Experience Scotland’s top attractions on the Great Glen Cycleway. This fantastic self-guided bike tour follows a Scottish coast to coast route, primarily along the Great Glen Way National Trail.
The ride contains many highlights of Scotland, including views of Ben Nevis (the highest peak in the United Kingdom), the mysterious Loch Ness, historic Fort William and the capital of the Scottish Highlands: Inverness, which is Scotland’s north-most city. The cycling follows canal towpaths and forest tracks and is mainly easygoing, however there are some sections on gravel fire roads and hills that can be challenging. The Great Glen Way Cycle is the ideal bike holiday to experience Scotland.
Make your own way to Fort William. There are traces left of the original fort built to keep the dreaded Highlanders at bay. Today the town is the “Chamonix” of Scotland with a proliferation of outdoor shops, cafes, bookshops and bars. If you have an extra night and you are an experienced hill walker, you could climb Ben Nevis (Scotland's highest mountain), or take a boat trip to “Seal Island” to see the grey seals loitering around.
Accommodation: We have selected several bed & breakfasts and guesthouses in Fort William all offering ensuite facilities.
Meet your hire bike and once you are familiar with its functions, follow the Great Glen Way markers from the ruins of Fort William. It is an Hanoverian Fort at the seaside of Loch Linnhe built to quell the Jacobites. Roll out passing underneath the mass of Ben Nevis and past an even older castle fortress at Inverlochy, which is worth a browse. Cycle along to cross the River Lochy and at the loch at Corpach, you may get some great views of Ben Nevis. Now join the tow path to the famous Caledonian Canal. Via various natural lochs and man-made canal sections, this runs all the way through Inverness and into the Moray Firth. You shortly ascend gently by the watery escalator of eight locks known as 'Neptune's Staircase'. They bring the boats up or down to or from sea level. Your bike ride stays on the towpath until you reach Gairlochy. It is fairly flat going up to this point, then the route heads round the west side of Loch Lochy changing onto a gravelly fire road. There'll be a bit of ascent around the loch shore before reaching South Laggan with its lock system. You could have a break here, as an old Dutch sailing barge doubles as pub/restaurant nearby on the canal. The bike trail leaves the walking path at this point and heads up into the forest above the loch before you descend through trees into the village of Invergarry which has a castle.
Accommodation: A proud Victorian lodge, with inside a comfortable modern feel with tiled and oak flooring and under-floor heating. Rooms have tea & coffee making facilities, TV, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. It is in a quiet setting.
After breakfast, tackle your first steep hill on the climb behind Invergarry up through Nursery Woods, with commanding views of Loch Oich wherever there are breaks in the trees. Your cycling route returns to the loch and then undulates on a single track through the woods to cross the beautiful chain-tapered suspension bridge built in 1854, bringing you into Aberchalder. Here you rejoin the Caledonian Canal towpath and the Great Glen walking trail. This pretty and relaxing section gives you time to rest your legs along the towpath to Fort Augustus. As you reach the town, there is another series of boat locks before you reach the shores of Loch Ness. You might fancy the idea of locking up your bike and take a pleasure cruise on the loch to see the famed but normally rare monster. Either way, Fort Augustus is a good place to snack up before ascending back into the forest above the loch on the fire roads. Some of the climbs are quite steep and there is no harm in walking a hill, have your camera ready for some dramatic views of Loch Ness and mountains. A sharp descent into Invermoriston follows. A pretty feature here are the falls of the Moriston River under the old Thomas Telford Bridge (1813). Another very steep climb takes you back onto the undulating balcony track above the loch for another 12 miles/20km or so until you start to descend into the unusual Scottish village with a green called Drumnadrochit. It has been a long day of cycling, but if you have the time and inclination you can cycle a couple of kms extra to Urqhart Castle, one of the most dramatically situated in Scotland.
Accommodation: We have selected for you a mixture of B&B's in the bustling town of Drumnadrochit, all well appointed.
The first part of today's cycling day climbs sharply out of Drumnadrochit away from Loch Ness through forest and up some 370 metres / 404 yards around the flanks of 'Carn na Leitire.' You then descend past Loch Laide to join minor roads and forest tracks deeper into the hills and fields that surround the Great Glen. The route takes you through beautiful remote moorland and wooded countryside then begins the descent into Inverness, along the River Ness. The ride takes you to finally arrive at Inverness and the "capital of the highlands." This is an attractive and interesting small city which has a slight frontier feel to it. You will have earned to relax and celebrate completing the Great Glen Cycle route.
It is worth having an extra day in Inverness; The National Trust Culloden Battle site is a short bus ride away and a bit further afield is Fort George, a fascinating complex built to protect Scotland from French invasion.
Accommodation: Tonight's guesthouse is a family-run hotel located in a Victorian Villa that dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century.
Depart Inverness for your onward travel.
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The hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts on this trip along the Great Glen Cycleway are family-run, clean and comfortable (ranging from 2 to 4 stars), and provide access to local living thanks to your hosts. The hospitality is generous and their local knowledge is invaluable. Where possible, we choose locations that add to your experience.
If you decide not bring your own, you can rent a bicycle through us. You can choose from a range of bicycles suitable for your route. As well as providing you with the different options available, our team can organise the rental for you. Just contact us for details.
Once all confirmed, you will find your rental bikes waiting for you at your first hotel or at an alternative meeting point. When your bike is handed over to you, you'll also be provided with items such as the keys, chain lock, helmet and spare inner tube.
Minimum 1 person
Average cycling distance is around 26 miles / 42km a day, nevertheless the days are quite full-on especially if you intend visiting attractions along the way. The route starts fairly flat but gets harder from Loch Oich with short steep hills and a longer one on the last cycling day of around 370m. Surfaces include tarmac, forest trails with tree roots, gravel fire and forestry roads, and stony single track. They do not involve technical mountain biking and as long as care is taken, the ride should be within the abilities of average mountain bikers. If you prefer, it is possible to opt out of the gravel tracks and follow the roads alongside the lochs all the way to Inverness.
4 nights included
Hotels, inns, guesthouses, and B&Bs
4 breakfasts included
Daily departures between April and October
Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
Bike hire not included and can be booked through us. Hire of a mountain bike is around £80 for 3 days plus £30 return fee and an additional £50 refundable deposit. E-bikes for 3 days are around £180 plus £30 return fee and an additional £50 refundable deposit.
One piece of luggage per person transferred between accommodations, not to exceed 20kg
Nearest train stations are Inverness and Glasgow
Nearest airports: Glasgow and Inverness
Nearest train stations: Inverness and Glasgow