Great Glen Way (Scotland)
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Fort William to Inverness
Day 1 Sunday: We'll begin our journey with a 10.5-mile, 3½-hour hike over level terrain along a canal towpath, past aqueducts and a spectacular flight of locks known as Neptune's Staircase. A delightfully scenic walk with views of the River Lochy and Ben Nevis (Great Britain's highest peak) brings us to our first day's destination - the village of Gairlochy on the northern end of Loch Lochy.
Day 2 Monday: Today's 14.5-mile, 5-hour hike begins in forest along the western shore of Loch Lochy. We'll follow this shoreline path through the tiny hamlets of Bunarkaig and Clunes, all the while enjoying stunning views of the Nevis Range. As we approach Laggan, we'll pass near the site of the 1544 Clan Battle of the Shirts. Across the Laggan Swing Bridge, the trail follows the eastern edge of Loch Oich to Aberchalder, where we'll stop for the night.
Day 3 Tuesday: We start our 4-hour, 12.5-mile hike along a canal towpath, and soon pass by the Kytra and Cullochy Locks, where we'll get a glimpse of the cliffs of Torr Dhuin to the north, and the Iron Age fort perched atop. As we reach historic Fort Augustus, we'll catch sight of the imposing Abbey, which until recently housed Benedictine monks. Now on the western bank of Loch Ness, we pass above the wooded headland of Portclair to Dalcataig, and then on a high forest trail to today's destination, Invermoriston. Nessie watches over our peaceful repose.
Day 4 Wednesday: Wednesday's 5-hour, 14-mile hike leads us first along the bonny banks of Loch Ness. A fairly steep climb past the sentry peaks of Creag nan Eun and Creag Dhearg brings us to the crofting community of Grotaig. The trail continues high above the Loch, and then descends through woodland to Drumnadrochit, where we'll spend the night.
Day 5 Thursday: On our last morning, we climb steadily through farmland, and as we gain elevation we're treated to stunning views of Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, and superb vistas westward of mountains and deep glens. We'll pass through a short section of rugged heather moorland to Abriachan, and then by the pastoral hamlets Lochlait and Ladycairn. We end our trek in Blackfold, from where we'll transfer by van to Inverness for a celebratory farewell lunch.