Distance: 129km / Elevation gain: +1640m
The Great Glen Cycle Way 5-day tour takes you on a journey across Scotland via one of its most glorious trails. It is a traverse rich in both natural and man-made wonders, making it one of the most historically and geologically fascinating regions of the UK.
Starting in Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis; Great Britain's highest peak, your adventure takes you in an almost perfectly North East line up the Great Glen fault. You will cycle alongside the 60 mile Caledonian Canal and the engineering marvel; the Neptune Staircase lock system. Visit fortresses of old, including the remains of the once great Urquhart Castle. Gaze across the great Loch Ness and three of its less famous, yet no less stunning sister Lochs. In between these landmarks lie miles upon miles of breathtaking scenery and an abundance of warm Scottish hospitality.
From tranquil canal side gravel paths to single track trails and forestry roads, you will experience everything from relaxing flat sections to your fair share of challenging hill climbs and exhilarating descents.
For a different paced version of this trip, you can opt for an e-bike or alternatively, check out our Great Glen Cycle Way 6-day tour!
Welcome to Fort William! Your adventure starts here. Fort William lies at the foot of Ben Nevis; the UK’s highest peak, and serves as our gateway into the Great Glen. A large supermarket and a main street full of outdoor shops should meet your every last minute shopping needs. If you’re keen on a hearty meal, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in town, too. Don’t forget to pick up your trusty bike before you settle in for the evening!
Enjoy your rest and get ready for a stunning day of cycling tomorrow!
Distance: 44.3km / Elevation gain: +345m
Your first day of cycling is the flattest of the 3 and acts as the perfect warm up ride. After leaving Fort William and the neighbouring Inverlochy, you set your intentions on the adventure ahead and point your front wheel due North East. Take a moment to appreciate the Neptune Staircase lock system – an engineering masterpiece, before pedaling your worries away along miles of tranquil canal side gravel paths. Ancient forests and stunning views over Loch Lochy await you next with ample lunch spots to choose from. Skirt the final hillside and descend into Invergarry – your home for the night. Enjoy a well earned meal and a good night’s sleep!
Distance: 48.3km / Elevation gain: +798m
Today’s section is both the longest and hilliest of the route, but with it comes many rewards. A short pedal along the A82 brings you back into the woods and along the hillside above Loch Oich. Descending back to the water, you will follow the Caledonian Canal for several kilometres until you reach Fort Augustus and the shores of the famous Loch Ness. Why not tie up the bikes to explore the wee town and a grab bite to eat?
Undulating forest roads lead you to your next destination – Invermoriston. Another opportunity to rest the muscles and step off track to have a good look at Invermoriston falls and the stone circle nearby.
A big climb awaits, and soon after the choice to take the High or Low route on your next leg. We highly recommend opting for the Low route on the bike as the high section is best suited for those on foot. The biggest hills of the day are saved for the last half, so pace yourself and take as much rest as you need (this is where the Electric Mountain Bikes really come in handy!).
A final, speedy road and short woodland section bring you into Drumnadrochit and your home for the evening. A lovely place to spend the night, absorbing your accomplishments of the day.
Distance: 36.3km / Elevation gain: +493m
We’re almost there! While significantly shorter than the first 2 days, plenty of challenging climbing awaits you in the first half of your final stretch, but what goes up must come down, and you will be treated to plenty of glorious downhill riding.
Be prepared to get off your bike and push up the technical hilly sections of the route if they prove too challenging, but there is great news in the form of cake, tea and coffee at the end of the hardest part. Do consider dropping into the wonderful Abrachian Forest campsite outdoor cafe on your way through – surprises await you!
The rest of the ride into the highland Capital involves a real treat in downhill cycling. Your final few kilometres through Inverness culminate in a finish line at the foot of Inverness castle – the perfect ending to a wonderful adventure.
Your Great Glen cycle ends here with memories that will last a lifetime!
includes & excludes
- 4 nights accommodation in charming B&Bs, Guesthouses and Hotels
- A hearty breakfast each morning
- Luggage Transfers from one accommodation to the next
- Detailed itinerary, GPX files and printable maps of your route
- Tips on local attractions, history & evening meals
- Flights and transfers to and from the trail heads
- Lunches & Dinners
- Bike rental (costs are added once you select your preferred bike type during the booking process)