Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal Walk

From $916 per person

****# Based on 3 customer reviews
CC BY mendhak / flickr
  • World-famous Loch Ness: wild, beautiful and slightly mysterious
  • Dramatic gorges, brooding lochs, tumbling waterfalls, breathtaking views at every turn
  • Superb bird-spotting: ospreys, red kites, peregrines, buzzards, magnificent golden eagles
  • Red squirrels, red deer, pine martins and even dolphin sightings!
  • Rich Scottish Highlands clan culture and history

What's included?

  • 5 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every day from 29 Sep '16 to 30 Sep '16
  • Full Scottish Breakfasts
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 89%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Walking transfers included

Excellent for...

Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal Walk

Few places stir the imagination like Loch Ness; a jewel in Scotland's crown and a window to its wild and wistful soul. This is a magical place of undisputed natural beauty, shrouded in mystery and legend, where history and heritage are greatly revered.

Our 5-night self-guided walk explores the remote, southern side of Loch Ness where shady forests, tumbling waterfalls and rolling, heather-clad moors provide a misty backdrop to some of the most spectacular hiking in the Scottish Glens. It's a timeless and kaleidoscopic landscape and the place to visit if you want peace, tranquillity and an 'escape from it all' experience.

The walking is relaxed, with few serious climbs, taking in: the serene Caledonian Canal, a section of the Great Glen Way, pretty Beauly Firth and a wealth of lochs and rivers whose glassy waters mirror the seemingly endless sky. Plant and birdlife are prolific, and there's a high probability of spotting deer too.

The south side of Loch Ness was once the main military route from Fort Augustus to Inverness, and its undiscovered woodland, quiet paths and remote villages are steeped in history. Everywhere you'll be staying has its own unique appeal: a Victorian former mansion; a Highlands country inn; a friendly B&B with direct beach access, and a luxury riverside hotel in the heart of Inverness.

Varied walking following a mixture of woodland paths, country lanes and forest tracks. Some steep, but relatively short, ascents and descents, but a good head for heights is not necessary.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Invergarry

Arrive at the wonderful riverside village of Invergarry on the freshwater shores of Loch Oich.

Day 2 The Great Glen Way 13km/8mi/3hr or 18km/11.5mi/4.5hri

After breakfast you set off along a section of the magnificent Great Glen Way - arguably Scotland's finest long-distance footpath - as it passes through beautiful forest overlooking the tranquil Loch Oich. Keep your eyes peeled for ospreys, red kites and rare golden eagles soaring the skies above as you come to the historic Bridge of Oich (built in 1854) and join the Caledonian Canal towpath. Backed by fern-clad hills - and carpeted with purple orchids in summer - it follows the foaming River Oich to Fort Augustus, superbly positioned at the southern tip of iconic Loch Ness. Here you'll find the lovely, eco-conscious Lovat Hotel where you're guaranteed to eat well - the excellent restaurant was recently awarded the coveted three AA Rosettes - and you'll have the chance to sample seasonally changing menus as well as 120+ whiskies!.

Day 3 South Loch Ness Trail to Foyers 16km/10mi/5hr

Spectacular views of the wild and timeless Highlands open up this morning as you follow the South Loch Ness Trail from Loch Tarff over the Suidhe Viewpoint (1200ft). Pass through the traditional village of Whitebridge - a cracking lunch stop - where you'll find General Wade's old military bridge, before continuing through shaded forest (good chance of spotting shy red deer) and along tranquil riverside trails to Rabbie Burns' famous Falls of Foyers: an incredible 140ft waterfall which drops dramatically into the gorge to feed Loch Ness. You spend tonight in the Craigdarroch Inn close by.

Day 4 Foyers to Dores 15km/9.5mi/3.5hr or 19km/12mi/5hr

Either walk (or take a bus ride) up through the atmospheric Boleskine woods to Inverfarigaig, a remote riverside hamlet nestled under the brooding crags of Dun Deardail on Ness's south-eastern shore. Heading off through meadows and woodland - with wild yellow primrose, foxgloves and bluebells - you'll stroll in magnificent solitude, give or take the occasional red squirrel! Drink in uninterrupted views from the Fair-Haired Lad's Pass down over Loch Ness, and across to the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the other side, before a final forested descent to the peaceful village of Dores where your friendly B&B sits directly on the shingle shores of Loch Ness.

Day 5 The Caledonian Canal and Beauly Firth Circular Walk 12km/7.5mi/4hrly Firth Circular Walk 12km/

It's a short bus ride first to Inverness, a thriving riverside city and unofficial capital of the Scottish Highlands. In order to fully get the most out of today, we've created a relatively short circular walk - taking in the Ness Islands (look out for anglers casting long lines to leaping Atlantic salmon!), the sea locks at Beauly Firth and the Kessock Bridge Dolphin Centre - before looping back to Inverness in time to explore its specialist shops and cafes, and stroll riverside beneath the pink crenellated castle, perched proudly above the Gothic old town.

Day 6 Leave Inverness

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Invergarry Hotel, Invergarry   (4 Star)

Invergarry Hotel

Located in the small Highland village of Invergarry, not far from the shores of Loch Oich, lies the Invergarry Hotel. A lovely 4 Star Country Inn, the hotel dates from 1885 and boasts furnishings and decor designed to give the feel of a Highland country lodge. With a brasserie that has been recommended in the Michelin Good Food & Hotel Guide for the last five years and a bar offering a selection of over 50 whiskies, this is a fine place to spend the night.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Tea/coffee facilities

The Lovat, Fort Augustus   (4 Star)

The Lovat Hotel

The Lovat is an award-winning eco-conscious hotel, situated on the southern tip of Loch Ness. The beautiful Victorian building with authentic décor is located in the loch-side village of Fort Augustus and has a restaurant which, in 2007, was named a Top 10 Restaurant in Scotland by the Press and Journal. It was recently awarded three AA rosettes for culinary excellence.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Craigdarroch Inn, Foyers   (4 Star)

Situated in the village of Foyers on Loch Ness' southern side, surrounded by heather covered hills, sparkling lochs and breath-taking views, with the famous 'Falls of Foyers' waterfall just minutes' walk away. This country inn has a peaceful ambience, with the comfortable feel of a Highland lodge. The public rooms offer spectacular views over Loch Ness; a perfect place to sit, relax and do a spot of Nessie hunting. It’s also possible to sample one of the many whiskies available.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Balachladaich, Dores   (4 Acorn)

Balachladaich, Dores

Situated on the tranquil south side of Loch Ness, just outside the peaceful village of Dores, Balachladaich is a brand new, purpose built Bed and Breakfast, and the only B&B to be located directly on the shores of south Loch Ness. With direct access from the house straight to the beach, they will even supply wellies so you can have a paddle! The luxurious guest rooms have en-suite bathrooms and loch facing balconies / decking areas, offering a tranquil space for relaxing after a good day’s cycling.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness   (3 Star)

Set along the tree lined banks of the River Ness in the shadow of Inverness Castle is The Glen Mhor Hotel. The Glen Mhor is a collection of stylish Victorian townhouses situated just minutes’ walk from Inverness town centre and railway station and offers classic Highland hospitality. There is a restaurant offering an informal atmosphere and dining inspired by French cuisine. There is also an extensive whiskey collection in the bar.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Travel options

Transfers included from Inverness to Invergarry at start. Times vary according to arrival.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mr Burridge on 20/08/2016

*****
A very enjoyable active holiday with wonderful scenery.

Reviewed by Mr Stansbury on 28/07/2015

***#.
Notes need to be refreshed - paths have changed in places (wind damage) and other minor inaccuracies. Craigdarroch Inn room disappointing - it was over the kitchen and smelt of cooking all night. Rooms need to have bathrooms not shower-rooms to help recover after each day's walking. Timings for walking need to take into account bus times in order to have realistic expectations of where and when to stop for lunch (3rd and last days)

Reviewed by Mr Gray on 05/07/2015

*****
This is the perfect holiday in which to experience the grandeur of the Highlands while using a brand new, but sparsely populated, long distance trail. The accommodation en route is of the highest order and compares favourably with similar Headwater packages on the Continent. I sincerely hope it is a success as I would dearly love to repeat the exercise.

Departure dates & prices

May 2016 departuresTour only 
May 1$916
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September 2016 departuresTour only 
Sep 1$984
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Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided walking, hotel-to-hotel. Managed by Headwater appointed agent.

Departures

Every day from 29 Sep '16 to 30 Sep '16, for 6 days (5 nights).

Meals

Full Scottish Breakfasts.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Inverness to Invergarry at start. Times vary according to arrival.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

We'd like to keep you informed of our latest news and special offers. Please tick here if you'd rather not receive our free e-newsletter.
We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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  • Relaxed activity holidays since 1985

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