Take on the West Highland Way & Great Glen Canoe Trail

Scotland’s Great Trails

If you’re looking for an awesome challenge to test not only your stamina but also your mental resolve, then why not consider this 250km challenge.  Raise for money for your favourite charity or do it just to test yourself.

West Highland Way (WHW)

conic hill The 154Km (96miles) Route starts at Milngavie passes through Mugdock Country Park, follows the shores of Loch Lomond, passing Ben Lomond, through Glen Falloch and Strathfillan, crossing Rannoch Moor, past Buachaille Etive Mor to the head of Glencoe, climbing the Devil’s Staircase, descending to sea level to cross the River Leven at the head of Loch Leven before entering Lairigmor and Glen Nevis and finishes at Gordon Square in Fort William.

The terrain ranges from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands. These environments provide habitats for a diverse range of wildlife species, both flora and fauna.

How long you decide to take is up to you, but why not aim for 5 or 6 days to make your way north to Fort William, setting yourself up for the next stage of the challenge.

Great Glen Canoe Trail (GGCT)

Loch ness from the airThe Great Glen Canoe Trail follows the 96km (60 miles) of the Caledonian Canal from Corpach (Fort William) in the West to Clachnaharry (Inverness) in the East. We would recommend you take to the waters in open canadian canoes or sea kayaks as with these craft you will have capacity to carry all the clothes, food and equipment necessary for your adventure. We do not recommend that inexperienced paddlers attempt the open waters of the Trail in inflatables or ‘sit on tops’.

In an open canoe the Canoe Trail can comfortably be covered in around five days. If you are paddling a sea kayak, you are likely to be able to complete the Trail in three to four days. There are many factors to consider when planning your visit which will affect how many miles you cover each day. Experience, craft choice, group size, weather conditions and fitness will all need to be added to the equation.

You will be paddling on man-made canals, the open waters of Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, the slightly more sheltered waters of Loch Oich and Loch Dochfour and you may even decide, if suitably skilled and experienced, to take on the River Oich, River Ness or the River Lochy to further your adventure and reduce your portaging around the canal lock gates.

The challenge is not to be underestimated though. There have been recordings of waves in excess of 3 metres in height just off Dores Beach (Loch Ness), so some days on the open waters of Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, you may not even be able to go onto the water.

Imagine the sense of achievement (and probably relief) at completing the 250km route.  This one definitely comes with bragging rights!

If you decide to take on the challenge we’d love to see your expedition report: it would make a great blog article.

How to find out more:

West Highland Way Great Glen Canoe Trail Canoe or kayak hire options

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