Category: Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide

The Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s most cherished walks. Tracing a series of spectacular lochs and Caledonian Canal, this beautiful walk takes in stunning Highland scenery, quaint villages,…

The Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s most cherished walks. Tracing a series of spectacular lochs and Caledonian Canal, this beautiful walk takes in stunning Highland scenery, quaint villages, and brings walkers to the famous city of Inverness. While walking the route you’ll have plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget and style.

This includes the quintessential Scottish B&Bs, hotels, campgrounds, bunkhouses, and everything in between!

To help you sort through all of your options we’ve created this Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide to help you pick the best option for your trip. We’ve organized the guide to include options at each of the common stopping points along the Great Glen Way to help you pick accommodation for any itinerary you choose.

Bridge in Inverness, Scotland

 

In This Great Glen Way Accommodation Guide

 

Should I reserve my Great Glen Way accommodation in advance?

We highly recommend reserving as much of your Great Glen Way accommodation in advance as you can. While this may cut down a bit on your flexibility during the walk, it also ensures you’ll have a bed at the end of the day.

This area of Scotland is a quite popular holiday destination during the summer months, and there are many stops along the Great Glen Way that only have a few options to choose from. Although it is possible to walk the entire route without any advance reservations, we think having the peace of mind and assurance of a booking is well worth the trade-off.

As for timing, it is best to reserve your accommodation for the Great Glen Way as far in advance as you can. Generally speaking you’ll want to make a booking at least 4 – 5 months out for the more popular destinations on the route, especially Fort William and Inverness. Reservations for some of the less popular stops need not be made that far in advance, but a couple of months ahead is still recommended.

Scottish breakfast

A proper Scottish breakfast will be on the menu at many of the B&Bs along the Great Glen Way.

 

Great Glen Way Accommodation Cost

Great Glen Way accommodation cost is influenced by a number of factors. These include the time of year, day of the week, holidays, etc. You can expect to pay more for weekends during the summer and prices will be at their highest on summer holidays.

Additionally, the number of days you plan to walk the Great Glen Way in will also impact your accommodation budget for the walk. Most hikers will take between 5 – 8 days to walk the entire route. For more information on the walk, including an itinerary be sure check out this post.

Given all of these factors we think the range below provides a good, general estimate of what you can expect to spend for accommodation on the Great Glen Way:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £70+ (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40+ (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10+ (per person/per night)

Note: For those looking for campsites along the Great Glen Way, but sure to check out our complete guide here.

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the common stopping points along the Great Glen Way. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: £80+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: £40-80 (per person/per night)
  • Budget:<£40 (per person/per night)

Note that not every stop along the walk will feature accommodation that fits neatly into each of the categories above. In those cases we’ve included multiple options in a specific price point based on what is available.

 

Great Glen Way Accommodation Directory

In the following section we’ve created a comprehensive guide to accommodation options at each of the stops along the Great Glen Way. Choosing your accommodation isn’t always an easy task, so we’ve distilled your options into an easy to read format with key details and recommendations for every budget.

The directory has been organized to follow the standard route along the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. 

Read the directory in its entirety or jump to a specific stopping point from the list below:

 

Fort William Accommodation

High-End: Gowan Brae Bed and Breakfast

Gowan Brea B&B has it all: welcoming hosts, a central location, beautiful views, and plush rooms. Plus, the breakfast is divine. There isn’t a better place to stay before starting you walk.

Mid-Range: Myrtle Bank Guest House

Everything about this guest house is truly magical. Set inside an 1890’s Victorian on the banks of Loch Linnhe, there’s no shortage of great views and ambiance. The service is top-notch and the price is right.

Budget: Fort William Backpackers

This friendly hostel has good facilities and tons of quirky charm. It’s set in a cozy historic house, which means that some features are a bit dated (such as the very limited number of outlets in the rooms). The hostel has a lovely lounge and communal kitchen, a very affordable continental breakfast option, and linens are provided.

 

Gairlochy Accommodation

There aren’t a ton of hotels or guesthouses to choose from in Gairlochy, but there are several excellent holiday home rentals. These can be a great option for Great Glen Way walkers as you’ll have access to a kitchen and more space than a small hotel room!

Mid-Range: Dalcomera Holiday Home

Enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, lovely garden, and great WiFi at this lovely holiday home. Located just a short distance off the Great Glen Way, this is one of our top picks for Gairlochy.

Mid-Range: Little Tigh Clovelly Holiday Home

Another excellent holiday home option in Gairlochy is the Little Tigh Clovelly house. Situated just up the main road from the Great Glen Way, this quaint home provides privacy in a quiet setting. Guests love the friendly owners and perfect location.

Budget: Dreamweavers B&B

A good budget option, one of the only B&Bs in the Gairlochy area is the Dreamweavers B&B. You’ll enjoy clean and comfortable rooms along with an excellent breakfast to set your day of right. They host tons of Great Glen Way walkers here so you’ll feel right at home!

 

Loch Lochy Accommodation

For those planning to continue on past Gairlochy on their first stage you’ll have several excellent accommodation options along the shores of Loch Lochy. You’ll enjoy peace, tranquility, and stunning views at each of the accommodation options below!

High-End: Invergloy Riverside Lodges

The beautifully design Invergloy Riverside Lodges are one of the most unique accommodation options on the Great Glen Way. Comfortable beds, helpful staff, and a great location earn these lodges high marks from guests. There is often a minimum stay requirement during the summer, but a few nights here is well worth it!

Mid-Range: Whispering Pine Lodge

A lovely and cozy small hotel on the shores of Loch Lochy, the Whispering Pine Lodge is a favorite among Great Glen Way walkers. The hospitality of the staff goes a long way to ensure that guests are comfortable and well taken care of. The deck overlooking the loch is simply stunning!

Mid-Range: Corriegour Lodge Hotel

A simple and well-appointed hotel further along the loch, the Corriegour Lodge Hotel makes a comfortable place to spend the night without breaking the bank. A private beach on Loch Lochy and incredible food are hallmarks of this wonderful hotel.

 

Laggan Accommodation

Mid-Range: Forest Lodge Guesthouse

The lovely Forest Lodge Guesthouse is ideally situated between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich along the Caledonian Canal. This is a great stopping point as you’ll have just completed the long walk along Loch Lochy. The owners are superbly friendly and the breakfast exceptions. Our top pick in Laggan.

Budget: Great Glen Hostel

For budget minded walkers or those who just appreciate a good hostel, look no further than the Great Glen Hostel when staying in Laggan. Enjoy access to a self-catering kitchen, plenty of common spaces, and even a small shop. There is also a lovely garden to sit in when the weather is good.

 

Invergarry Accommodation

High-End: Glengarry Castle Hotel

If there was ever a hotel to splurge on along the Great Glen Way, the Glengarry Castle Hotel is certainly it! This stately hotel sits adjacent to the Glengarry Castle ruins and features wonderfully appointed rooms and exquisite dining.

Mid-Range: Invergarry Hotel

The Invergarry Hotel is a wonderful place to spend the night along your walk. Located along the banks of the River Garry, here you’ll experience top notch hospitality along with beautiful grounds. The on-site restaurant has an excellent selection of local real ales perfect for the end of a long day’s walk!

Mid-Range: The North Lodge Holiday Home

For those interested in a holiday home in Invergarry, the North Lodge is your best bet. This quaint, two-bedroom home offers great value for the money in an excellent location. A full kitchen is perfect for cooking up a big post-walk meal and afterwards be sure to enjoy warm up around a roaring fire.

Invergarry, Scotland

 

Fort Augustus Accommodation

High-End: The Lovat, Loch Ness

Enjoy stunning views across Loch Ness from your room at the Lovat. Set in an old Victorian building, this family run hotel offers thoughtfully designed rooms and a great restaurant. The hotel is quiet and staff goes out of their way to ensure your comfort.

Mid-Range: Lorien House B&B

The Lorien House is a stylish B&B that is perfect for Great Glen Way walkers. As you’d expect the breakfast is excellent, the rooms clean and quiet, but what most guests rave about are the welcoming and friendly owners.

Budget: White House B&B

Comfortable beds and a good breakfast buffet are the hallmarks of the White House B&B in Fort Augustus. Combined with great free Wi-Fi and a helpful owner and you can’t go wrong for a solid budget option along the walk here.

 

Invermoriston Accommodation

Mid-Range: Craik Na Dav B&B

For an excellent B&B in Invermoriston look no further than the Craik Na Dav B&B. Extremely helpful hosts along with great breakfast and comfortable rooms make this a favorite for Great Glen Way walkers. The garden attracts a variety of beautiful wildlife as well!

Mid-Range: Glenmoriston Arms Hotel

A classic Highlands hotel, the Glenmoriston Arms will leave you feeling refreshed and like you got a true Scottish experience. Enjoy one of the hundreds of malt whiskeys available in the pub before retiring to your comfortable room.

Budget: Darroch View B&B

A great budget option, the Darroch View B&B is well located in the heart of Invermoriston. Although rooms are on the smaller side you’ll still enjoy a great breakfast and helpful hosts.

 

Alltsigh Accommodation

Budget: Lochside Hostel

Set in a secluded location on the shores of Loch Ness, the Lochside Hostel is a great option for budget conscious Great Glen Way walkers. While certainly not glamorous, you’ll find the hostel to be well-appointed with great common spaces, comfortable rooms, and you can’t beat the view!

 

Drumnadrochit Accommodation

High-End: The Loch Ness Inn

Clean, well-designed rooms and a highly-regarded restaurant make the Loch Ness Inn a top pick for hotel accommodation in Drumnadrochit. Cozier than your average hotel, there are also a wide variety of room types available making this a great option for groups walking the Great Glen Way.

Mid-Range: Woodlands Bed & Breakfast

The Woodlands B&B is one of the top bed and breakfasts in Drumnadrochit and our top pick for Great Glen Way walkers. A beautiful garden and immaculate rooms are just a few of the reasons this is a great option. Don’t forget the incredible breakfast either!

Budget: Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge

For a great budget option in the popular Loch Ness village of Drumnadrochit look no further than the Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge. The owner is incredibly friendly, the bar well-stocked, and the common spaces well cared for. There are a variety of room types to choose from as well. Highly recommended.

Loch Ness

 

 

Loch Ness (between Drumnadrochit and Inverness)

Mid-Range: Loch Ness Lodge

For those looking to split up the long stage between Drumnadrochit and Inverness look no further than the Loch Ness Lodge. Elegant rooms and and stunning views will have you wanting to stay a bit longer before heading to Inverness! The Loch Ness Lodge is truly a classic Highlands hotel that we can’t recommend highly enough.

 

Inverness Accommodation

High-End: Dionard Guest House

If you’re after one of the best breakfasts in Inverness, the Dionard Guest House might just be the perfect place for you. A warm and thoughtfully cared for guest house, you’ll feel right at home here. The lovely owners are happy to make recommendations for anything you may want to do in Inverness.

Mid-Range: Bluebell House

The Bluebell House is located in a charming old building close to all the main attractions in Inverness. Clean rooms and the friendly owner, Kenny, make this a place you’ll certainly remember. Highly recommended!

Budget: Acer Glen B&B

For a great location without breaking the bank, the Acer Glen B&B in Inverness provides a great option. Guests love the comfortable rooms, great hosts, and excellent breakfast. What else could you want?

View of Inverness, Scotland

 

What’s Next?

Check out our other Great Glen Way Resources:

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Guide to Camping on the Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is an excellent introduction to walking in the Scottish Highlands. The route traces the Caledonian Canal as it makes its way from Fort William in the…

The Great Glen Way is an excellent introduction to walking in the Scottish Highlands. The route traces the Caledonian Canal as it makes its way from Fort William in the south to Inverness in the North. The walk is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails, notable both for its stunning scenery as well as historical interest.

Along the way trekkers will enjoy relatively easy access to services and accommodation. This includes some excellent options for camping, both in developed campgrounds as well as great wild camping spots. These campgrounds are the focus of this guide where we’ll walk you through all your options for camping on the Great Glen Way.

We’ve included detailed information on campgroundscamping itinerarieswhat to pack, and more, in order to help you plan your own Great Glen Way camping adventure!

Green hillsides near Inverness Scotland

 

In this Great Glen Way Camping Guide

Great Glen Way Must Know

The Great Glen Way is a relatively new trail having been established as one of Scotland’s Great Trails in 2002. The route follows the Great Glen, a series of three lochs (Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Ness) that all connected by the Caledonian Canal. While less popular than its nearby neighbor, the West Highland Way, the Great Glen Way offers easier walking and less crowded trails.

The route begins in the beautiful town of Fort William located on Loch Linnhe before makings its way to northeast along the Caledonian Canal all the way to Inverness. Along the walk you’ll enjoy beautiful loch side hiking, stunning Highlands views, and visits to several quaint towns along the path.

Generally speaking most walkers will complete the Great Glen Way is 5 – 8 days, with six days seeming to be the most common. The Great Glen Way camping itinerary we’ve described below is based off a well-paced 6-day itinerary, although there are plenty of options to shorten or extend your walk.

Map showing the location of the Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is located in Northern Scotland.

 

How long is the Great Glen Way?

The Great Glen Way is approximately 125-kilometers or 74 miles from the start in Fort William to the finish at the Inverness Castle.

However, walkers and especially campers, should expect to cover a bit more distance than this as a few of the campgrounds are located slightly off the main trail. Add in a side trips to the local pub or to visit a shop and you should plan on walking well over 75 miles on your own Great Glen Way trip.

Map of the Great Glen Way

Map of the Great Glen Way. Click to enlarge.

 

In addition to the standard route, the Great Glen Way features two excellent high-routes that leave the loch shores and venture into the hills. These high-routes occur between Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit and are highly recommend for their stunning views.

For more resources on maps for the Great Glen Way Check out our Great Glen Way | Maps & Routes article here.

How difficult is the Great Glen Way?

In terms of Highland walking the Great Glen Way is a very approachable walk. The route is a great introduction to the longer walks in Scotland and should be suitable for a wide variety of abilities and experience levels.

Generally speaking, the southern half of the walk will be much easier than the northern half as it is mostly flat walking along the lochs. As you venture north you encounter more hills and the difficulty will increase, although it never gets too strenuous.

However, as with any long distance walk those attempting the Great Glen Way will want to be sufficiently prepared for long days on their feet, especially for some of the longer stages towards the end of the walk. Those camping on the Great Glen Way will also be carrying a heavier rucksack, which can significantly increase how difficult a given stage is.

We think most reasonably fit walkers will adjust just fine to the Great Glen Way, but we do recommend a little extra preparation for those camping. Try to take few walks with your fully loaded backpack prior to heading out as a way to prepare your body and adjust to carrying the weight.

Trail in the Scottish Highlands

 

Great Glen Way Weather & When to Hike

The Scottish Highlands are known for their fickle weather. One minute you can be enjoying brilliant sunshine while the next you’re slogging through a torrential downpour. In general, you can expect to experience some rain during any month of the year you plan to walk the Great Glen Way, but rest assured that is just part of the experience.

Besides just the weather you’ll also want to think about Scotland’s most famous pest, the mighty midge!

These tiny, biting creatures, have the potential to wreak havoc on your trip and are especially pesky for campers. They are most present during the peak summer months of July and August, although with a little preparation you can avoid the worst of them.

Below we’ve included general information on when to walk the Great Glen Way by month.

April

Unpredictable weather, but very few crowds and midges. Walkers will need to be prepared for shorter days and therefore fewer daylight hours for walking. You’ll enjoy an uncrowded trail and plenty of places to pitch your tent.

May

May is a great month to walk the Great Glen Way as the temperature warms and the wildflowers come into bloom. Midges are also not yet at their peak, making this one of the best months to complete you walk. However, given these circumstances you can expect the trail to be quite busy and accommodation should be booked in advance.

July & August

Crowds, midges, and rain are all plentiful during peak summer these months. It’s still very possible to have a wonderful time if you trek in July or August, just be sure you’re prepared for the midges and don’t mind sharing the trail with other walkers and tourists.

September

This is a fabulous time to walk the Great Glen Way, although it can be quite wet especially near Fort William. The trail is relatively quiet and the midges tend to be less of a problem later in the season. Be aware of the increasingly shorter days as the month progresses.

 

Great Glen Way Camping

Camping on the Great Glen Way is a wonderful way to experience this incredible trail.

Many of the campsites along the route are designated wild campsites allowing campers to experience this stunning environment first-hand and sleep out under the stars. In addition, you’ll save significantly on accommodation costs and have more flexibility in your itinerary.

We can’t recommend camping on the Great Glen Way highly enough!

In the sections below will give an overview of all the campgrounds on the Great Glen Way as well as provide some information on wild camping. In addition, we’ll also include information on how to utilize some of the facilities along the Caledonian Canal that making camping a much easier endeavor. Finally, we’ll provide a detailed stage-by-stage itinerary for camping on the Great Glen Way complete with distances, where to camp, and more!

Camping at Loch Ness

 

Campgrounds on the Great Glen Way

The map and list below show all of the campgrounds that are in the general vicinity of the Great Glen Way. This includes both developed campgrounds as well as wild camping pitches along the route (known as Trailblazer sites, more on that below).  We’ve done our best to include all of the relevant campgrounds, but if you see any missing let us know!

The list and map are designed to give you a general sense of your options for Great Glen Way camping, but we recommend utilizing our full Great Glen Way camping itinerary in the following section when planning your own trip.

Campgrounds are listed in the order you’ll reach them when walking the route from south to north.

  • Glen Nevis Camping & Caravan Park
    • Located south of Fort William at the base of Ben Nevis this large, well-equipped campground is your best bet for camping prior to starting the Great Glen Way.
  • Moy Bridge Wild Campsite
    • The first campsite you’ll encounter is the Moy Bridge wild campsite. Located next to the Moy Bridge over the Caledonian Canal this is a good option for your first night if you don’t want to stay in a developed campground.
  • Gairlochy Holiday Park
    • The Gairlochy Holiday Park is a good bet for your first night on the Great Glen Way. It is located just up the road from Gairlochy and has good facilities for campers.
  • Glas-dhoire Wild Campsite

    • This is our recommend campsite for your second night. Located on the shores of Loch Lochy.
  • Leiterfearn Wild Campsite
    • Located adjacent to the shoreline of Loch Oich, this wild campsite is a good place to stop at the end of Stage 3.
  • Kytra Lock wild campsite
    • One of the Trailblazer designed wild campsites along the Great Glen Way, this site is located adjacent to the canal.
  • Inver Coille Campsite
    • A popular campground on the shores of Loch Ness, this is the perfect place to stop at the end of Stage 4.
  • Borlum Farm Campsite
    • The Borlum Farm Campsite is located on the outskirts of Drumnadrochit and is our recommend stopping point at the end of Stage 5.
  • Abriachan Campsite
    • The Abriachan Cafe and Campsite is located in the hills above Loch Ness. A good place to spend the night if you’d like to split up the final stage.
  • Bught Caravan & Campsite
    • The Bught Caravan & Campsite is located in Inverness and is the perfect place to stay at the end of your trip. That is of course if you don’t plan on splurging for a hotel after walking 75+ miles!

Want an easy way to access Great Glen Way maps and camping information on your phone? Be sure to check out the Hiiker app! It’s our favorite tool to have on the trail. 

Caledonian Canal Facilities

One of the great features of camping on the Great Glen Way is the ability to make use of several restrooms along the Caledonian Canal. These facilities are typically locked, but walkers, boaters, cyclists and others users of the canal can get easy access for just £10.

To do so, simply head to the Scottish Canals Corpach (near Fort William) or Inverness office during their opening hours to pay your fee and get a key. You’ll then need to return the key at the Scottish Canals Office in Inverness.

Alternatively, you can also arrange for the key to be posted to you by calling the canal office directly.

You can find more information on accessing these facilities on the Great Glen Canoe Trail website here.

Wild camping on the Great Glen Way

Wild camping is a staple of the Scottish wilderness experience. This type of camping seeks to minimize your impact on the surrounding environment by only staying for a single night and by limiting the size of your group.

Although the length of the Caledonian Canal is considered a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which typically prohibits wild camping, there are luckily several informal wild camping spots provided along the Great Glen Way.

These campsites can be broken into two broad categories: Trailblazer rest sites and canalside informal campsites. For all intents and purposes there isn’t much difference between the two, just be sure to only stay for a night and always practice Leave No Trace principles.

Outside of these designated wild camping spots you are not allowed to wild camp along the route of the Great Glen Way.

For anyone interested in wild camping along the Great Glen Way we always recommend reviewing the Scottish Access Outdoor Code as well.

Stage-by-stage Itinerary for Camping on the Great Glen Way

The following guide is based on a moderately paced 6-day itinerary. Starting in Fort William and finishing in Inverness, there is camping available every night of the route. In addition to the itinerary described below it is also possible to shorten or extend the time you spend walking the Great Glen Way by utilizing the campgrounds between stages.

Be sure to check out the Hiiker app to see stage information and camping options on your mobile phone. 

Reservations are recommended for all of the formal campgrounds along the trail and prices are listed to the best of our knowledge.

Stage 0: Fort William

Distance & Elevation: N/A
Where to stay:
Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping Park
Description:

The Great Glen Way officially begins in the center of Fort William. The town does not have a campground, but the nearby Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping Park provides a convenient option. Keep in mind that the campground is approximately 45 minutes walking from the center of Fort William.

For those who plan to camp here prior to starting the Great Glen Way you’ll want to plan on some additional time/distance for Stage 1.

Services at Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping Park

  • Toilets
  • Potable water
  • Hot showers
  • Laundry
  • Dishwashing area
  • Restaurant/bar
  • Small shop
  • Electronics charging
  • WiFi (£2.00 per hour/£5.00 per day)

Price: £11

Glen Nevis Camping Website

Nearby Glen Nevis and Fort William:  There is a visitor center and a few restaurants in the village of Glen Nevis. Fort William is approximately 45 minutes away by foot. There you’ll find supermarkets, banks, a pharmacy, a hospital, restaurants/bars, an outdoor retailer, a post office, a library, and bus and train connections. 

Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping park

Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park is a short distance from the start of the Great Glen Way.

 

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy Holiday Park

Distance & Elevation: 11.8 mi // +625 ft, -428 ft 
Where to stay: 
Gairlochy Holiday Park
Description:

The first stage of the Great Glen Way is just under 12 miles and is a great introduction to the walk. The route is relatively flat and will let you get accustomed to hiking with your fully loaded backpack.

You’ll have two options for camping at the end of the first stage, the first being the Moy Bridge wild campsite and the second being the Gairlochy Holiday Park.

Moy Bridge does not have any amenities or restroom facilities and requires stopping a bit earlier in the day, so we recommend that most walkers opt to stay at the Gairlochy Holiday Park. This campground is approximately 15 minutes up the road from Gairlochy.

Services at Gairlochy Holiday Park

  • Toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Dish washing area

Price: £7.5/person

Map of Stage 1 from Fort William to Gairlochy Holiday Park

Stage 1 – Fort William to Gairlochy Holiday Park.

 

Stage 2: Gairlochy Holiday Park to Glas-dhoire Wild Campsite

Distance & Elevation: 9.9 mi // +1,306 ft, -1,233 ft 
Where to stay: 
Glas-dhoire Wild Campsite
Description:

The second stage of the Great Glen Way takes walkers to their first wild campsite of the trip, and an excellent one at that! Leaving Gairlochy hikers will follow the shore of Loch Lochy as they make their way to the Glad-dhoire wild campsite. This campsite is situated beautifully on the shores of the loch.

Be warned that the midges can be pretty bad here!

Services at Glas-dhoire Wild Campsite

  • Small shelter
  • Composting toilets

Price: Free

Map of Stage 2 Gairlochy Holiday Park to Glas-dhoire

Stage 2 – Gairlochy Holiday Park to Glas-dhoire wild campsite.

 

Stage 3: Glas-dhoire Wild Campsite to Leiterfearn Wild Campsite

Distance & Elevation: 7.1 mi // +902 ft, -866 ft 
Where to stay: 
Leiterfearn Wild Campsite
Description:

Stage 3 of the Great Glen Way is a relatively easy one, covering just over 7 miles. The trail reaches the end of Loch Lochy and transitions to following the shores of Loch Oich. You’ll be headed to another excellent wild campsite, this time located at Leiterfearn.

Situated just up from the shore, the Leiterfearn wild campsite has space for eight tents, log seating, and two composting toilets.

Services at Leiterfearn Wild Campsite

  • Composting toilets

Price: Free

Map of Stage 3 from Glas-dhoire to Leiterfearn

Stage 3 – Glas-dhoire wild campsite to Leiterfearn wild campsite.

 

Stage 4: Leiterfearn Wild Campsite to Inver Coille Camping

Distance & Elevation: 11.51 mi // +1,488 ft, -1,537 ft 
Where to stay: 
Inver Coille Camping
Description:

Stage 4 takes walkers to the end of Loch Oich before tracing the route of the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus at the tip of Loch Ness. Just past Fort Augustus you’ll have the option to take the first high-route variant of the Great Glen Way, which we recommend.

However, do keep in mind that taking the high-route here will require some backtracking on the main trail to reach the Inver Coille Campground. We think it is worth it for the excellent views, but be sure to consider your own situation before opting to take the high route.

Your campground at the end of Stage 4 is the Inver Coille Campground, a lovely spot on the shores of Loch Ness. Keep in mind that given the current situation it is advised to inquire ahead at the campground, as they are unsure if they will be able to accommodate tent campers in 2021.

Services at Inver Coille Camping

  • Toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Fire Pits
Map of Stage 4 from Leiterfearn to Inver Coille

Stage 4 – Leiterfearn wild campsite to Inver Coille Campground.

 

Tents at the Inver Coille Campground on the Great Glen Way

Lovely grounds at Inver Coille Camping. Photo courtesy of Inver Coille.

 

Stage 5: Inver Coille Camping to Borlum Farm Camping

Distance & Elevation: 17.11 mi // +2,731 ft, -2,759 ft 
Where to stay: 
Borlum Farm Camping
Description:

Stage 5 presents walkers on the Great Glen Way with another high-route option. This alternative leaves the main trail just past Invermoriston and rewards hikers with excellent views of Loch Ness. Keep in mind that Stage 5 is over 17 miles long, so if you opt to take the high-route be prepared for a full days walk.

Your campground at the end of Stage 5 is the Borlum Farm Campground, located on the outskirts of Drumnadrochit. This large campground can accommodate caravans as well as tent campers and features excellent services.

Services at Borlum Farm Camping

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • WiFi
  • Laundry facilities
  • Dish washing area

Price: Varies. See details here.

Map of Stage 5 from Inver Coille to Borlum Farm Camping

Stage 5 – Inver Coille to Borlum Farm.

 

Stage 6: Borlum Farm Camping to Inverness

Distance & Elevation: 20.1 mi // +2,052 ft, -2,083 ft 
Where to stay:
Bught Caravan & Campsite

Description:

You’ve made it to the final stage of the Great Glen Way!

The route saves the hardest stage for last, with the final day’s walk covering over 20 miles! Early in the stage you’ll leave the shores of Loch Ness and turn inland where a fair amount of climbing awaits. About midway through the stage you’ll pass the Abriachan Cafe & Campsite. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to break up this long final stage, or at least stop to enjoy a cup of tea.

Upon reaching Inverness you’ll have the option to camp at the Bught Caravan & Campsite on the edge of town. Alternatively, Inverness is a great place to splurge on a hotel after spending the past several nights in your tent!

Services at Bught Caravan & Campsite

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • WiFi
  • Laundry facilities
  • Small shop

Price: £12/person

Map of Stage 6 from Borlum Farm to Inverness

Stage 6 – Borlum Farm to Inverness.

 

What to Pack for Camping on the Great Glen Way

Packing for a camping trip along the Great Glen Way is an exercise in balancing needs vs wants. While having a few creature comforts can certainly make camping a more enjoyable experience, you’ll want to keep your pack weight as light as possible.

It’s simple- the heavier your pack, the harder your effort.

As such, we recommend focusing on bringing high-quality, lightweight equipment. With a little planning and strategy, you can keep the weight of your backpack manageable while still ensuring you have everything you need for your trip.

We’ve provided some general packing information for camping on the Great Glen Way below.

In general, you should be able to get by with a 40L – 60L backpack and the following essentials:

A hiker on the Great Glen Way

 

What’s Next?

You’re well on your way to an incredible camping experience on the Great Glen Way. However, you still have lots of preparation before you’re truly ready! Be sure to read our entire series on the Great Glen Way to learn everything you’ll need to know for your trip!

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Great Glen Way | Maps & Routes

The Great Glen Way is a classic Scottish walk connecting Fort William in the south with Inverness in the north. The route is a natural extension of the West Highland…

The Great Glen Way is a classic Scottish walk connecting Fort William in the south with Inverness in the north. The route is a natural extension of the West Highland Way, which finishes in Fort William. However, the Great Glen Way features much more loch-side walking, including along the famous Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. Traditionally, the walk is completed in 5 – 8 days, with six days seeming to be most common. 

Although the Great Glen Way visits some of the more remote parts of northern Scotland, it is still well served by a variety of small towns and accommodation options. These include quaint B&Bs, hostels, small hotels, and several campgrounds. This post will introduce the Great Glen Way through a series of maps, navigational resources, and more. 

Let’s get started.

Green hillside above Loch Ness

The green hillsides above Loch Ness are a highlight of the Great Glen Way.

 

In this Post

 

Where is the Great Glen Way?

The Great Glen Way is located in northern Scotland and connects the port town of Fort William in the south with Highlands capital of Inverness in the north. Along the way the route passes several idyllic lochs as it traces what is known as the Great Glen fault line. The walk is almost exclusively completed from south to north, although it can certainly be walked in the opposite directions as well.

The route is well served by a variety of small towns filled with friendly locals to compliment the stunning scenery this part of Scotland is known for.

The Great Glen Way is surprisingly easy to get to from the rest of Scotland and the UK, with plenty of rail connections available. Fort William is easily reached from Glasgow via the spectacular West Highland line while Inverness has good rail service to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. From the rest of the UK you can reach both Glasgow and Edinburgh by coach, train, or plane!

Map showing the location of the Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is located in Northern Scotland. Click to enlarge.

 

Between Fort William and Inverness the Great Glen Way provides some of the best walking in Scotland and is also much less crowded than other popular routes in the area. Highlights of the walk include tracing the length of the Caledonian Canal, walking along the famous Loch Ness, and finishing at the famous Inverness Castle. You’ll walk the length of three different lochs, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way.

The route is traditionally completed in six days walking, although it is possible to shorten or extend your walk to suit your own personal timeframe. It is possible to camp along the Great Glen Way as there are both developed campgrounds as well as some excellent wild camping spots along the route. For those that prefer sleeping indoors, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options at each stop along the way.

Below is the standard route for the Great Glen Way:

  • Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy
  • Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan
  • Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus
  • Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston
  • Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
  • Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness
Map of the Great Glen Way

Map of the Great Glen Way. Click to enlarge.

 

In addition to the standard route outlined above, there is also the option to take two high-route alternates between Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit. These alternate routes leave the lochside trail to climb into the hills adjacent to Loch Ness. These alternates provide exceptional views of the Loch and also provide a bit of variety to the walk and we recommend that most walkers seriously consider taking them.

The high routes are split over two days, with the first option leaving the main trail on stage 4 shortly after leaving Fort Augustus. The route then keeps walkers in the hills before descending back to the main trail just before reaching Invermoriston.

The next day, on stage 5, the second high-level route begins just after leaving Invermoriston and rejoins the main trail about half-way through the stage to Drumnadrochit.

Take a look at the map below for more detail on the Great Glen Way high-level alternate routes.

Great Glen Way High Route

The two high-route alternates on the Great Glen Way. Click to enlarge.

 

Interactive Great Glen Way map

The interactive Great Glen Way map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.

 

How long is the Great Glen Way?

The official Scotland Great Trails website lists the Great Glen Way as 125-kilometers long. While this is certainly an accurate estimate, we measure (via GPS) the Great Glen Way to be 118.8-kilometers or 73.8 miles long from Fort William to Inverness.

If you plan on taking either or both of the high-routes described above you’ll want to plan on covering a bit more distance.

However, the exact measurement of the trail will have little practical value to the average walker. The nature of long-distance walks provides that you will certainly walk further than any official trail length. Evening walks to stretch your legs, short detours to visit the local pub, and even the occasional side trip to a nearby attraction will all add up.

However, it is still helpful for trip planning purposes to have a sense of the total length as well as individual segment lengths on the Great Glen Way. The map below shows just that, with the approximate distances for the standard six stage itinerary shown in kilometers.

Note that these distances do not include the high-level routes and should only be used to get a general idea of distance.

Map of the Great Glen Way with stage distances

Stage distances on the Great Glen Way.

 

Great Glen Way Elevation Profile

The Great Glen Way is certainly not the most challenging walk in the Scottish Highlands, although it still has a not insignificant amount of elevation change.

Much of this is due to the undulating nature of the shorelines of the three Lochs that the route follows. The Great Glen Way has approximately 1,600 meters or 5,250 feet of elevation gain over its 119 kilometers. That averages out to approximately 267 meters of elevation gain per stage, although as you’ll see below it is not so evenly distributed.

The vast majority of the elevation gain occurs on the walk’s final two stages, with the final day being the most difficult in terms of both distance covered as well as elevation gained. The high point of the walk is reached on the final stage just after leaving the shores of Loch Ness and climbing to approximately 370 meters above sea-level.

However, don’t be deceived by the loch-side sections of the walk, as there is still significant elevation to be gained/lost here!

Trail in the Scottish Highlands

 

The elevation profile below will give you an overview of what each stage of the Great Glen Way entails in terms of total elevation change and distance. Elevation is shown on the left side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents a stop along the traditional six-stage walk, with the stop names shown at the top.

The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the stage. For instance, you can see that the stage from Drumnadrochit to Inverness is rather long in distance, while the stage from Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit has a lot of elevation gain.

Keep in mind that the profile below does not include either of the two high-route options, so count on some additional climbing if you plan to take those alternates.

When thinking about how many days or stages you’ll take to complete the Great Glen Way be sure to reference this elevation profile. It will give you a sense of how hard each day is and will let you see which stages may make sense to combine or split up on your walk.

Elevation profile for the Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way Elevation Profile.

 

Which maps should I carry on the Great Glen Way?

The Great Glen Way is generally a very well marked trail. You’ll find the Scotland Great Trails symbol on signposts and at trail junction along the route, making navigation fairly simple. This is especially helpful where different trails intersect with the Great Glen Way, giving the walker clear direction on where to go.

However, it is still quite easy to get turned around or otherwise off-track on the Great Glen Way due largely to the number of trail junctions encountered. For this reason, we recommend all walkers carry a few Great Glen Way maps to ensure they don’t spend an afternoon walking the wrong direction!

Our preference is generally to rely on GPS maps on our smartphones when out on a multi-day walk, and we can highly recommend this method for most walkers. All you’ll need is a GPX file for the route and a GPS app. We like Gaia GPS, although there are many great options available.

In addition to digital navigation methods, we also recommend you bring a paper map or map booklet of the Great Glen Way along on your walk. There is simply no replacement for a physical map, afterall you never know when you may find yourself with a dead battery rendering your GPS app useless!

There are several excellent physical maps available for the Great Glen Way, outlined below:

The Great Glen Way Guide & Map Booklet – Cicerone Guides
In our opinion, your best bet will be to pack this excellent resource from Cicerone Guides. Their Great Glen Way guidebook comes complete with a map booklet that contains helpful maps for the entire route, neatly organized into a small and portable booklet.

 

Harvey Maps Great Glen Way Map
Another convenient and highly recommended option is the Great Glen Way map published by Harvey Maps. This map consists of the entire Great Glen Way route, although it does not include much outside of the trail. It is also a bit larger and easier to read when compared to the Cicerone Map Booklet, which many walkers will prefer.

 

Ordnance Survey Explorer – Great Glen Way maps
Finally, no article on maps for the Great Glen Way would be complete without referencing Ordnance Survey maps. These detailed maps provide an excellent resource for the walk, although you’ll need to carry three OS maps to cover the entire route:

In addition, a weatherproof carrying case like this one wouldn’t hurt to have either.

Hiiker App Map

In addition to the paper map(s) you choose to carry, we recommend using the Hiiker app to navigate on the trail. The app features downloadable, printable, and interactive maps with tons of helpful information, such as elevation profiles, accommodation, and amenities. This is a great tool to have on your trek.

Apps and offline mapping

We highly recommend utilizing offline downloadable GPS maps on your smartphone to navigate while walking the Great Glen Way. This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also doesn’t require a cell phone signal (which you may not have) to display the map.

Our How to Navigate on the Tour du Mont Blanc post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your map. Although written for a different hike, this step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device for the Great Glen Way.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a simpler way to utilize offline GPS/GPX data, the Hiiker App does all of the work for you. The app allows you to download maps and trail information to your phone so that you can use it without the need for a cell signal or data.

Check out the Great Glen Way on the Hiiker App!

Stage-by-Stage Great Glen Way Maps

The Great Glen Way is most commonly walked in six stages, with a wide variety of accommodation options available at each point along the walk. The stage maps below provide a general outline for each of these six stages and we’ve also included the distance and elevation change for each day below.

Stage 1: Fort William to Gairlochy

Distance: 17.43 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +159 m / -132 m

Map of Stage 1 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 1 – Fort William to Gairlochy

 

Stage 2: Gairlochy to Laggan

Distance: 18.73 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +413 m / -407 m

Map of Stage 2 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 2 – Gairlochy to Laggan

 

Stage 3: Laggan to Fort Augustus

Distance: 17.24 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +238 m / -250 m

Map of Stage 3 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 3 – Laggan to Fort Augustus

 

Stage 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Distance: 11.72 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +507 m / -487 m

Map of Stage 4 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 4 – Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

 

Stage 5: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Distance: 23.32 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +701 m / -713 m

Map of Stage 5 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 5 – Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

 

Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Distance: 30.32 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +653 m / -665 m

Map of Stage 6 of the Great Glen Way

Stage 6 – Drumnadrochit to Inverness

 

Have an excellent Great Glen Way adventure!

We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Great Glen Way. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!

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