Itinerary - Loch Ness & The Great Glen Way - Self-Guided
5 Day: Self-Guided: Off Road Tour
Day1: Arrive Inverness
redspokes' Loch Ness & Great Glen Way self-guided cycling tour begins in the Highland capital city, Inverness. Flights to Inverness are routed from destinations across the UK and Europe. There are also good coach and rail links to Inverness. Taxis are readily available to take you to your hotel. For further details see Essential Information and your Joining Instructions. You have a free afternoon to explore the area. You could visit the Old Town and Victorian Market or St Andrew's Cathedral or take a circular walk from the castle along the river and through the Ness Islands.
You will be met by a redspokes representative this evening at your accommodation for a tour briefing and hire bike fitting. If you are unable to arrive this evening, please be sure to arrive no later than 08.30am on the morning of Day 2.
Day 2: Inverness to Invermoriston
Your self-guided cycling begins at the start of the Great Glen Way near Inverness Castle. You cycle down the northside of the loch through farmland and forested areas enjoying some lovely views. You’ll be riding on path, track and minor road tackling a few short steep stretches. You quickly begin the first climb of the day after an initial flat mile out of the city, heading toward Abriachan. The incline takes you over the next 12 miles. You are riding through an area that used to be an ancient forest and the habitat of lynx, wolves, bears and moose. You’ll then drop down in a fast descent over the next 4 miles riding alongside the loch. As you curve away from the water to Drumnadrochit, you’ll see Urquhart Castle perched on the shoreline. The Castle commands spectacular views across the water, especially from the top of its tower. It was the site of many battles and raids during the years it was in use, often switching hands and eventually being blown up by departing government forces in 1692 so that it could not be used by the Jacobites. There is also a full sized, working trebuchet siege engine in the castle grounds.
There is a long climb as you depart Drumnadrochit before you drop down slightly where you will have fantastic views over the loch. The remainder of your day’s cycling continues along the Great Glen Way on flatter terrain following the loch. Your ride ends in Invermoriston where the river crashes over waterfalls into Loch Ness, passing under a famous Thomas Telford bridge, built in 1813.
Cycling Distance: 32 miles (52.2 km)
Singletrack: 8%, Paths 63%, road 29%
Cycling Ascent: 2,919 ft (890 m)
Cycling Descent: 2m788 ft (850 m)
Accommodation: Guest House/B&B (B)
Day 3: Invermoriston to Foyers
It’s a relatively flat start today as you cycle through scenic pine forest for the first 12km to reach Fort Augustus. This bustling village, at the southern end of Loch Ness, lies on the 60- mile Caledonian Canal halfway between Inverness and Fort William. It was built around the locks that lower the canal to the level of the loch. The village is a good place to stop for a break – and perhaps watch some boats navigating the locks – before continuing the ride.
The next stretch is the most challenging part of your cycling tour. It’s also the furthest point from Inverness, where you will truly experience the wild and rugged beauty of the Highlands. Leaving Fort Augustus, the 9km ascent of Glendoe is broken into 3 stages. There’s an initial steep climb away from the loch, followed by a short descent. The next section is a challenging ascent, then a flattish section. The final push leads to the rocky summit of Glendoe, where you are well rewarded for your exertions. There are panoramic views from the Suidhe Viewpoint across sweeping glens, the southern end of Loch Ness and neighbouring Loch Mhòr.
It's then back in the saddle for an undulating ride through more incredible Highland scenery to Foyers on the eastern shores of Loch Ness. During the final 16km of the day, the peace and tranquillity are broken by the occasional picturesque hamlet. On arrival in Foyers, make sure you visit the Falls of Foyers. This impressive waterfall, set in a dramatic gorge, feeds Loch Ness and inspired a poem by Robert Burns.
If you are looking for a gift or momento of your self-guided tour, there’s a ‘crafty bothy’ in the village selling locally-made arts and crafts.
Cycling Distance: 23 miles (37 km)
Singletrack: 21%, Paths 56%, road 24%
Cycling Ascent: 2,230 ft (680 m)
Cycling Descent: 1,935 ft (590 m)
Accommodation: Hotel/B&B (B)
Day 4: Foyers to Inverness
The final day of your Scottish cycling holiday is packed with more dramatic Highland scenery. Leaving Foyers, much of the ride is alongside magnificent Loch Ness or through the grasslands, ancient woodlands and forest-covered hills that carpet its shores.
You experience the real beauty of the area – and feel at one with nature – on single-track cycle trails and secluded paths, with only a third of today’s route on road. There’s a challenging 7km climb this morning followed by an exhilarating descent. The second half of the day is mainly on undulating terrain as you head ever closer to Inverness.
Just past the historic Highland village of Dores, you bid farewell to Loch Ness for the last time. The final stretch of your cycling adventure is through moorlands and wooded areas until you reach the outskirts of the city. Welcome back to Inverness where your self-guided tour ends.
Cycling Distance: 30.7 miles (38.2 km)
Singletrack: 6%, Paths 57%, road 37%
Cycling Ascent: 1938 ft (591 m)
Cycling Descent: 2,362 ft (720 m)
Day 5: Inverness - Home
redspokes Loch Ness & Great Glen Way cycling tour ends this morning.
"Cycling the stunning landscapes of Loch Ness and the Great Glen Way was an experience like no other. Nestled amidst the picturesque Scottish Highlands, this adventure offered a breathtaking blend..."