Information for the Walker

This section of the website provides information on walking distances, suggestions on accommodation locations, and transport options. There is also a general section on a range of helpful tips including detail on maps and route directions.


Walking Distances

Distances are provided both from a start at Fort William and from Inverness. All points along the way are detailed, but suggestions on how to break up the walk will be provided separately.


Travelling North

Miles
(km)

Fort William to Banavie

4.5
(7)

Banavie to Gairlochy

6
(10)

Gairlochy to South Laggan

12
(19)

South Laggan to Aberchalder

5.5
(9)

Aberchalder to Fort Augustus

5
(8)

Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

8
(13)

Invermoriston to Alltsigh

4
(6)

Alltsigh to Drumnadrochit

10
(16)

Drumnadrochit to Abriachan Junction

6
(10)

Abriachan Junction to Blackfold

4.5
(7)

Blackfold to Inverness

7.5
(12)

Total

73
(117)


Travelling South

Miles
(km)

Inverness to Blackfold

7.5
(12)

Blackfold to Abriachan Junction

4.5
(7)

Abriachan Junction to Drumnadrochit

6
(10)

Drumnadrochit to Alltsigh

10
(16)

Alltsigh to Invermoriston

4
(6)

Invermoriston to Fort Augustus

8
(13)

Fort Augustus to Aberchalder

5
(8)

Aberchalder to South Laggan

5.5
(9)

South Laggan to Gairlochy

12
(19)

Gairlochy to Banavie

6
(10)

Banavie to Fort William

4.5
(7)

Total

73
(117)


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Accommodation Locations

This section is set up to offer suggestions on where individuals or parties might stay while on the route.
All locations have accommodation and eating facilities except where there is a ** . At these locations there is no or very limitied accommodation or eating facilities. Where this occurs local transport provision by private hire is available if booked in advance.


Four Days - Average of 18.25 Miles


Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

Bunarkaig **

13.5

Day 2

Fort Augustus

19.5

Day 3

Drumnadrochit

22

Day 4

Inverness

18



Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

South Laggan

22.5

Day 2

Invermoriston

18.5

Day 3

Drumnadrochit

14

Day 4

Inverness

18


Five Days - Average of 14.6 Miles


Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

Gairlochy **

10.5

Day 2

Aberchalder **

17.5

Day 3

Alltsigh **

17

Day 4

Abriachan **

16

Day 5

Inverness

12



Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

Gairlochy **

10.5

Day 2

South Laggan

12

Day 3

Invermoriston

18.5

Day 4

Drumnadrochit

14

Day 5

Inverness

18


Six Days - Average of 12.2 Miles


Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

Gairlochy **

10.5

Day 2

South Laggan

12

Day 3

Fort Augustus

10.5

Day 4

Alltsigh **

12

Day 5

Abriachan **

16

Day 6

Inverness

12



Overnight Suggestions

Miles

start

Fort William


Day 1

Gairlochy **

10.5

Day 2

South Laggan

12

Day 3

Fort Augustus

10.5

Day 4

Invermoriston

8

Day 5

Drumnadrochit

14

Day 6

Inverness

18


The closest location where accommodation is available in range and number to Gairlochy and Bunarkaig is Spean Bridge.

To link for suggestions on service providers click on accommodation, or transport & bag carrying provision.


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Transport Details

The provision of public transport to and from the start and end locations is straightforward with bus and rail services running to Fort William and Inverness from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

There is also air services to Inverness from the Scottish central belt and London.

Local Services between the various walking locations will be added shortly.

Useful Contact Numbers


Useful Hints

Maps & Waymarking

The walk is waymarked and over the Autumn of 2006 this will be renewed with new and more destinctive signs. The walk and Great Glen Cycle route do at points overlap, but the latter will be revised to contain more circular mountain bike trails. Only the walking route will be covered by the new signage.
Away from the Lochs most of the route follows the tow paths of the Caledonian Canal, this under the management and maintenance of British Waterways Scotland.


New coloured waymarker

The new waymarking will be introduced over the autumn period of 2006 and there will be a short period when a mixture of the old and new signage will exist. The old is either on metal signs with a brown background or screwed to posts with the thistle emblem.


New timber tower


In addition to the blue timber posts there will be blue background coloured metal signs located in the more populated areas on buildings or signposts.

On the canal side the signage will be additionally provided on the new Caithness Granite monoliths. Within the stone structure there will be a central panel that we are presuming to be of a blue coloured background.

Added to this new waymarking there will be up to 50 interpretive panels erected along the Way, covering natural history, local history and interest details.


Stone Monolith

Although Waymarked we strongly recommend that all walking groups go prepared with suitable maps.
We advocate that an up to date map to a scale of atleast 1:50000 is used and the walker comes prepared with compass or GPS. The O/S Landranger maps relevant to the walk are Nos. 26,34 & 41.
There are also the Ordnance Survey Explorer range at a scale of 1:25000. With only two very minor and short sections missed out the complete route can be shown on map numbers 92, 400, and 416.

Walking Support (an associate business) also provides a junction by junction directional table based on Ordnance Survey (O/S) grid references. This handles all the decision points along the whole length of the walk and can be a useful companion to the maps. For a nominal 3.99 this can be purchased on-line and delivered by e-mail attachment. To get your copy simply click on the Buy Now button and follow the simple payment instructions.

Alternatively Rucksack Reader "The Great Glen" publication has a specially produced map along with walking instructions.
For information in this guidebook with map link to their website page where you will get details and can purchase online.

Harvey have produced a detailed map along with guidance notes on the route. This is to a larger scale to that of the Rucksack Reader.

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Terrain

This has been divided into sections and may be of specific help for those who are undertaking only parts of the route.

Section

Terrain

Fort William to Banavie

Road, pathways and canal towpath. All on the level and suitable for even the young and old walker.

Banavie to Gairlochy

This is along the towpath of the canal and as such there is only the one significant ascent at Neptunes Staircase. The towpath is generally well maintained but can have the odd pubble in wet weather.

Gairlochy to Laggan

Some initial walking on a minor road then this is followed by forestry tracks. At the end of the section there is again some limited road walking and a narrow path through Laggan that can be muddy at times.

Laggan to Aberchalder

Level section along an old railway line then grass paths along the side of Loch Oich. This can be muddy and wet and boots are strongly recommended.

Aberchalder to Fort Augustus

An easy level walk on a well formed canal towpath. Later this becomes a vehicle track. Suitable for walkers of all ages.

Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

The way is now subject to definite gradients both up and down. The path can in parts be narrow and over grass paths but mainly it is in well maintained forest tracks. Walking boots are the correct footwear, and on this section the average speed will reduce due to the more challenging terrain.

Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

This section like the last has some steep climbs and descents. The way is generally on well laid forest tracks and minor roads but there are some sections where the pathway is narrow and on grass and stones. walking boots are esssential. This section will again be taken at a relatively slower pace to the initial sections.

Drumnadrochit to Caledonian Canal, Inverness

This is a mixture of surfaces from woodland path to forest track and minor road. There are some inclines but none as demanding as the previous two sections. The high level moorland on the way to Blackfold can be exposed so ensure that you have appropriate clothing.

Caledonian Canal, Inverness to Inverness Castle

Minor road and riverside walk followed by short pavement section.

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Weather

This can vary from day to day and area to area. The area is also liable to varying levels of rainfall, Fort William being considerably wetter to that of Inverness.

For information on the weather forecast within the region you can call Weathercall. (This is a premium rate telephone service run by the Met Office.)
Relevant Regions and Dial Numbers:

Region

Walking Area

Dial Number

North & West Scotland

From Fort William to Drumnadrochit

09068 232 795

Grampian & East Highlands

Drumnadrochit to Inverness

09068 232 794

Alternatively access the Met Office Website.

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Communications

Communications in the form of mobile phone cannot be relied upon throughout the route but are generally available at the start and end points. There are variations between the various networks.

Section

Mobile Signal

Public/Emergency Telephone

Fort William to Gairlochy

Generally good and works on several networks along the whole section

Adequate facilities in Fort William and emergency use only around Gairlochy if Lockkeeper is on site

Gairlochy to Laggan

Generally good but can fade at the northern end of the section

No telephones on the route, would have to go to Invergarry for a public phone

Laggan to Fort Augustus

Some loss of signal at parts to Fort Augustus, and variable strength in Fort Augustus

Public phones only available in Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Signal generally good

Public phones in Fort Augustus and Invermoriston

Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Generally good but some blank spots on ascents and descents

Public phones only available at start and finish and in Lewiston

Drumnadorchit to Inverness

Variable signal but improving as you approach Inverness

Only available in Drumnadrochit and Inverness

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Refreshments

Section

Food Shops

Restaraunts/Pubs etc

Fort william to Gairlochy

Fort William and Banavie

Fort William and Banavie

Gairlochy to Laggan

None available

None available

Laggan to Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus

Close to Aberchalder on A82 and Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Fort Augustus and Invermoriston

Fort Augustus and limited selection in Invermoriston

Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Invermoriston, Lewiston and Drumnadrochit

Invermoristion, Lewiston and wider selection in Drumnadrochit

Drumnadorchit to Inverness

Drumnadrochit then Inverness

Drumnadrochit and Inverness

Emergency Precautions

The walk takes you onto hillsides and forests where you are possibly going to see very few other individuals. This may be one of the charms of this walk, but it is also important to recognise that assistance in an emergency will not necesarily be at hand. We also know that mobile telephone reception can be poor in some of the remoter areas, sometime being possible with one provider and not with another. It is therefore recommended that walker leave word with someone on the route being taken and the expected time of arrival at the days destination. We also recommend that each group has one person carrying some basic first aid kit, and that the group has water and some high energy food in case of having to stop for assistance. Proper outdoor clothing is required as on inclement days a walker could become very wet and cold without the right protection. In this area the weather can change rapidly and waterproof protection should always be carried.

Finally the cloud level can often be below the level of the walk and visibility can be poor. The walker needs to be aware of this and know how to check direction and plot their position.


To access another walking section use the drop down menu below. To learn about the history & interest, or to find out about service providers and how to contact us for additional support press the appropriate navigation button below.

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