Great Glen Way Canoe Trail: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Fort William – Gairlochy
Our journey begins at Neptune’s Staircase, a series of canal locks rising up from the sea at Fort William, under the shadow of Scotland’s highest mountain Ben Nevis. This short section will give us some time to focus on efficient paddling techniques as well as discussion on safety points for the journey ahead. We paddle 8 miles along the canal to our first camp at Gairlochy.
Day 2 Gairlochy – Loch Oich
We leave the peaceful waters of the Caledonian canal and join Loch Lochy. For some, this is the most spectacular section of the journey as the mountains of Meall Na Teanga and Sron a Choire Gairbh rise straight up from the shores. This beautiful 12 mile paddle North will get you into the spirit of the journey. At Laggan Locks we rejoin the canal system for a short 2 mile section before entering Loch Oich and our 2nd camp site.
Day 3 Loch Oich – Fort Augustus
We will visit the monument of the Well Of The Seven Heads with its dark murderous past. Paddling up Loch Oich with the mountains soaring in every direction, we wind our way up through the little islands, passing the ruins of Invergarry castle once occupied by the chiefs of the Clan MacDonnell. On reaching the next section of the Caledonian Canal, water levels allowing, we may have the choice to paddle the River Oich (grade 2) which takes us all the way to Loch Ness and Fort Augustus with its Abbey, canal locks and range of traditional cafes and pubs. Here you have the option to camp or stay at a local hostel or guest house.
Day 4 Fort Augustus – River Ness
As we continue our journey northwards, and given favourable conditions, we hope to be able to sail our canoes the remaining 12 miles or so of Loch Ness. As we look back to the South, we can marvel at the distance covered. Soon we reach the peaceful Loch Dochfour with the remains of Aldourie Castle on our left. Further on we reach the junction of the Caledonian canal and the River Ness. We will set up our last camp at the entrance to the canal.
Day 5 River Ness – Inverness
Our final day and a decision must be made! We have the choice of finishing along the canal or, for the more adventurous, the final few miles have some fun rapids where we can give you some tips on white water technique. The journey ends with a beautiful run through the Ness Island rapids – Grade 1/2. Once through here, we float into Inverness with the Castle above. Now we can celebrate with a round of drinks.

Note – By their very nature journeys in remote or mountainous country can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Your guide/s may have to alter the itinerary to ensure group safety.


Depart Craigower Lodge 9am
Pick up in Fort William 10am
Drop off in Inverness around 4pm
Return to Craigower 5pm