The Great Glen Way – Hike, Bike or Canoe

The Way begins at the ruins of the Old Fort, Fort William and runs the entire length of Scotland’s longest glen, following the Caledonian Canal, forest tracks and drove roads. It is 79 miles long and passes beside three major lochs: Lochs Lochy, Oich and Ness. There is good access to accommodation and shops as it passes through villages along the Great Glen, with an alternative option that includes Invergarry. The route ends at Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, at Inverness Castle. Although primarily a walking route, it is suitable also for riders of mountain bikes, provided they show respect for other users.


  • Neptune’s Staircase, and its views of Ben Nevis
  • the Caledonian Canal – Thomas Telford’s historic work of engineering, including Neptune’s Staircase
  • Achnacarry House (short detour) with its links to the Clan Cameron Museum and Commando training
  • spectacular views over Loch Ness and the Great Glen from the High Route
  • 17th-century heritage in Fort William and Fort Augustus
  • starts near the base of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK

For more information go to Scotland’s Great Trails website 

By Ayack – fr:Ayack – Own work :Topography: NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM3 v.2) data (public domain);Reference used for confirmation for the additional data: ViaMichelin;Locator map: File:Saint Kilda archipelago topographic map-fr.svg (modified) created by Sting., CC BY-SA 4.0,

Further reading:

A Perspective Changing Journey Along The Great Glen Way – Abbie Barnes

The Great Glen Way travels for 79miles from Fort William to Inverness along the Great Glen. It passes Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, as well as the grand Caledonian Canal. It’s crammed with historical sites and beautiful forests, and whilst the route may mostly be flat (perfect for anyone new to backpacking), the climbs that do appear offer the most magnificent views as a reward. It is a truly engaging walk, and like always, has a lot to teach the open-hearted walker…

great glen way kids cycling

The Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s Great Trails. It is 79 miles long, starting in Fort William and finishing in Inverness. The Great Glen Way can be walked or cycled.

The off-road trail is on paths and tracks as well as along canal and loch shores. It links together a number of settlements and offers plenty of places for shortstops and overnights.

My friend Tansy recently cycled the Great Glen Way with her eight-year-old son Archie. These are her top 10 tips for mountain biking the Great Glen Way with (or without!) kids over four days.

This is a great write up in about Cycling the Great Glen Way with a child.

Mountain biking the Great Glen Way

When searching for routes across the breadth Scotland, the mind wanders to the far north – the wild and untamed areas of Scotland. Yet there are also ways to navigate the Highlands, and of them all, The Great Glen Way is perhaps the most famous. Parts of the Way itself make for superb riding, yet what we wondered was could we take the Great Glen Way, add in a few kinks, twists and turns with the help of an OS map and get ourselves into some real terrain. Former Crankworx Whip Off winner Neil Stewart and Brett Penfold joined us on this journey from the milder climes of Inverness on the east to the rugged, more unpredictable west coast and the town of Fort William.

Or you could Canoe/Sea Kayak the Great Glen Canoe Trail:

20200702_164555The Caledonian Canal has brought life to the Great Glen. By opening up the waterway a whole range of industries became possible.  The Great Glen Ways offers the outdoor enthusiast three ways to cross the country coast to coast – by boot… by bike… by boat!

The Great Glen Canoe Trail is yet another example of what adventures await outdoor enthusiasts. With the number of paddlers taking on the Great Glen by boat (canoe and sea kayak), the trail required to be formalised to forward plan and manage both current and future usage.

Approx 4,000 paddlers took on Scotland’s first formal Canoe Trail in 2010 and that figure will surely rise with the new infrastructure complete.Screenshot_20200702-163516_Drive


For all the information you need plus downloads go to the Great Glen Canoe Trail website at

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