Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a hodge-podge of traditional Scottish travel routes containing tow paths, drove roads, single-track road and trail, railways, old military paths, and Forestry Commission roads. The path runs through the Highlands from Fort William on the West Coast to Inverness on the East.

Leaving from Fort William.  Vic with her shopping bike and Jack the man who made it all happen.

The initial plan was to spend five days cycling, camping, and eating at pubs. On Day one we followed the Caledonian Canal for fifteen miles with a detour to Spean Bridge for fish and chips and a pint.

Neptune's Staircase.  A series of eight locks along the Caledonian canal.

Gorse and Bramble.
It was a real treat to eat wild brambles throughout the ride.

A typical single-track road

Pork Pies and Bakewell Tarts, perfect road food.

Day two we camped along the canal with a group of Finns walking the GGW.  The "informal" camping was free and well maintained and open to all boaters, hikers, bikers, and horse riders.

The middle sign reads "You are entering remote sparsely populated dangerous mountain country.
Please ensure you are adequately experienced and equipped to complete your journey without assistance."
(Foreshadow, Foreshadow, Foreshadow)

The Great Glen Way has been travelled for centuries.  The geological fault that runs nearly coast to coast has four lochs linked by the Caledonian Canal which is the engineering genius of Thomas Telford.

After a rainy day four we stayed at a hostel in Drumnadrochit along Loch Ness, the home of Nessie.
More fish and chips were required to fuel our finely tuned bodies for what we hoped would be a final push into Inverness.

The beginning of day five was two miles of pushing on uphill single track that was so slow we realized another day would be needed to reach Inverness.  That extra day was ultimately not needed as Mike's wheel sheared off and we were forced to hike out and find help.  Luckily, about three separate parties did their good deeds for the day and got us to Inverness where Vic's dad met us to take us home to a warm, dry bed.

Vic's shopping bike turned cargo hauler.  At first we tried putting Mike's bike on the front, but that was a steering disaster.


  1. What a beautiful adventure! Scotland has made it onto my bucket list now! It was great seeing the two of you, I hope we can do it again soon!

    1. I hope you do get to Scotland, it's a fun place to visit. Maybe see you in Moab if you get the chance or I will try to get up to the SLC area.