This 66-mile route from Fort William to Inverness is part of the Caledonia Way. Travelling the length of the Great Glen, the first part of the route follows a combination of canal towpath, forest road and cycle path between Fort William and Fort Augustus. The second part mainly uses quiet roads to the east of Loch Ness, before ending at Inverness Castle. It’s a real Highland adventure.
When you start in Fort William remember to stock up on food and water as parts of this route are remote.
Near the beginning of the route you’ll reach Neptune's Staircase, a flight of eight canal locks. From here you get one of the finest views of Ben Nevis - if you’re lucky enough to catch it on one of the 70 days of the year when the summit is free from cloud.
After that you follow Route 78 and Great Glen Way signs along the canal to Gairlochy, then on minor road and forest road (some gradients) amongst the trees along the north side of Loch Lochy to Laggan Locks. At the locks, look out for a new, specially designed toilet block and refreshment kiosk, built as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative. From here you get a fine view down the loch.
Along the next section of the route you’ll pass Loch Oich where there is a wild campsite, a handy composting toilet and great views across the loch.
From there you’ll continue on to the halfway point at Fort Augustus. This is a busy little town, with many options for eating and accommodation. Stock up here if you need more food or drinks.
The second part of the route has a different character as it is mainly on-road. The cycle route diverges from the Great Glen Way walking route and follows the B862 out of Fort Augustus. This takes you along the south side of Loch Ness. There are some particularly steep and challenging hills during the first five miles but you are rewarded with fantastic views and a welcome long downhill stretch to Whitebridge.
Route 78 ends at Inverness Castle, which is also the end of the Great Glen Way walking route and is marked by one of the interpretation ‘monoliths’. Built-in 1836, the castle now houses the Inverness Sherriff Court and is not open to the public. From the castle, it is less than half a mile to the train station. From here you can join Route 1 north to John o'Groats or south to Aberdeen, or Route 7 south to Glasgow.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.