Cycle Route Maps and InformationFort William to Inverness via the Great Glen
Alongside Lochs Linnhe, Eil, Lochy, Oich and Ness.
Via the villages of Invergarry, Fort Augustus, Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit.
Also routes around the villages of Kinlochleven, Glencoe, Ballachulish, Spean Bridge, and Roy Bridge.
Varied routes for all ages and abilities.
We aim to provide comprehensive information on the Great Glen Cycle Route itself and many more fantastic routes along the way that can be linked during the trip or explored in the surrounding area.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland." "Laggan and Invergarry are the second supply stop for cyclists heading north up the Great Glen from Fort William. Distances from Fort William:- Laggan 23miles, 37km; Invergarry 26miles, 42km. Laggan has a convenience store located opposite the historic 'Seven Heads Well' on the shore of Loch Oich, a handy picnic spot at grid reference NN304 989. Just take a short detour of 500 metres NW along the A82 from the cycle route at NN300 986 before carrying on up the forest road to Invergarry. The lovely Village Invergarry lies close to Loch Oich, the smallest loch in the Glen. Here the main A82 road to Inverness branches out of the Great Glen onto the A87 alongside the river Garry and Loch Garry on its way in towards Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to the Isle of Skye. There are some lovely walks and cycle routes along the river Garry and in Glengarry Forest. For cyclists travelling up the great glen, Invergarry has no proper shop, there is a petrol station with very small shop at NH312 013, a small post office (limited hours) at NH300 010, and a hotel at the road junction. The tourist information visitor centre is being relocated (2006) to the new community hall at NH295 011, close to the campsites at Faichem and the Invergarry Forest walks." "The Greenfield Circuit, so called because of the isolated hamlet way out in the Glen Garry Forest, is suitable for a family ride. Twenty-five miles north from Fort William turn left at Invergarry onto the A87. Approximately two miles north of the village at the Glen Garry Forest sign turn left onto a forest road. Cross the bridge over the River Garry and turn immediately right into the car park. Start the ride by going back onto the main forest road and follow this road gently uphill for 5 miles. By this time you will have passed three cattle grids and perhaps dodged some Highland cattle. Remember to call out or ring a bell as you approach them so they are aware that you are around. Otherwise they are harmless beasts! At the next fork in the road take the right hand track. Shortly afterwards carry straight on down to the gate into the Greenfield croft land. The track twists and turns between the houses. As you begin the straight descent down to the loch and the bridge it is time to think about stopping for a break. The bridge over Loch Garry is the ideal place to picnic and enjoy the views around you. After crossing the bridge turn right onto the minor single-track road that hugs the shore of the loch. Lovely as it was on a sunny February day I thought how good the beech and oak trees along the roadside would look in the springtime. In a little over 3 miles the minor road joins the A87 (T). At this point turn right. It will be the least pleasant part of the ride as this road can be quite busy. Fortunately the distance is not far, in 2 ½ miles the familiar Forestry Commission sign appears. The forest road descends down to the White Bridge and the car park. " "Fort William is a vibrant small town with a population of around 9000 and excellent facilities to cater for visitors of all tastes who travel from many parts of the world. It is an ideal base for a wide range of outdoor activities whether your taste is for gentle stolls in quiet forests; expeditions over Britain's highest mountains; even world-class sporting and endurance events! Fort William is well served with transport. It is accessible by bus or by train from Glasgow. Bus services continue north to the Isle of Skye and Inverness. There is an overnight sleeper-train direct to London (Euston). The nearest airports are Glasgow (3 hours) and Inverness (2 hours). " "This is one of four routes based around Glen Nevis. These can be combined in various ways to give you a full day of riding. Glen Nevis is famous as the setting for films such as The Highlander; Rob Roy and Braveheart. So there is plenty of magical scenery to go with the adventure. The main issue with this is the summer tourist traffic. You may prefer to use the alternative Nevis Forest route in July and August. " "
The West Highland Way is a long distance walking route. It links Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. Please do not attempt to cycle the whole route, as it is not designed for this purpose however some sections are suitable for all terrain bikes. This section from Glen Nevis to the Blarmachfoldach road is for the fit and experienced mountain biker.
From the village of Inverlochy (Bike Hire) turn right at the traffic lights. At the mini roundabout turn sharp left into Glen Nevis. Turn onto the forest track at the sign for the Braveheart Car Park. Go through the gates and after 1/2 mile at the next junction take the right hand fork. Continue uphill for about 2 miles 3.25 kms. The track climbs around a steepish S bend. Look out on your right for the single track West Highland Way trail as it climbs up to the first stile.
Four more stiles to go. Plus a flight of wooden steps up which you need to carry your bike, hence the need for fitness. Together with mountain biking experience to negotiate the rocky sections.
After about 3 miles the route passes close to a tarred road. Turn right onto this former old military road. Keep an eye out for tractors you pass working crofts.
As you descend into Fort William take things slowly going downhill to the roundabout. Take the 3rd exit onto the bypass. Continue to the next roundabout. Here you take the next exit. Look out for the Great Glen Cycle Way sign between MacDonald ?s and the Morrisons Petrol Station. Go along the path behind the Brewer's Fayre Hotel. Cross the River Nevis Bridge to return to Inverlochy." "
Please remember that this is a working forest. You may encounter vehicles and/or forest operations. It is important to adhere to warning signs and directions by forest staff.From the village of Inverlochy (Bike Hire) turn right at the traffic lights. At the mini roundabout turn sharp left into Glen Nevis. Turn onto the forest track at the sign for the Braveheart Car Park. Go through the gates and at the next junction take the left hand fork. Carry on this track for a further 2 miles 3.25 kms. At the junction take the left hand fork. The forest track now swoops downhill to join the tarred Glen Nevis road at Achriabhach. The more experienced rider might wish to take the right hand fork. Follow a sweeping S bend for about 1 km. A steep single track route follows the stream side to emerge at Achriabhach. Turn right at the cottages if you wish to visit the nearby Lower Falls. Turn left to return to Fort William. " "
Although this circular route takes you through the heart of the glen it is recommended for the fit rider only. It is necessary to carry the bike over some sections.
From the village of Inverlochy (Bike Hire) turn right at the traffic lights. At the mini roundabout turn sharp left into Glen Nevis. Turn onto the forest track at the sign for the Braveheart Car Park. Go through the gates and ? after ? mile ? at the next junction take the left hand fork.
Carry on this track for a further 2 miles 3.25 kms. At the junction take the left hand fork. The forest track now swoops downhill to join the tarred Glen Nevis road at Achriabhach. Turn right and continue for 500m to the bridge over the Lower Falls.
Go through the gate by the sheepfold opposite the bridge. Pass two cottages and follow the track as it crosses the headland towards the river. You are in for an energetic time as you make your way downriver. Perhaps as much walking as riding.
The track continues for 3.1 miles 5 kms to emerge below some houses at the Roaring Mill Waterfalls.
Continue onto the tarred road. Turn left. At the Spar Stores turn left again. You will soon come to the traffic lights at the Inverlochy junction." "
This is one of two routes which explore the hills and glens to the north of Loch Eil. Both routes are circular (see also Glen Loy route).
Loch Eil Forest route is mainly off road, with stunning views of Ben Nevis and the Mamore Hills to the south, Loch Eil and the Ardgour Hills to the west. Please bear in mind that there are several burns (streams) to cross which may not be passable after heavy rain.
DETAILS: From Nevis Cycles turn left along Locheil Road. At the cycle/footbridge cross the River Lochy. Turn sharp left. Take the next turn left ? Glen Mallie Road ? follow the Great Glen Cycle Route along the shore road. At the end of the metalled road join the single track path which skirts the shore. This path takes you to the Canal?s Corpach Basin. You will find ? especially in summer - an interesting array of boats that use the Canal.
About turn and take the right hand tow path as it skirts the village of Caol. Cross the Canal bridge and cycle on through the village of Corpach. Pass the sawmill on your right and the papermill on your left. Turn right on to the first farm lane after the sawmill. At the turn there is a bungalow with caravans alongside.
Once away from the industry and traffic the quietness of the hillside surrounds you. Go on up the hill, do not turn into the farm. Through the gate some hard work now cycling up Corpach Hill. At the next junction turn right into the forest.
At the next two junctions turn left. You will soon find that you are almost above the tree line and able to enjoy the stunning views. A good place to stop for something to eat and to look around you.
It is all downhill from now on. This downhill run is well worth the climb. The track swings back down to the A830 in a series of S bends. Once back at the tarred road turn left to cycle back to Corpach and retrace your route." "
This is one of two routes which explore the hills and glens to the north of Loch Eil. Both routes are circular.TO FOLLOW " "
This route uses the first six miles of the Caledonian Canal Towpath. From Nevis Cycles (Bike Hire) turn left along Locheil Road. At the cycle/footbridge cross the River Lochy. Turn sharp left. Take the next left turn to follow the Great Glen Cycle Route along the shore road. At the end of the tarred road join the single track cycle path which skirts the shore. This path takes you to the Canal's Corpach Basin. You will find an interesting selection of boats which use the canal, especially in summer. About turn and take the right hand canal towpath as it skirts the village of Caol. Dismount to cross the railtrack and the busy A830. Contiue up the towpath passing the 8 locks of the impressive Neptune's Staircase. Don't forget to look over to your right for those views of Ben Nevis! After 6 miles you arrive at the hamlet of Gairlochy. If you have time, continue along the right bank of the canal for another half mile to the shore of Loch Lochy where there is a lighthouse and a wonderful view looking directly along the centre of the great glen. Now return to Gairlochy and go over the iron bridge across the canal and turn left on to the B8004. This lovely winding backroad leads you gently back to Fort William. However take time to visit Glen Loy to picnic by the highland stream in this most tranquil of small glens. " "
This route uses the first six miles of the Caledonian Canal Towpath. Riders on road bikes can avoid this section and use the return route along the B8004 for their outward journey.
From Nevis Cycles (Bike Hire) turn left along Locheil Road. At the cycle/footbridge cross the River Lochy. Turn sharp left. Take the next left turn to follow the Great Glen Cycle Route along the shore road. At the end of the metalled road join the single track cycle path which skirts the shore. This path takes you to the Canal's Corpach Basin. You will find an interesting selection of boats which use the canal, especially in summer.
About turn and take the right hand canal towpath as it skirts the village of Caol. Dismount to cross the railtrack and the busy A830. Contiue up the towpath passing the 8 locks of the impressive Neptune's Staircase. Don't forget to look over to your right for those views of Ben Nevis!
After 6 miles you arrive at the hamlet of Gairlochy. Turn left across the Canal Bridge. Almost immediately you take the right fork signed Great Glen Way/Cycle Route. The B8005 is a winding singletrack road along the side of Loch Lochy. At the row of wooden houses which is the hamlet of Clunes the road swings round to the left along the ""Dark Mile"" - a wooded valley steeped in history.
Pause to enjoy the spectacular Chiaaig Waterfall. There is also the opportunity to climb up to Bonnie Prince Charlie's Cave. Take care - it can be slippery.
Next turn left, cross the wooden bridge. Turn left again and on to the Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry. This is a delightful collection of Highland artefacts housed in a traditional blackhouse.
Back now on the estate road to rejoin the B8005. Where you retrace your route to the B8004. Return to Fort William by this quiet winding backroad. There are so many lovely spots to picnic it is difficult to point out any particular one. As you near Fort William perhaps the An Cran Restaurant in the old barn will be open for supper!" "
This route uses the first six miles of the Caledonian Canal Towpath.
From Nevis Cycles (Bike Hire) turn left along Locheil Road. At the cycle/footbridge cross the River Lochy. Turn sharp left. Take the next left turn to follow the Great Glen Cycle Route along the shore road. At the end of the metalled road join the single track cycle path which skirts the shore. This path takes you to the Canal's Corpach Basin. You will find an interesting selection of boats that use the canal, especially in summer.
About turn and take the right hand canal towpath as it skirts the village of Caol. Dismount to cross the railtrack and the busy A830. Contiue up the towpath passing 8 locks of the impressive Neptune's Staircase. Don't forget to look over to your right for those views of Ben Nevis!
After 6 miles you arrive at the hamlet of Gairlochy. Turn right as you leave the Canal towpath. You ride along the bank of the River Spean a short distance before you pass the Mucomir Power Station. The braes of Lochaber are bonny here even though it means a little bit of uphill work. At the Commando Memorial pause to enjoy the view of the hills before you freewheel down to the café ©e in Spean Bridge." "Please remember this is a working forest. You may encounter vehicles and/or forest operations. It is important to adhere to warning signs and directions by forest staff.
From Inverlochy village (Bike Hire) go along Locheil Road. Continue until you come to a railway bridge. Go under the bridge. On your left is the old castle of Inverlochy. Cycle past the main gate of the castle and down behind the Aluminium Social Club. Follow the path across the Putting Green to the traffic lights. Walk across at the traffic lights to the garage forecourt.
Cycle with confidence on the busy A82. It is only a short distance until you turn right at the sign for Torlundy. Cross over the railway bridge at the traffic lights and turn right.
At the North Face Car Park you may choose to cycle straight on using the forest road. This takes you to the ski centre. Or by turning left on to the Witch's Trail you might like to try some of the technical single track for which you need mountain bike experience." "Maggie takes you on a leg stretching loop through stunning scenery. This 40 mile low level jaunt is an invigorating cycle outing. You are never far from sea breezes. Suitable as an all year round ride. It is just right to shake off the excesses of a hearty Scottish breakfast. Starting from Nevis Cycles, Inverlochy grid reference NN112747 (Parking & Bike Hire) head north out of Fort William on the A82 towards Inverness. Turn left onto the A830 for Mallaig. The route heads north west. You are soon away from the industry and sprinting along this good road for about 10 miles. Take a minute to stop and look back at the stunning views of Ben Nevis from this road. A left turn at the sign for Lochaline/ Strontian takes you onto singletrack road. Once on this side of Loch Eil the road enters typical West Highland crofting landscape. The scattered crofting townships of Duisky, Blaich and Achaphubuil fringe the shore. Time to watch out for tractors and sheep! The passenger only ferry is just over the cattle grid at Camusnagaul. The crew are helpful to cyclists and perhaps you have only the time for a half day ride? Here you have the option to shorten the distance and take this form of transport across Loch Linnhe. (12.45 Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday only; 14.15 Monday, Thursday & Saturday only). The ferry passenger shelter is a good place on a showery day to sit for a break or lunch. Or in summer drop into the village hall right beside the road at Trislaig for home made cakes and tea. This section from Trislaig is more wooded. A hunting ground for buzzards and other birds of prey. Several hectares of roadside woodland are managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust as a reserve. Woodland is left behind and more open landscape and seascape is encountered as you near Ardgour. Here the ferry (free for cyclists) takes you across the loch. Perhaps you have time to visit the Hotel for some refreshment? Leaving the ferry behind turn left onto what will be the busy A82. Eight miles of concentration on the traffic as you return to Fort William. " "The 40 mile, 64 kms, route is perhaps one for outside the busy summer season due to tourist traffic on the main road. However the shorter option of almost 20 miles, 32 kms, makes a great summer evening ride.
Start this option from the car park behind the Mountain Rescue Centre at the entrance to Glencoe village grid reference NN098587. Turn left from the car park and right onto the B863 for Kinlochleven.The full route starts from the West End Car Park, Fort William, and heads out of town South on the A82(T). Be prepared to pull over into a picnic area to allow traffic to clear as the first 8 mile section of narrow double track can be busy at peak times. However it's way too early in the ride for a coffee stop. Cycle through the village of Onich and across the Ballachulish Bridge where the road widens and traffic can easily pass. Continue on the A82 via the roundabout. The road bypasses the village of Ballachulish where there is a shop. Continue along the A82 for less than a mile, soon there is a cafe oé ¯n the right where you should turn left for Kinlochleven onto the much quieter B863 which bypasses Glencoe. Although you might like to take time to visit the Folk Museum or shop in the village. The road climbs steadily from now on with stunning views across Loch Leven to the hills of the Mamore Forest. Following a series of bends the descent into Kinlochleven is exhilarating but needs care. The village was built to house workers for the aluminium smelter (closed) and you can find out more from the Aluminium Story Visitor Centre. Part of the factory has been converted into an indoor rock-climbing and ice-climbing centre (with cafe). For a lunch break there is a pub, cafe aé ¡nd fish and chip shop to choose from. From Kinlochleven to North Ballachulish the single track road ducks and dives along the shore of the loch. Parts of the route are tunnel like through trees and other sections open out to grassy coves down to the water's edge. This is the time on a bike when you feel very close to nature. At the junction at North Ballachulish turn right onto the A82 to head back to Fort William. If you are taking the shorter option turn left to cross the bridge and return to Glencoe. " "If you crave quiet roads and remote wild country and you need it the fast way on a road/race bike, this is a ride for you. It is possibly the quickest route into the very heart of Lochaber. There is the option for those on mountain bikes to cycle for about the first six miles on the Caledonian Canal Towpath. There are great views of Ben Nevis from both the B8004 and from the towpath. Starting from Nevis Cycles Bike Hire at Inverlochy village, go along Locheil Road. Continue until you come to a railway bridge. Go under the bridge. On your left is the old castle of Inverlochy. Cycle past the main gate of the castle and down behind the Aluminium Social Club. Follow the path across the Putting Green to the traffic lights. Turn left and follow the A830 'Road to the Isles' for a mile until you cross the swing bridge, then take the next right turn onto the B8004 for Gairlochy.
Pass the alternative starting point at the Neptune's Staircase Car Park where mountain bikers can cross the canal to ride along the right hand tow path for the next 6 miles before rejoining the route along the B8005 at Gairlochy.Turn left onto the B8005 as you approach Gairlochy. Your route is now signposted to Clunes. The tree lined road hugs the shore of Loch Lochy. Watch out for a row of wooden houses on your right. This is the hamlet of Clunes. The road then swings to the left to enter a small steeply wooded valley called the Mile Dorcha the ""Dark Mile"". A place steeped in Highland history. On the right are the spectacular Eas Chia-aig Waterfalls. Go straight on, soon the glen opens out to a striking view along Loch Arkaig. Continue along the road that hugs the northern shore of the loch. This track-like road ducks and dives as it affords the chance for a decent spin of about 12 miles, 18.5 kms. At its end you will find that the road has disappeared into the landscape to become a stalker's path. As you turn enjoy the tangible silence of this lovely place. Once it clamoured with the noise of an army barracks in the eighteenth century. The magnificent stands of ancient Caledonian pines are also worth noting on the southern banks of the loch. In autumn the hills ring with the calls of the red deer stags. Retrace the northern shore miles. Turn right onto the wooden bridge across the end of the loch then turn left into Achnacarry Estate (watch out for estate vehicles). After a few minutes, the route passes the Clan Cameron Museum - it is well worth a visit. At the end of the estate road turn right onto the B8005 to return to Banavie (Perhaps pausing at Gairlochy's seasonal tea-room). " "This circular route involves the first six miles of the Caledonian Canal towpath which is suitable for most hybrid bikes. For road/racing bikes an alternative route on tarmac uses the quiet backroad to Gairlochy. The route then goes on with an option to visit the Braes of Lochaber, specifically the spectacular Monessie Gorge and Waterfalls. The route returns to Spean Bridge to cover the last 10 miles or so on another quiet back road following the river Lochy through the Great Glen back to Fort William. Starting from Nevis Cycles (Bike Hire) at Inverlochy village, go along Locheil Road. Continue until you come to a railway bridge. Go under the bridge. On your left is the old castle of Inverlochy. Cycle past the main gate of the castle and down behind the Aluminium Social Club. Follow the path across the Putting Green to the traffic lights. Turn left and follow the A830 'Road to the Isles' for a mile until you cross the swing bridge, then take the next right turn onto the B8004 for Gairlochy.
Pass the alternative starting point at the Neptune?s Staircase Car Park where riders on mountain / hybrid bikes can cross the canal to ride along the right hand tow path for the next 6 miles. It is time to enjoy the tranquillity of cycling on the traffic free towpath before rejoining the route along the B8005 at Gairlochy. Road bike riders should stay on the B8005 until Gairlochy.After six miles (9.6 kms) at the bridge over the canal at Gairlochy turn right to ride along the bank of the River Spean. It is only a short distance before the road is bridged at the Mucomir Power Station. " "The purpose-built mountainbike trails at Laggan are only a twenty minute drive to the north-east from the start of the Fersit loop which is a wilder and more challenging alternative for the intermediate level rider. To reach the start by car follow the A86 either north from Spean Bridge or south from Laggan, some 8 miles east of Spean Bridge, take the junction signposted ""Fersit"". Following the single track road for a couple of miles brings you to the car park at grid ref. NN349 781. If you have accommodation in Spean Bridge or Roy Bridge, Nevis Cycles offer a delivery service for cycle hire. The circular route goes east from the car park at Fersit, across the bridge over the River Treig and through the hamlet of Fersit, before swinging left through the forest gates into the Glen Spean forest.
Just before the entrance to the forest notice the trail on your right which can be seen winding down the open hillside - later you will cycle down this as you near the end of the route.Cycling east through the forest, take the second turn to the right (approximately 3 miles from the forest entrance and at grid ref NN407 806). The road now climbs gently south for approximately 4 miles, the first 2.5 miles of which is in the forest. After leaving the forest, Strathossian Lodge starts to come into view directly ahead with Loch Ghuilbinn a few hundred metres down below you to your left. As you pass Loch Ghuilbinn, the old pony track to the Lodge can be seen branching off the road to the left at grid ref. NN401 739. At this point turn right up the old pony track, heading north-north west. This challenging single-track climb lasts for approximately a mile and a half, with spectacular views to the east over Loch Laggan and the Ardverikie Estate (the setting for the TV series Monarch of the Glen!). The trail then descends down back into the Glen Spean forest and heads west close to the forest edge. For those running out of steam at this point, the old croft ruins that the trail runs past (below the peak of Creag Dhubh) offer a potential rest spot. The single-track trail leaves the forest approximately one kilometre west of the ruin and broadens out to a rocky road that descends back down to Fersit. Re trace your starting route back to your transport. If you still have energy to burn, the purpose-built mountainbike trails (graded blue, red and black) at Wolf Trax, Laggan are only a twenty minute drive to the north-east." Fersit to Fort William: the longest continuous off-road ride in the UK?
If an authentic highland adventure is what you are looking for then this could be the route for you. As one of the remotest mountainbike routes in the UK, it is necessary to take extra precautions before setting out on such a long trail: leave a route card with someone reliable, take sufficient food and water for what may turn out to be over 12 hours in the saddle, and take enough tools to cover most eventualities ? there is unlikely to be anyone out there to help you and walking up to 20 miles to the nearest road would not be fun. This is also not a route to tackle on cold winter days, not only for the obvious reasons such as the lack of daylight hours, but also because the route could well be iced over. I know this from personal experience, for on a day when the temperature in Fort William was in the high single digits, much of the trail (from Loch Treig to Kinlochleven particularly) was heavily iced over and unrideable.Following the A86 either north from Spean Bridge or south from Laggan, some 8 miles east of Spean Bridge, take the junction signposted "Fersit". Following the single track road for a couple of miles brings you to the car park at grid ref. NN349 781. "The St John?s Church to Glenachullish ride is a circular route 2 / 3 hour ride for the beginner cyclist or families all on forest track with spectacular views. Some uphill work at first then a lovely descent. Almost half the route ? 2.5 miles / 4 kilometres ? is uphill. Although the climb up to 300m. Is an easy gradient it may be too much for the very young cyclist. From the A82 (T) park at St John?s Church. The Church is approximately mid way between Ballachullish and the roundabout at the junction of the A82 and the A828 Oban road. Nevis Cycles offer a delivery service for cycle hire. " "There is something for everyone on a day’s cycling around Auchteraw, Fort Augustus. From a three mile easy circuit on forest road suitable for tag–a–longs and wee ones to a longer undulating ride on forest road combined with some intermediate single track. " "This is a circular trail suitable for the intermediate mountain bike rider with cross country riding in mind. With lots of variety of terrain and spectacular scenery it comprises a mix of canal towpath, quiet single track tarmac roads, forest roads and single track. Both the outward and return sections follow the Caledonian Canal so it is easy to navigate. The outward section from Fort William to the Bridge of Oich is a part of the proposed Sustrans National Cycle Route 78. Starting from Inverlochy (Bike Hire) leave the village along Loch Eil Road. Go alongside the Black Parks Recreation Fields to the Soldier?s Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Cross the bridge and turn left. Take the next left and follow the road around the housing estate. Where the road ends take the narrow single track path which leads onto the Caledonian Canal Towpath. At the Towpath turn right. Enjoy the views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding mountains in the traffic free environment of the Canal for 9.6 kms /6 miles. Cross the Canal bridge at Gairlochy. Continue on the cycle path / single track tarmac road to the wooden houses at Clunes. Here the Way changes from tarmac road to forest track which continues for 5.5 miles 9 kms along the lochside to Laggan Locks. Turn right at the holiday chalets to go down to the Locks. Cross over one of the gates. This is a good point to stop for refreshment at the barge pub! Go across the car park to the main road ( A82 ). Turn right for 20m. Cross the road and take the narrow track leading up through the trees. This takes you onto the bed of an old railway line. Turn left. This section of single track path follows the shore of Loch Oich. Sections can be soft and muddy. At length the route turns down onto an old road ? General Wade?s Military Road. Caution - tree roots can be slippery on this part. Continue to follow the track and turn left after crossing the old steel bridge then at the head of the Loch pause to enjoy the spectacular view westwards to the distant hills. At the Canal gateturn left, cross the main road. Cycle along the footpath of the A82 over the swing bridge and a second bridge. Take a moment to admire the old suspension bridge. 50 metreas after passing a small car park, turn right onto the start of a single track section which leads to a forest road, then on to Invergarry. Descend from the hill path to turn left onto the main road ( A82 ), turn right and cross the bridge. Take the first right - signed for Mandally. Cycle for 1Km along the quiet lane. At the first left turn uphill on forest track. Some climbing now before you are able to enjoy the descents down to the tarmac road at North Laggan. A right turn takes you behind North Laggan onto tarmac single track. After 2.5 kms the route changes back to forest track. Time to retrace the route along Loch Lochy to Clunes, thus on to Gairlochy and the Canal Towpath to return to Fort William. Hope you enjoyed the trail and all its variety! " "The scenic West Highland Railway Line continues from Fort William over 40 miles to the port of Mallaig with regular live steam trains running through the scenery and across the Glenfinnan viaduct made world famous in the Harry Potter movies. From Mallaig, ferries serve many of the islands on the west coast. " The town's name originates from the fort built in 1690 by William, Prince of Orange on the site of Cromwell's earlier 1645 fortifications, sadly only a small part of it remains on the shore near the railway station and pier. The older castle shown in the picture stands nearby at Inverlochy and dates from c1200. It is well worth a visit and several of our cycle routes pass right by the gate. "The village of Spean Bridge lies a couple of miles outside the Great Glen and is the first stopping point for travellers heading north From Fort William. Riders on Great Glen routes can make a slight detour (3 miles, 5km each way) from Gairlochy over the quiet B8004 to visit Spean Bridge and Roy Bridge a further 3 miles, 5km. Distances from Fort William:- Gairlochy 10miles, 16km; Spean Bridge 13miles, 21km; Roy Bridge 16miles, 26km. Gairlochy has a seasonal tearoom next to the canal locks at grid reference NN177 843. Spean Bridge has a good car park, a Tourist Information Centre, a well-stocked Spar shop, a Woolen Mill with cafe, Little Chef, Fish & Chip takeaway at Spean Bridge Hotel. There is also a railway station on the line from Glasgow to Fort William. Its buildings have been converted into a restaurant. " "Some uphill work before being tempted to stop at the Old Pines for coffee. Take a moment to stop and admire the magnificent views of the Nevis Range and the Grey Corries from the famous Commando Memorial. Now turn right and continue downhill to Spean Bridge which has several cafes and restaurants to choose from if you fancy an early lunch.
At Spean Bridge there is the option to turn left onto the A86 (signposted Newtonmore) to visit the Monessie Gorge. Cycle 1.25 miles 2 kms beyond the village of Roybridge. Pass the Glen Spean Hotel on your left - around the next corner note the crofthouse by the road on the right. To the left of the house (grid reference NN302810) a grassy track winds down and across the railway line. The track leads along the side of a field to a suspension footbridge. Here is the place to lock up the bikes and explore the gorge. Then return via your outward route to Spean Bridge. Adventurous MTB riders might like to try riding back to Spean Bridge along the rocky farm tracks on the south side of the river.At spean Bridge take the A82 signposted Fort William and continue for 0.6 miles, 1 km. Turn right at the sign for Kilmonivaig onto a quiet single track back road. Notice a stone cairn after about 1 km (grid reference NN200819). This marks a path down to a spectacular bridge, now a ruin. It was at this place that the first shots of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion were fired. Back on your bike this quiet back road meanders past a small lochan. As it becomes more hilly you need to be aware of a steep descent down to the River Lochy. Exercise caution as there is a sharp left hand bend at the bottom of the hill.
After about 4 kms from this bend, if you feel that you are missing out on off road touring, at Tomacharich there is the opportunity for mountain bikes only to turn right onto a stony farm track at grid reference NN137784. This follows a cross country route taking you away from the main road for slightly over 1.5 miles, 2.5 kms. There are two small streams to cross on the way. Turn left at the junctions. Please remember to close the gates. Turn right as the farm track meets the main road to rejoin the route.Road/hybrid bikes should carry on to where the single track road rises to join the main A82. Turn right, passing Inverlochy Castle (a hotel, not a visitor centre) it is only a short distance on the main road before you reach the traffic lights where you retrace your original route back to your chosen starting point. Straight on for inverlochy (1 mile, 1.3km) or to turn right for the car park at Neptune's Staircase (1 mile, 1.3km). " "From the village of Inverlochy (Bike Hire available from Nevis Cycles) turn right at the traffic lights. At the mini roundabout turn sharp left into Glen Nevis. About half a mile into the Glen notice the Roaring Mill Waterfall on your left. Here water crashes over some of the oldest rock in the world. At the cattle grid look across to your left at the slopes of Ben Nevis, Britain?s highest mountain." "At around 5 miles the road crosses the River Nevis. Almost directly beneath the bridge are the spectacular Lower Falls. The road narrows from here. For your own safety be prepared to dismount to allow traffic to clear. You will find Paddy's Bridge at around 6 miles is a good place to stop to enjoy a picnic. The road becomes lumpier from here on. As you climb look down to your right into the rocky gorge where the river is carving out spectacular rock formations. The end of the road at the Top Car Park is the high spot of the ride. However the footpath going on through the gorge is unsuitable for cyclists. Now is the time to think about getting back for that cuppa to the café ¹ou passed earlier! " "Continue along the track until you reach the ski centre.
From the car park here there are several other way-marked routes to explore including the ""Trail Quest"" with extra interest for children - see notice boards for details.Continuing along our main route from the Nevis Range gondola station stay on the forest road, pass under the gondola and cycle on up the hill. At the top of the hill turn right and then take the first left. After about 1 mile you come to a sharp left hand bend. At the bend the track drops down steeply and turns sharply right. Watch out for loose stone on this section.
A short distance after turning right there is a narrow faint single track on your right. This track zigzags up onto the Puggy Line - a broader single-track path. This was formerly the narrow gauge railway that serviced the Aluminium Smelter. Follow this track for about 1/2 mile as it traces the river. At the picnic bench you are about halfway through the ride. A good place to stop for a well earned rest!
After the picnic spot you soon come to a narrow footbridge. Turn left. After a short distance you are back on the forest road. On the forest road turn left at the next junction. Go straight across at the minor tarred road. At the next junction turn right.
After about 1 mile at a T junction there is the option either to turn left, climb the hill and keeping to the right you arrive back at the ski centre, or to turn right and after about 1/2 mile enjoy a fast steep descent with a sharp left hand bend at the base. Continue until you pass the Forest Commission's Offices. Turn right and in front of you is the bridge and traffic lights. Turn left on to the A82 to retrace your route." "With your bike turn left from the car park, pass the manse to access the forest road at the next entrance. The road climbs diagonally across the open hillside and after about 1 Mile / 1.6 kilometres it turns to ascend the corrie of Gleann a Chaolais.
With young children you may wish to take the shorter route and turn down right at the first junction (grid reference NN050586)Here you are surrounded by pine trees yet with lovely views over to the surrounding hills. At the head of the glen turn for an exhilarating descent of almost 2.5 miles. Care is needed at the sharp corners. Continue down to the Car Park at Glenachullish. Here there is the option to continue on the off road cycle path to the A82 where a right turn takes you along the A82 back to St John’s. Alternatively-to stay away from the main road - retrace your route from the Car Park to the first junction. Turn down left over the bridge, turn left again and cycle up to rejoin the top forest road back to St John’s. This is when you can pause to enjoy those magnificent views down Loch Leven." "The route heads east from the car park, across the bridge over the River Treig and through the hamlet of Fersit, before swinging left through the forest gates into the Glen Spean forest. Cycling east through the forest, take the second turn to the right (approximately 3 miles from the forest entrance and at grid ref 407 806). The forest road now climbs gently south for approximately 4 miles, the first 2.5 miles of which is in the forest. Once out of the forest, Strath Ossian Lodge starts to come into view directly ahead with Loch Ghuilbinn a few hundred metres down below you to your left. Continue south through Strath Ossian, following the high road that skirts around the lodge to the west. Approximately 3 miles south of Strath Ossian Lodge, the track meets the north east corner of Loch Ossian. Corrour Lodge is just to your left here, at the head of the loch. Instead of turning left to the lodge, take the fast forest road to the right which runs along the north bank of Loch Ossian for four miles. One mile past the end of the loch lies Corrour Station (on the Fort William ? Glasgow line), where refreshments can be found. At Corrour Station, cross over the railway line and take the single track trail (often just a railway sleeper laid on the peat!) heading north along the west side of the railway. The trail widens out as it heads away from the railway line and steeply downhill to Loch Treig where it crosses the Allt a Chamabhreac some 100m from the loch shore. Following the trail west around the head of Loch Treig brings you eventually round to Creaguaineach Lodge. The four miles from Creaguaineach Lodge to Meannananch Bothy/Luibeilt are the least pleasant of the trip ? tussocky and generally unrideable, this section should take around an hour. The reward is a welcome shelter at Meannanach Bothy/Luibeilt and an easier ride from then on south to Kinlochleven. From Craiguaineach to Meannanach/Luibeilt you are faced with the choice of either crossing the Abhainn Rath by the high bridge at Craiguaineach and taking the slightly more rideable north bank or staying on the unrideable south bank (via Staoineag Bothy). Crossing to the north bank necessitates re-crossing the river near Meannanach/Luibeilt Bothy, which can be dangerous when the river is in spate. The south bank is possibly the better bet if you are unable to judge the river levels. The four mile hike-and-bike to Meannanach/Luibeilt comes to an end when you reach the rough road which heads south west from Luibeilt. Five miles of this road brings you past Loch Eilde Mor and Loch Eilde Beag (on your left) and to the top of the pass above Kinlochleven. The views from here (grid ref. NN209 634) looking down Loch Leven and out to Ardgour are stunning.
From this point there are several very technical, steep single-track paths leading down into Kinlochleven, all of which are suitable only for very experienced riders but are highly recommended as part of shorter routes.The recommended route for this particular trip follows the main track down the hill for a mile and a half past sheep pens and a farmyard to the Mamore Lodge hotel.
At this point it is possible to divert down the steep hill track that serves the hotel to the village of Kinlochleven where there are cafes, hotels and a shop. If you are tempted, remember that you'll need to ride back up that hill to rejoin the route!A few metres above the Mamore Lodge Hotel, continue on the high road directly west. After a mile, you will see the West Highland Way footpath to your left winding up the hill towards you. The road now enters the Lairig Mor, the glen which will bring you almost all the way back to Fort William. From here you are following the West Highland Way, which is well-travelled and well-marked, although the track is very bumpy and rocky for the seven miles until you reach Lunn Da Bhra (Lundavra). There are often strong headwinds when heading west through the Lairig Mor, but a rest spot is available at the ruins of Tigh-na-Sleubhaich. The trail reaches a sheep pen after some five and a half miles of the Lairig Mor and heads into a section of pine forest. After a mile and a half of forest road, the West Highland Way branches off to the right just before Lundavra and becomes a highly recommended single-track path winding over into Glen Nevis.
Alternatively a quicker route back to Fort William is made by heading straight on at this junction, down the hill to the tarred road. Following this road north for five miles brings you back to Fort William town centre.Turning right on to the single track section of the West Highland Way at Lundavra leads to approximately 4 miles of rolling single track (with several stiles along the way) and a fast forestry road descent into Glen Nevis. At the bottom of the downhill section in Glen Nevis, turn left and follow the forestry road towards Fort William. You have just completed some 40 miles of uninterrupted off road riding! It is feasible to cycle the 20 miles back to the start of the route, though this involves using the A82/A86 road and the better choice is probably to tackle the route with the use of two cars. Alternatively the train from Fort William to Tulloch will get you to within 3 miles of your start-point. The trains are not frequent so it might make sense to do this at the start of your ride rather than afterwards when your timing will be uncertain. The start-point is also accessible by bike from the railway station at Tulloch (3 miles, 5km) on the Glasgow to Fort William line. Cycles are conveyed free on all First ScotRail services, but space is limited, they aim to provide between two and six spaces per train, so free reservations are essential. Cycle reservations can be made at principal staffed stations or through ScotRail Telesales when buying your travel ticket on 08457 550033. See Scotrail Cycles On Trains Current departure times at Fort William are 07:35(not sunday), 12:04, 17:35 but check with Scotrail " "Fort Augustus is the third supply stop for cyclists heading north up the Great Glen from Fort William. Many riders make it an overnight stop to allow time to explore. Distance from Fort William:- 34miles, 55km Fort Augustus is a charming village in the Great Glen at the southern end of Loch Ness where the Caledonian Canal joins the loch. The canal forms a very attractive public open space in the centre of the village where it is enhanced by a flight of locks and the heritage centre close by. Boats passing up and down the locks provide an interesting and unusual spectacle. The village has hotels, guest houses, a campsite, restaurants, takeaways, shops, a bank, GP’s surgery and public toilets. Fort Augustus was originally known by the Gaelic name of Cille Cumein (the Church of St Cumein) but became known as Fort Augustus when a fort was built there after the defeat of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Very little remains of the fort, parts of which were incorporated into the Benedictine Abbey built in 1876 which is now no longer used as an abbey. There was branch of railway starting from the existing West Highland Line at Spean Bridge up the Great Glen as far as Fort Augustus, closed in 1947. Many parts of the line can be seen and feature in some of our routes. Impressive railway bridge supports are still visible crossing the river at Fort Augustus where the track continued a short distance to a pier connecting with passenger steamers on Loch Ness. Although these boats no longer operate, there are modern vessels based at Fort Augustus that cruise the loch. " "Invermoriston is the forth supply stop for cyclists heading north up the Great Glen from Fort William. Distance from Fort William:- 41.5 miles, 67km. Note that it is only another 4 miles, 6.5km to Loch Ness Youth hostel. Invermoriston is a small hamlet at the junction of the A887 and the A82 and has a hotel, several B&Bs, post office, general store and craft shop. There is a caravan / campsite a mile or so south of the village. " "Drumnadrochit is the fifth supply stop for cyclists heading north up the Great Glen from Fort William. Many riders make it an overnight stop to allow time to explore. Distance from Fort William:- 53.5miles, 86km Drumnadrochit is a small village at the point where Glen Urquhart to the west meets the Great Glen. It has a village shop and post office, gift shop, cafes, tourist information centre with toilets, hotel and TWO Loch Ness Monster centres. Urquhart Castle lies a short distance to the south of Drumnadrochit and is very popular with visitors due to its interesting history and picturesque location on the steep banks of Loch Ness. A new visitor centre was opened in 2002 - built into the hillside just below the main road where it overlooks the castle at a respectul distance. It has car parking a shop, cafe, audio-visual displays etc. " "Inverness lies at the Northern end of the Great Glen where the river Ness enters the Moray Firth. Many riders make it an overnight stop to allow time to explore. Distance from Fort William:- 80miles, 129km The city has a wide variety of accommodation including hostels and a municipal campsite (beware – this can be fully booked during the summer months). There is a wide variety of shops and eating places; also sports facilities, art galleries and a museum. The river Ness and its banks make an attractive feature near the centre of Inverness with walkways and bridges linking the city’s parks and interesting buildings such as the cathedral and theatre to the shopping streets and castle. The city has a long history; there have been fortified buildings in the region of Inverness from the time of the Picts and the town has been the scene of a number of takeovers and attempted takeovers since then, the most famous battle being the Battle of Culloden in 1746 which took place a few miles away from the present centre of Inverness. There is a visitor centre at Culloden Moor for those interested in knowing more. Inverness is the often the final stop for many riders but hey, why stop here you've just reached the capital City of the Highlands and there are still hundreds of miles further you can explore! " "Another reason for making the detour from Gairlochy to Spean Bridge is to see the Commando Memorial, a bronze monument by Scott Sutherland (1952) which commemorates the elite commando units who trained in the area during the second world war. The Commando Exhibition is located at the Spean Bridge Hotel where you can find out more. Some parts of our cycle route follow the Commando Trail to Achnacarry Castle that was their headquarters at the end of Loch Arkaig. Spean Bridge had an earlier claim to fame in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 when the first skirmish took place at the original bridge over the river Spean a mile and a half to the west of the current bridge. A small number of noisy highlanders tricked the larger force of government troops into retreating. This 'High Bridge' built by General Wade collapsed into the river in 1913. Traces of it can still be seen on one of our routes. " "There was also an ill-fated attempt to build a railway in 1901 starting from the existing West Highland Line at Spean Bridge up the Great Glen to Inverness. The tracks were only laid as far as Fort Augustus and struggled to operate in the years before the scheme failed in 1947. Many parts of the line are still visible and feature in some of our routes. Impressive railway bridge supports are still visible near 'High Bridge'. More railway bridge columns can easily be seen when crossing the river at Fort Augustus. " "
Well refreshed you cycle for 1 km. to the sign for Kilmonivaig where you turn down to the right. After about 1 km. stop at the cairn and maye take a short walk down to Highbridge. This bridge - now a spectacular ruin - is the site where the first shots of the 1745 Jacobite uprising were fired.
Back on your bike, continue along this quiet back road where you can enjoy the grand scale of the Great Glen and the River Lochy.
If you feel that you are missing out on off road touring, at Tomacharich there is the opportunity for mountain bikes only to turn right onto a stony farm track at grid reference NN137784. This follows a cross country route taking you away from the main road for slightly over 1.5 miles, 2.5 kms. There are two small streams to cross on the way. Turn left at the junctions. Please remember to close the gates. Turn right as the farm track meets the main road to rejoin the route.Road/hybrid bikes should carry on to where the single track road rises to join the main A82. Turn right, passing Inverlochy Castle (a hotel, not a visitor centre) it is only a short distance on the main road before you reach the traffic lights where you retrace your original route back to your chosen starting point. Straight on for inverlochy (1 mile, 1.3km) or to turn right for the car park at Neptune's Staircase (1 mile, 1.3km). " Glen Roy is internationally famous as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) because of the unusual landscape features left after the last ice-age. The scenery is also varied and the views are beautiful. The route described runs up and down the glen - choosing one of several starting points combined with the option to turn back at any stage gives many possible rides of different lengths. Glen Roy is an ideal outing for families or for an evening ride. The lower section of Glen Roy is a public road serving a small crofting community so there will be a little traffic making it necessary to take care when riding with children. If you want to experience the character of the whole glen, the best starting point is at the village of Roy bridge which has a few parking spaces in the village square at grid reference NN270813. Nearby there is a railway station, shop, post office and 2 hotels serving food. Before leaving the village square, take a moment to notice the village hall, built in 1869 as a military drill-hall for the newly formed 10th Mackintosh Company Rifle Volunteers. Follow the single track road signposted "Glen Roy" past St Margaret's church and, just beyond a small group of houses, a cairn commemorates the site on the hill above of the last inter-clan battle fought in 1688. Now you are cycling through a mixture of native oak woodland and conifer plantation. After a kilometer, the road swoops down to a stone bridge and then climbs steeply to small junction, keep straignt on heading up the main valley through the crofting settlement of Bohuntinville with views across the glen to more crofts at Boheine. After another kilometer past hazel and alder trees at grid ref NN295846 there is a cup-and-ring marked stone where a track zig-zags steeply down to the river. Note that the bridge marked at this point on OS maps is no longer standing an there is no route across the river to Boheine. A further kilometer uphill brings you above the trees to the viewpoint which stands 100m higher than the start at Roy Bridge village. Take a few minutes to enjoy the classic view of the "Parallel roads of Glen Roy" An information board explains how they were formed. "The viewpoint is an optional starting point and offers a few car parking spaces. From here the road undulates more gently and there is much less uphill work for the next 8km (still a tarmac surface). As you cycle along, ponder the fact that before the Highland Clearances, several hundred people lived and farmed in the glen and in many places you can see traces of their buildings and cultivation. The river Roy has many moods, in places it flows through a deep gorge, there are water-falls, at other points it is wide with shingle beaches. If the sun is hot, there are several deep pools along the way suitable for wild swimming with the last one at NN327907. The final optional starting point with limited car parking is just before the end of the tarmac road near a small conifer plantation cattle-grid at NN335913. Do not attempt to take a car beyond this point as there is a working farm at Brae Roy Lodge. On your bike, continue past the trees and bear left as you pass the lodge and keeper's cottages, the road turns into a stony track, stay on the track and cross over Turret Bridge, then bear right to continue up the main glen, do not cross the second girder bridge, keep to the track." "The track continues undulating for another 5km, climing more often than falling to reach a height of almost 350m ASL (250m above the start at Roy Bridge). The rocky outcrop above the ""Falls of Roy"" at NN370925 is a great place to stop and admire the views and maybe have a picnic. From here you could make a small diversion of foot to see the ""natural bridge"" marked on OS maps, note that a crossing of the river is required so this should only be attempted when water levels are low. If the weather is not so good, you might prefer to take a break where the track ends at Luib-Chonnal bothy (maintained by volunteers of the Moutain Bothies Association, please observe their rules). Now it is time to re-trace your route back to the start, it should be an easier ride back with a little more downhill than uphill but sometimes a headwind can make it feel like another climb!" Roy Bridge is a further 3 miles (4.8km) west of Spean Bridge at the foot of Glen Roy which another interesting place to cycle. The River Roy is extremely popular for kayaking and Glen Roy is famous for it's geology. Close by the village square, take a moment to notice the village hall, built in 1869 as a military drill-hall for the newly formed 10th Mackintosh Company Rifle Volunteers. A single track road signposted "Glen Roy" passes St Margaret's church and, just beyond a small group of houses, a cairn commemorates the site on the hill above of the last inter-clan battle fought in 1688. Further exploration of Glen Roy is featured in one of our cycle routes. Roy Bridge has a railway station on the Glasgow to Fort William Line, a shop, post office, 2 hotels serving food and several B&Bs. There is a caravan / campsite and an independant hostel in the village and another caravan site and independant hostel within a kilometer. This ribbon of small communities along the shores of Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe. This popular holiday destination stretches for a few miles either side of the Ballachulish Bridge. The major roads that dominate the area are not ideal for cycling but there are some off-road routes. All three villages are very attractive and well served with large hotels, smaller guest houses, B&Bs and self catering accommodation. There are leisure facilities and a golf course at two of the larger hotels. There is no railway nearby but bus services link with Glagow, Oban and Fort William. Also nearby is the Corran ferry that crosses Loch Linnhe at the Southern end of the Great Glen linking to Ardgour, Strontian and the Ardnamurchan penninsula. "If you are planning a cycle trip heading north up the Great Glen, we can recommend Glencoe as a great place to start, you can avoid the busy A82 main road by combining two of our route descriptions that use quiet back roads. Go right around Loch Leven via Kinlochleven to Onich, then cross the Corran Ferry (free for pedestrians and cyclists) before cycling up the shores of Loch Linnhe to Fort William (either direct via Treslaig Ferry or continue right round Loch Eil). For details and maps see our other routes:- Loch Linnhe & Loch Eil
Alternatively a quicker route back to Fort William is made by heading straight on at this junction, down the hill to the tarred road. Following this road north for five miles brings you back to Fort William town centre.Turning right on to the single track section of the West Highland Way at Lundavra leads to approximately 4 miles of rolling single track (with several stiles along the way) and a fast forestry road descent into Glen Nevis. At the bottom of the downhill section in Glen Nevis, turn left and follow the forestry road towards Fort William." "Starting from Nevis Cycles (Bike Hire)at Inverlochy village, go along Locheil Road past playing fields and the depot that houses the Jacobite steam train - early in the day you may be lucky enough to see the engine taking on coal and water and being prepared for it's run along the West Highland line to Mallaig. Continue until you come to a railway bridge. Go under the bridge and almost immediately on your left is the old castle of Inverlochy built in the late 13th century. After a quick exploration, cycle on past the main gate of the castle and down behind the Aluminium Works Social Club, following the path between the river and the putting green to the traffic lights. Turn left and (walk with small children) over the bridge and for a hundered metres then cross over at the pedestrian crossing outside the high school where a cycle path begins beside the main carriageway, follow this for a kilometer until you come to the swing bridge." "The swing bridge stands at the foot of Neptune's Staircase, turn right and ride up the right hand bank of the canal as it climbs 80 feet ( 24.5 metres) through a series of 8 locks. At night, the locks are floodlit and water cascades over each set of gates making a great spectacle. When you reach the top, there is a wide berthing area and you may see an interesting selection of vessels, the canal carries barges, pleasure cruisers, yachts, and occasionally tall-ships. Now turn around ready to head back down to the swing bridge, ride back down the left bank. Alternatively you can cross over the canal on the wide walkway on top of each set of lock-gates to ride down the right bank to the bottom lock (there is a children's play area adjacent to the large car park) then cross back over the canal at the swing bridge. " Back at the swing bridge, cross over the road and follow the track between the bridge and the signal box to a pedestrian crossing over the railway line (take care) then onto the canal tow-path.
An alternative to this crossing lies 100 metres east of the signal box where a minor road crosses the railway at a level crossing - follow the road as it soon loops round back to the canal bank.Now cycle along the wide flat tow-path for 1.6km (1 mile) until you reach Corpach Basin where three further locks link the canal to the sea via Loch Linnhe. This is another interesting place to explore and if you wish to photograph the classic view of Ben Nevis, cross the railway at the level-crossing and ride along the parallel track a little way. While on this side of the railway, the Corpach shops are close by and just beyond, the fascinating "Treasures of the Earth" museum which has an amazing display of minerals, gemstones and fossils. There is also a geology Garden just outside Kilmallie Village Hall (which has a public Toilet). Continue on this road as it follows the river bank for just less than a kilometer until the road climbs to cross the railway, stop here and look over to the river side for the narrow path that leads onto the "soldier's bridge" - cross here to find yourself back at Inverlochy Castle, go straight on to re-trace your route to Nevis Cycles at Inverlochy where there are welcome shops and a fish-and chip takeaway. To visit Fort William town centre, continue along Wade's Rd and across a small bridge then follow the cycle path to the supermarket and transport centre, from here a short subway leads to the pedestrianized high street. After exploring Corpach, cross back over the railway and canal and ride back up to the top of the locks above Corpach Basin, from here a cycle path turns off right and drops down to the shoreline, follow this path for a kilometer with the shingle beach on your right, past the playing fields, shops and houses of the village of Caol. At the end of the seaward facing houses, turn left and continue for 200m to a tee junction, turn right onto Kilmallie Rd which has cycle lane markings as part of a traffic calming scheme. "This route follows the first few kilometers of the Great Glen Way and is a great ride for families with plenty to see that will interest children and adults. Much of the route is away from traffic, there's almost no uphill cycling and several places to stop and shop en-route. The Caledonian Canal and locks are not fenced - children should be old enough to understand their parent's instructions near the water's edge and when using pedestrian crossings over the road and railway. This is the ideal route to access the Caledonian Canal by Bike from the town centre avoiding the traffic on the busy A82. The outward or return leg of this route is featured at the start or end of many of our longer routes but this page describes the route in greater detail. Starting from the roundabout between Fort William railway station, the supermarket and the old Fort, look out for the Great Glen Cycle Way sign between MacDonald's and the Morrisons Petrol Station. Go along the path behind the Brewer's Fayre Hotel. Cross the River Nevis Bridge and ride along Wade's Road then across Inverlochy village square into Lochiel Rd. Maybe drop in to the Nevis Cycles shop where the experienced staff are always helpful and as keen cyclists themselves, have detailed knowledge of all the local routes. " "Starting Points Parking & Bike Hire - Nevis Cycles, Inverlochy grid reference NN112747
The trails will provide a higher quality alternative for mountain bikes than the former Great Glen Cycle Route. The Cycle Route will be withdrawn this year (2006) and it should be stressed that the new Trails WILL NOT BE A LIKE FOR LIKE REPLACEMENT. Although it will be possible for mountain bike riders to pedal between each facility, the Trails will not be promoted as a connected route.Development work is underway (to be completed for the 2007 season) which will improve and extend trails at the following centres:-