The spectacular Cairngorms National Park is easy to reach from Inverness. You can travel to Aviemore on the west side of the park by train or car in around 40 minutes. This is the largest National Park in Scotland and the UK and there is so much to do here! Walking and cycling, watersports and outdoor activities, family attractions, historic landmarks and so much more.
The Cairngorms is the place to go for outdoor activities in Scotland. It has two excellent watersports centres at Loch Insh and Loch Morlich. Here, you can enjoy fishing, sailing, swimming, rafting, windsurfing and much more. Along with the Cairngorm Mountain activity centre, which offers snowsports, adventure play and guided walks. Other popular outdoor activities in the Cairngorms include dog sledding and bungee jumping. There’s everything from family adventure parks to extreme sports for thrill-seekers.
The Caledonia Way is a cycle route that runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, along 235 miles of challenging terrain. It follows the Kintyre Peninsula and the Great Glen Way, passing Loch Ness, Ben Nevis and also many Scottish landmarks and historical sites.
The route begins at Campbeltown, on the magnificent Kintyre Peninsula. It passes through many Scottish towns and villages, including Tarbert, Ardrishaig, Ford, Oban, Dunbeg, Connel, Benderloch, Duror, Dalnatrat, Appin, Ballachullish, Corran, Fort William, Gairlochy, Abercalder, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores. Ending in the city of Inverness, the beautiful capital of the Highlands.
You can find the full route on the Sustrans website, split into three sections:
Please note there are two gaps in this route, due to unavoidable constraints. You’ll find details of these in the Oban to Fort William section above.
The Caledonian Canal isn’t just a fantastic feat of engineering, it’s also a great place for short walks in Scotland.
The Dochgarroch Loop is one of the most popular circular routes. The walk starts and ends at Tomnahurich Bridge in Inverness, Scotland. Suitable for all abilities, you can walk, run or cycle the 7.5 mile canal paths.\
Or, you can walk in the opposite direction towards Clachnaharry. This is one of the popular Caledonian Canal walks, taking you to Caley Marina. Where you’ll spot boats of all sizes. Including the ‘Lord of the Glens’, the largest boat to sail on the Caledonian Canal. You could even stop off at Merkinch Nature Reserve or head for Clachnaharry Lock for some breath-taking photo opportunities. The whole walk is just under 5 miles and will take about 1.5 hours. But you can take a shortcut and cross the Canal at Muirtown swing bridge, if you’re in a bit of a hurry.
Tomnahurich Bridge to Clachnaharry Sea Locks
From Tomnahurich Bridge you can also go in the opposite direction along the Canal all the way to the sea lock at Clachnaharry, where the boats that have come through the canal go out to sea. Start the walk on the same side of the canal as the old bridge keeper’s house and walk along the towpath towards Muirtown locks – the path is level and suitable for walkers of all abilities as well as cyclists.
There is lots to see along the way – the towpath takes you past Caley Marina, Muirtown locks, Muirtown swing bridge and Muirtown basin. You are guaranteed to see boats of all shapes and sizes moored at Caley Marina and Muirtown basin, from small sailing boats to barges and the largest vessel to sail the Caledonian Canal, the “Lord of the Glens”. Before you reach the sea lock you will have to cross a railway line, so be very careful! After Muirtown basin you will see a waymarker to “Merkinch Nature Reserve” – this is well worth a visit, but we will leave it until another time!
At Clachnaharry sea lock you have reached the very end of the Caledonian Canal, where boats can sail out into the Moray Firth and ultimately the North Sea. This is a very picturesque spot, don’t forget your camera/phone!
Walk across the lock gates to return to Tomnahurich on the opposite side of the Canal. As you walk along Muirtown basin, keep an eye out on your right for the famous Titanic model!
As you pass Caley Marina on your way back, have a look at the lovely cabin cruisers at “Caley Cruisers” – you can hire them for a long weekend or longer to sail along the Caledonian Canal as far as Banavie near Fort William, a great way of discovering the whole of the famous Canal! If you’re not feeling brave enough to skipper your own boat just yet, Jacobite offer short trips from Tomnahurich Bridge, the start/finish point of your walk.
Reelig Glen is an ancient forest, known locally as Fairy Glen. This old woodland by the Moniack River historically belonged to the Fraser family, until the Forestry Commission bought it in 1949. In the 19th century, James Baillie Fraser planted many of the trees here. It is now a popular walking area, with two waymarked trails. And these walks are ideal for spotting red squirrels in the Highlands, pine martins, birdlife and many other fantastic creatures.
The glen is famous for its grove of Douglas firs. And four of the tallest trees in Britain grow there .. a Douglas fir, Norway spruce, larch and lime tree. All measuring higher than 45m!
It is often called Fairy Glen, due to its secluded setting with magical glades and atmospheric waters.
Reelig Glen is to the west of Inverness, around a 20-minute drive via the A862. Visit Forestry and Land Scotland website for driving instructions and further information.
Glen Affric is a magnificent glen and national nature reserve, located within the Strathglass valley in the Scottish Highlands. Ancient forests of Caledonian pinewood, heather moorland, sparkling lochs and towering mountains make up its stunning landscapes. The glen is known as the most beautiful in Scotland and is popular for walking, climbing and mountain biking.
The first car park you’ll come to in Glen Affric is Dog Falls. A series of waterfalls, so-called because they resemble the shape of a dog’s leg. There are three walking trails here with wonderful views.
This is a great picnic spot with car parking, looking out to Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain. Although there are no waymarked routes, there are some smaller paths, which will take you down to the loch.
There are many different biking trails around Glen Affric and the Strathglass area. Cycling and mountain biking guide.
This is a cross-country walking and cycling route, which starts in Drumnadrochit and ends in Morvich, passing through The Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. The Affric Kintail Way is for experienced walkers and bikers who enjoy a challenge.
The Affric Kintail Way stretches from Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness to Morvich on Loch Duich. A challenging trail, recommended for experienced walkers and cyclists. This long-distance route is 44 miles long and passes through forest tracks, roads and some quite rough terrain, reaching an ascent of over 6000 feet. Because of its wild and remote landscapes, it’s important to be prepared. So bring a map, compass, torch, good footwear and appropriate clothing.
Length: 20 km
Walk time: 6 hours
Section Two follows a forest track, taking you to a car park on the public road up Glen Affric.
You’ll find full instructions on Section Two of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.
Length: 16 km
Walk time: 5 hours
Section Four brings you to the end of the route at Morvich in Kintail, on Loch Duich.
You’ll find full instructions on Section Four of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.
Combine this trail with the Great Glen Way and extend your journey to Inverness or Fort William.
The long distance walking trail, the Great Glen Way, is a challenging route through some of the most dramatic scenery in Scotland. 73 miles/117 km in length, it follows the entire length of the Great Glen from Fort William in the south west to Inverness in the north east. (You can also walk from Inverness to Fort William in the other direction, of course!). There are many spectacular views to enjoy along the way, with some awesome panoramas on the Loch Ness section of the walk. There are also lots of historic and natural heritage sites and information. The route is suitable for all levels of walker and takes up to 7 days to complete. A must do hill walk, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh a short diversion from the trail just south of Drumnadrochit. Highly recommended for the spectacular coast-to-coast views from the top!
Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours
Section One of the trail begins in Fort William and take you to the tiny village of Gairlochy.
You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Fort William to Gairlochy on the Great Glen Way website.
Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours
Section Three takes you to the popular town of Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal.
You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Laggan Locks to Fort Augustus on the Great Glen Way website.
Length: 23 km
Walk time: 4.5 hours
Section Five has a low route or high route option, taking you to the village of Drumnadrochit, home of Nessie.
You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit on the Great Glen Way website.
The Great Glen Way connects up with the South Loch Ness Trail at Inverness and Fort Augustus, creating a loop around the whole of Loch Ness. If you’d like to continue your route around the south side of the loch, please see the Loch Ness 360° Trail website. This epic journey takes around 6 days to complete or 3 days to cycle.
Meet the wild, unspoilt and uninterrupted side of Loch Ness. This trail forms part of the circular route around Loch Ness, the Loch Ness 360° Trail, connecting to the Great Glen Way. The South Loch Ness Trail meanders its way along the south side of Loch Ness on a mixture of minor roads, forest tracks and purpose-built trail. The 58 km trail starts in Fort Augustus and passes through Whitebridge, The Falls of Foyers, Inverfarigaig, Dores and eventually Torbreck near Inverness.
Length: 25 km
Walk time: 6 hours
Section One of the trail begins at Fort Augustus and takes you to Foyers, through moorland, forest and open spaces.
You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Fort Augustus to Foyers on the WalkHighlands website.
Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours
Section Three is the final stage, taking you back to Torbreck, with the option to continue on to Inverness.
You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Dores to Torbreck on the WalkHighlands website.
This stunning walking and cycling trail combines the South Loch Ness Trail with the Great Glen Way, to create a circular route around Scotland’s most famous loch. The route starts in Inverness and then passes through Aldourie, Dores, Foyers, Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and many more beautiful and fascinating places around Loch Ness. Whether you walk, run or cycle the trail. Whether you choose to do the whole loop or a few sections of it. This is one of the best ways to see Loch Ness in all its glory!
Cutting clean through Scotland’s Great Glen and connecting Inverness to Fort William, the Caledonian Canal is one of the great waterways of the world. The Caledonian Canal offers visitors spectacular scenery. With many exciting opportunities to experience this unique waterway on foot, by bike or by boat. People return each year to enjoy Scottish holidays on this dramatic canal. Boating holidays here are particularly popular on the Caledonian Canal. As the canal opens up into Loch Ness, where boaters can sail the waters of this vast Scottish loch. Who knows, whilst sailing Loch Ness you might even find the Loch Ness Monster!
Stretching from Fort William to Inverness, the Caledonian Canal is 60 miles long. 22 miles of which are man-made. Connecting the natural lochs of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, the famous Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. The canal is, even by today’s standards an amazing feat of engineering. First opened in 1822, it was constructed to help commercial shipping avoid the treacherous journey around the west coast. Unfortunately, by the time the canal was completed, many boats under sail had been replaced by steamships. Which were much better able to negotiate the west coast waters than their predecessors. So traffic through the canal never really paid for itself. Today, however, the canal is full of life with walkers, cyclists, leisure boaters and holidaymakers.