following the Caledonian Canal and a few lochs (notably the length of Loch Ness), with options to walk some more challenging high-level sections.

Here’s a short 3.5 minute video of my hike…

Great Glen Way - whole track - profile
Great Glen Way – whole track

Guidebook – I used the Cicerone ‘Walking the Great Glen Way‘ guidebook written by Paddy Dillon which also conveniently includes an OS map booklet.

Handy websites about the GGW include:

Depending which source/guide you look at, the route is often divided into 6 stages:

  1. Fort William ⇔ Gairlochy, 17km
  2. Gairlochy ⇔ Laggan Locks, 19km
  3. Laggan Locks ⇔ Fort Augustus, 17km
  4. Fort Augustus ⇔ Invermoriston, 12km
  5. Invermoriston ⇔ Drumnadrochit, 23km
  6. Drumnadrochit ⇔ Inverness, 30km

This would make for a relaxing 6-day walk, staying in B&B accommodation, but as I was carrying a tent and feeling fit having just finished the West Highland Way, I walked the route in 4 days. (I camped the first and third night and stayed at one of the best B&B’s I’ve ever stayed at on my second night in Invermoriston called Bracarina House.)

I didn’t blog while walking as I was trying to get away and relax so what follows are a collection of photos with some notes from each day.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so it would be selfish of me to not share what I learnt during the 4 days I walked this scenic trail:

  • You can buy a key for £10 from the Caledonian Canal association and this key gives you access to the toilets along the canal (some also have showers and clothes washing machines). It can be bought online in advance, but I bought mine on the first day from the canal association in Corpach. Had I taken 6 days to walk this route, the key might have been more useful, but in hindsight I rarely used these toilets, some of which were quite a walk off the trail and obviously not handy when you opt for the high-level route. If I was to kayak this trail then I would definitely buy the key, but not if I was to walk it again.
  • The sun doesn’t set in Scotland in summer, or so I found out, so bring an eye mask if the light bothers you while camping.
  • Midges – they weren’t as bad as on the WHW but they were still bothersome when camping by Loch Lochy and at Abriachan eco campsite. I would recommend bringing a head net and repellent during ‘midge season.’
  • I only saw 2 or 3 people walking the route in 4 days so if you want peace and quiet this is a good trail. If you want company, consider the WHW instead.

Happy Trails!

Thomas Telford's bridge over the River Moriston, Invermoriston
Thomas Telford’s bridge over the River Moriston, Invermoriston

One response to “What is the Great Glen Way?

Comments or questions? Go for it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s