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Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal Walk

from $1,879.00

Known for tales of the seldom seen monster, the area around Loch Ness is also famous for having some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the UK. Here numerous other lochs await discovery along with ruined castles, shady forests, tranquil waterways, high viewpoints, hidden waterfalls, a huge variety of wildlife (including many birds of prey and notably golden eagles) and a history that at times seems indiscernible from the area’s timeless folklore.

  • Reviews 5 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy plus
    4/8
All about the 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 6-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 a 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.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 6 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of *** and **** hotels
  • Full Scottish Breakfasts
  • Management by our local agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Walking transfers
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • 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 martens and even dolphin sightings!
  • Rich Scottish Highlands clan culture and history
  1. Day 1 Day 1: Arrive in Inverness

    Arrive in the wonderful waterside town of Inverness, the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands.

  2. Day 2 Day 2: The Great Glen Way 13km/8mi/3hr or 19km/12mi/4.5hr

    After a transfer this morning, from Inverness to Invergarry, set off along a section of the Great Glen Way, overlooking Loch Oich, to the historic Bridge of Oich. Continue along the Caledonian Canal towpath to Fort Augustus, at the southern tip of Loch Ness.

  3. Day 3 Day 3: At Fort Augustus

    Spend the day in Fort Augustus, walking in the surrounding woodland or taking a boat trip on the world-famous waters of Loch Ness to visit Urquhart Castle.

  4. Day 4 Day 4: South Loch Ness Trail to Foyers 17km/10.5mi/5hr

    Follow the South Loch Ness Trail with spectacular views of the wild and timeless Highlands. Pass through the village of Whitebridge and on, through shaded forest, to Rabbie Burns’ famous Falls of Foyers.

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

    Head up through the Boleskine woods to Inverfarigaig, with stunning views of the crags of Dun Deardail; from Fair-Haired Lad’s Pass down over Loch Ness to the ruins of Urquhart Castle.

  6. Day 6 Day 6: Caledonian Canal and The Beauly Firth 15km/9.5mi/4hr

    After a short bus ride to Inverness, take in the Ness Islands, ancient Craig Phadrig, the sea locks at Beauly Firth and perhaps even spot some dolphins dancing in the waters! Loop back to Inverness to explore its shops, cafes and castle.

  7. Day 7 Day 7: Leave Inverness
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Where you stay
Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel Spa
Opposite Inverness Castle, Best Western Palace Hotel Spa is located on the banks of the River Ness. Only a 5-minute walk from Inverness city centre, this hotel offers a swimming pool, leisure club, spa and free WiFi. Valet parking is available. Each en-suite room at this independently owned hotel has a flat-screen TV, radio and tea/coffee making facilities. All rooms also feature a private bathroom with a power shower and hairdryer. The accommodation is located in either Victorian properties or garden cottage. Some rooms overlook the castle and river. Guests have free use of the Palace Leisure Club Spas indoor pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. Beauty treatments are available in Sleeping Beauty Spa, and there is a modern on-site gym. The Brasserie offers informal lunch and evening meals, whilst restaurant Eight on the River offers evening dining and a hot and cold breakfast buffet. You can enjoy Afternoon Tea along with Matthew Algie Freshly Ground Coffee in the refurbished River View Lounge.
The Lovat
The Lovat is an award-winning eco-conscious hotel, situated on the southern tip of Loch Ness. The beautiful Victorian building with authentic decor 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.
Craigdarroch Inn
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.
Balachladaich
Situated on the tranquil south side of Loch Ness, just outside the peaceful village of Dores, Balachladaich is a new, purpose-built Bed 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.
Pottery House
With beautiful views overlooking Loch Ness and a very warm welcome from your hosts John and Glen, the Pottery House B+B is conveniently situated within a 5 minute walk to Dores. There are 3 large, very comfortable rooms, 2 of which with lake views, all with modern amenities such as power showers, a fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. The attention to detail is second to none, including a hand produced local information book and Highland toiletries. Excellent, award winning breakfasts are cooked to order using local produce.

Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance on move on days: 15km (9.4miles). Please note that these averages are based on the shortest daily distances but on two of the days there is the option to extend the walks.
No. of days Walking: 4
Terrain: 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.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 01/08/2019
4/5

Mr Blunt

Overall the holiday was good however it is a pity that you cannot leave your hotel for the next days walk without getting a lift to the starting point. Inverness and Fort Augustus were great and the Hotel Lovat was first class in all respects. Ticket to Ride were brilliant and supplied us with further maps and info and were always ready to pick us up at the agreed time. Have spent many better holidays with Headwater, at least 7 I would think, but having said that visiting Inverness for the first time was a treat and Fort Augustus with its 4 Lochs always provided much interest. Good to have a very informative boat trip on the Ness from Fort Augustus. The walk from Loch Tarff was the Highlands as we expected to see.

Reviewed On 24/05/2019
4/5

Mr Jenkins

An excellent walking holiday in very fine scenery staying in top-of-the-range accommodation.

Reviewed On 23/11/2018
5/5

Mrs Wright

The Craigdarroch Inn is sadly in need of an upgrade and getting a meal is a chore. Unfortunately on a walking holiday you are a captive audience as there is nothing else in the vicinity. Give consideration to missing this hotel if possible until it improves.

Reviewed On 06/11/2018
5/5

Mrs Hamilton

headwater is a very professional company, everything worked out well regarding accommodation and the transporting of our luggage. We did not have any worries at all as the transport was on time and in most cases earlier than the stated pick up time.

Reviewed On 29/12/2017
5/5

Mrs Lloyd

A lovely way to see Loch Ness and parts of the Caledonian canal.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
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